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Security Concerns Force Extension of Jakarta International School Closings - 2002-11-21

International schools in the Indonesian capital Jakarta will remain shut until next week because of security concerns. The difficulties in sending children to school has made some foreigners living in Indonesia question whether they should stay.

The principals of the three international schools in the Indonesian capital Jakarta say they are waiting to see if the security situation improves before reopening schools.

The British school, the Australian school and the American-run Jakarta International School closed last Friday after embassies said they had received "credible" information about possible attacks against them.

Since then, Indonesian police have been posted at the campuses. But some school administrators say there are not enough police and it is simply too early to tell if security has improved.

The number of children at the schools dropped several weeks ago, when the U.S. Embassy ordered non-essential staff and embassy families to leave the country. The move had been debated for some time but U.S. officials issued the order after the deadly October 12 bombing in Bali. More than 190 people died in the blast in a popular tourist district.

Australian Matthew Moore has a 10-year-old son at the Jakarta International School. Six of his classmates have already left Jakarta, leaving just 12. Mr. Moore says parents are taking turns holding school at home so their children's education is not too disrupted. "So we're planning on having school at our home one day a week if we can find a teacher." he said. "So we've asked the teacher if he'd agree to it. And he's not sure until he talks to his headmaster and other teachers. So in the meantime, we're trying to crank the heat up on them, because if they don't agree to that, we're thinking of leaving."

The embassies have not disclosed the nature of the threat against the schools or whether it had any connection to those suspected of carrying out the Bali bombing.

Authorities have arrested one suspect in the Bali blast. They have named six other suspects they are pursuing, all of whom are believed to be Indonesian nationals.

Australian news media are reporting the bombing suspects apparently were paid $1,000 for the attack.