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"Sir beat me"

Published: 
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Grandmother calls for investigation
Mildred Farrell speaking to the media at her Penal home today. Photo by Kristian De Silva.

With her grandchildren physically beaten and terrified of school, a Penal grandmother is now calling on the Ministry of Education to remove a teacher from a primary school in Penal for administering corporal punishment on pupils.

Mildred Farrell of Platanite Trace, Penal said her 9-year-old granddaughter was struck with a whip on her hands for leaving class without permission to use the toilet.

Her teacher was not in class at the time so there was no one to ask permission, Farrell said. 

When the student returned she was struck in front of the class. The incident happened about half an hour before school was dismissed and Farrell said 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?" Farrell asked. 

She said two weeks before, her grandson was also whipped after his book fell off his hand. 

"The teacher accused him of littering.

These people have their own personal problems and they taking it out on the children," Farrell said.

Even though the children went to school yesterday, Farrel said they were traumatized. She said the teacher worked as a special reserved policeman 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," Farrell 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," Farrell 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.

"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," Farrel said.

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

Saying corporal punishment 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 that the teacher was also an SRP, Doodhai said many teachers are members of the Police Service and would have applied for permission to engage in extra duty as an SRP.

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 said the matter will be investigated.

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