UPE proposes introduction of hand-held scanners to prevent students from concealing knives

Union of Professional Educators says ‘hard-line’ measures needed to prevent injuries or loss of life at schools

Hand-held security scanner (File photo)
Hand-held security scanner (File photo)

The Union of Professional Educators has proposed the introduction of hand-held security scanners at schools to prevent students from concealing “threatening items”.

“It has become apparent that unorthodox behaviour is becoming commonplace, resulting in children being exposed to an increased level of bullying at a very young age,” the Union of Professional Educators (UPE) said.

The UPE’s was reacting to an investigation launched by the education authorities into an incident at the Naxxar middle school after a girl attacked another student with a butter knife from the school kitchen.

It said such situations have become commonplace at schools, leaving psychosocial teams inundated with work.

“UPE proposes that hard-line measures be introduced to prevent the possibility of students concealing any threatening items,” the union said.

It said statistics show knives are the largest number of items confiscated from students' school bags, rather than mobile phones. “Every effort must be made to prevent the possibility of a serious accident, or even worse, the loss of students and/or educators.”

The UPE slammed the rival union Malta Union of Teachers’ (MUT) reaction in which it suggested sanctions be taken against the students involved.

“This (the UPE proposal) is in contrast to the proposals made by other unions who suggest that students be punished. It is a well-known fact that educators generally do their utmost to support pupils from challenging backgrounds,” the UPE said.