Education

Boy terrified by sniffer dogs at CedarBridge

  • Lockdown: Police officers and sniffer dogs searched CedarBridge Academy in a security exercise (File photograph)

An angry parent said her son was terrified after a police team with sniffer dogs swooped on his school.

Pupils at CedarBridge Academy said a “lockdown” took place at the school as police searched the buildings as part of a security exercise.

The mother said: “My son was traumatised, he wanted to come home, he said the girls were scared and some of them were crying. The dogs were running all around them.

“I think it was really unprofessional, the parents did not know what was going on.

“What is this world really coming to? It’s sad when you go to school and get searched by a dog.”

The mother said she received a text about the incident from her son on Thursday morning.

He explained later that teachers were alerted by an e-mail from Kenneth Caesar, the school’s acting principal, to expect a “lockdown safety issue”.

An e-mail was sent to parents after the search and asked them to talk to their children about the “importance of learning in a safe environment”.

But one mother said she did not get the message and was upset at the effect the exercise had on her son.

She added that the police dogs visited every classroom and sniffed bags as well as pupils’ lockers.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said the children were “startled” by the exercise but that she was told later it was something that has happened at the school for years.

But she insisted parents should have been warned.

The mother said: “You don’t take dogs up to school and do all that stuff without the parents knowing, you need to get some kind of consent.”

Sources at the school said the police search was a routine safety check and was not linked to an assault on a pupil and teacher during a field trip to St George’s the previous day.

An e-mail from Mr Caesar sent on Thursday morning said: “From time to time, it is important we ensure the safety protocols we have in place are functional.

“Today, the school underwent a code-blue exercise in conjunction with the Bermuda Police Service. The Bermuda Police Service, including members of the K9 unit, participated in the exercise.”

The drill came after a fire drill on Wednesday. The school said both exercises were successful.

The message advised parents: “This evening, your child may discuss their experiences at school today. Please take the opportunity to speak with your child about their safety and reinforce the importance of learning in a safe environment.

“Today’s activities are not associated with events that took place yesterday. The planning for this week’s exercises have been ongoing.

“Please deem this message as a response to all phone calls and inquiries. We appreciate your concern.”

A 17-year-old pupil was attacked by two men on Wednesday when CedarBridge Academy staff and pupils visited Somers Gardens in the Olde Towne.

The boy suffered scratches to his neck and a 30-year-old teacher suffered a finger injury when she tried to intervene.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said later that members of the school’s security team would join the remainder of the trip to Somers Garden over the following two days.

Bermuda Police Service directed inquiries about the search to the education ministry.

The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.