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International Schools Reopen in Jakarta - 2002-11-28

Three international schools in the Indonesian capital are open after being shut for nearly two weeks because of security concerns.

Dozens of police officers patrolled three international schools during their first day in session since shutting for security reasons. Other officers searched cars entering the grounds of the British school, the Australian school and the Jakarta International School.

An administrator from the British School says the decision to open was made after consulting with embassy officials and security organizations. All three schools were closed after embassies released a warning that they had "credible information" about possible terrorist attacks on school grounds.

At the Jakarta International School, construction has begun on a blast-wall that runs along the side of the school facing the road. On top of the 3-meter wall, a 7-meter screen will be built to prevent anyone from tossing an explosive device onto school grounds. The security warnings prompted jitters throughout the international business community, in part because they came after the terrorist bomb attack in Bali a month ago, which killed 190 people, mostly Western tourists.

The schools have fewer students than in previous months, partly because the United States embassy ordered all non-essential staff and embassy families to leave the country in October, after the Bali bombing. Some families have also chosen to leave for an extended Christmas holiday because of the schools were closed.

It is not the first time schools have been targeted. A grenade was thrown at the Australian school last year. No one was injured in the incident, which took place when school was not in session.