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Grandmom wants probe

Published: 
Friday, May 18, 2018
Sir allegedly beats girl in front class
The grandmother of a student who was allegedly beaten by her teacher at a school in south Trinidad consoles the child yesterday. PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA

With her grandchildren now terrified of school after alleged beatings at the hands of a teacher, a south grandmother is now calling on the Ministry of Education to remove him from the primary school for allegedly administering corporal punishment on pupils.

The woman said her granddaughter, aged nine, was struck with a whip on her hands for leaving class without permission to use the toilet on Wednesday. But the teacher was not in class at the time so there was no one to ask permission, the woman said.

When the student returned she was beaten in front of the class. The incident happened about half an hour before school was dismissed and the woman claimed when her granddaughter returned home she was shaking and in tears.

“She told me that she needed to use the toilet and sir was not there. He beat her and said she cannot use the toilet unless he says so. So he wanted her to pee in the classroom?” the woman asked.

She claimed two weeks before that, her grandson was also whipped after his book fell from his hand.

“The teacher accused him of littering. These people have their own personal problems and they taking it out on the children,” the woman said.

Although the children went to school yesterday, the woman said they were still traumatised. She said the teacher also had a part-time job in national security and it appeared as if he was taking out his frustration on the children.

“I want the Ministry of Education to investigate this matter. It is not the first time he did this,” the woman alleged.

She said she went to the school yesterday but was told the principal was not in.

“I spoke to the principal on the phone and she cut me off. When I called back the vice principal said they will investigate and call me back,” she said.

She also said last year her granddaughter was told she had to stay back after school to do work and she missed her bus. She said this was done although she had told school officials her granddaughter cannot miss the bus, as there was a concern for her safety otherwise.

“I told them in no uncertain terms that it was unsafe for my granddaughter to walk home if she misses the bus. I don’t care what school work she miss. When school is over let her get on the bus because I lived abroad and I know how children can go missing. It is unsafe for a child to walk home,” the woman said.

Contacted yesterday, T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai said he was aware of the matter.

Saying corporal punishment in schools was illegal, Doodhai said, “While we are not pronouncing on the innocence and guilt of anyone, we want the Ministry of Education to urgently conduct an investigation to determine the veracity of this incident. TTUTA will not condone the administering of corporal punishment to pupils.”

Asked whether he had heard the teacher was also working in national security, Doodhai said many teachers were in similar situations and would have applied for permission to engage in teaching. He said the teacher will have to appear before a tribunal and if the allegations are true he could face disciplinary action. A source at the Ministry of Education also said the matter will be investigated.

• Editor’s note: The name of the grandmother and child involved have been deliberately omitted to protect the identity of the children involved as they are minors.

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