There have been several incidences of gang-related activities at Cayman’s government high schools since the start of the new term, Minister of Education Alden McLaughlin said at the Cabinet press briefing Friday.
Four of the incidents involved gang-related graffiti on school grounds, but two other incidents were more serious, one of which was at George Hicks High School, Mr. McLaughlin said.
The latter incident was very serious, the Education Minister said.
‘They are very grave allegations,’ he said. ‘What I find particularly disturbing is that it involves two females.’
Mr. McLaughlin said both of the girls had been suspended, one for bullying and one for essentially knowing about it and allowing it to go on.
‘No one was injured, at least not physically,’ he said.
There are allegations of gang involvement in the incident, Mr. McLaughlin said. ‘The name of the Bloods gang has been mentioned.’
There also appears to be a connection with gang activities at nearby John Gray High School, he said.
Because there is an ongoing police investigation and because the students involved are minors, Mr. McLaughlin said he could not give any more details.
Last Thursday, there was another serious incident at John Gray High School as well, he said.
‘One of the security officers heard what he thought was a popping sound.’
When the officer investigated the noise, one male student pulled out a knife.
The 14-year-old student was pursued by two security guards, and police back-up was called.
The student was eventually caught and charged with resisting arrest and possessing an offensive weapon.
Because of past actions, Mr. McLaughlin said the boy was under a ‘behaviour contract’, which put him under a strict code of behaviour.
‘Obviously, he was in contravention of that code,’ Mr .McLaughlin said.
All four of the culprits in the gang-related graffiti incidents had been a caught and suspended, Mr. McLaughlin said.
The West Bay gang Cryps was indicated on the graffiti, which Mr. McLaughlin said pointed to a youth arm of that gang.
Despite the bad news, Mr. McLaughlin said there had also been some signs of hope at John Gray since the beginning of new term when additional security was brought on.
‘It’s been reported that overall at John Gray, things have been calmer, and with less stress,’ the Minister said.
Students at John Gray have also become involved in fund raising efforts for a new mammography machine for the hospital, and have already raised almost $900, Mr. McLaughlin said.
‘The majority of the young people (at John Gray) are motivated by the right things, and do care, and will become good citizens,’ he said.
With regard to forming the Discipline and Security Committee for the government schools, Mr. McLaughlin said just about everyone had been appointed, but he was awaiting a final two confirmations before announcing the name of the members of the committee.
Mr. McLaughlin said he had decided to act as chairman of the committee.
‘It’s something I normally wouldn’t do, but I was persuaded by my Ministry staff that I should take the helm,’ he said.