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Parents keep pupils away after teacher assaults child
Several parents are continuing to keep their children away from attending classes at the Tranquillity Government Primary School in Port-of-Spain, after a teacher allegedly assaulted a nine-year-old pupil with a whip, put him in a headlock and cuffed him in the head last Friday.
On Monday morning, members of the school staff met with the child’s parents and with parents of other pupils who saw the alleged incident.
The pupil’s father told the T&T Guardian the principal informed them that a report would be sent to the Ministry of Education. However, he said the teacher, in reporting the matter to the principal, did not indicate that he had used corporal punishment against his son.
“The story was similar to my son but left out the part with the whip. He (teacher) said he saw my son with a paper scissors, which is part of the book list and he (teacher) did not say anything after that.
“My son said the teacher started to hit him and my son held the whip and he put my son in a headlock and cuff him in his head and then the two of them tumbled on the ground and he proceeded to put him in a lock around his chest with his hand,” the parent said.
The parent admitted that when he saw the teacher during the meeting with the principal he was overwhelmed by emotion.
“I wanted to hit him but I have to be calm about it. You watching a man your size handle your son. I have no problem if my son do something and he get licks, but it have a line between corporal punishment and abuse. His mother is completely against corporal punishment,” he said.
The parent his son was taken for medical assistance following the incident and they now want him removed from the school.
Another parent whose daughter witnessed the event said he has taken her out of the school and she will not be attending classes as long as the teacher was present.
“I am concerned with her going in the class. Right now we (other parents) took our children away from the class. Right now they (school educators) getting social workers to give the children counselling. I am in fear for my child. If he could do a next child that then he could lash out at my child as well,” the parent told the T&T Guardian.
“I am not comfortable with my daughter being in that school with that teacher. He needs to be fired and no longer teach at any school and he needs to be processed by the police,” the man said.
“The principal is trying to arrange counselling and may put my daughter in another class. It is wrong he (the teacher) in that class.”
T&T Unified Teachers’ Association president Lynsley Doodhai said they were aware of it, but said the teacher claimed he was defending himself.
“TTUTA is calling on Ministry of Education to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident,” he said.
When contacted on the matter, however, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the school’s principal will make to report to the school supervisor who will then report it to the ministry. Teachers at the school refused to comment on the incident and referred all questions to the ministry’s communication department.
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