Teacher jumped for parting fight

In the first incident, an eight-member girl gang at the Carapichaima West Secondary School allegedly turned their anger on a teacher on Tuesday after she attempted to part a fight in which they were involved. The T&T Guardian was told the attack occurred shortly after 12 noon in the school’s hall. The girl gang reportedly picked another student at random and began beating her.

After other school officials tried unsuccessfully to stop the fight, the teacher intervened and was reportedly slapped several times. The stunned teacher eventually left the area and the girls continued beating their victim before the fight died down and they left. On Tuesday there were about six fights at the school, a school official confirmed.

One pupil gave an account of what transpired that day: “The hall was filled with children screaming, shouting and cheering on the girls that were fighting. It was so much chaos. “The MTS security guard, a woman, tried to part the fight but then she walked away maybe because she was afraid. Even the teacher and another school official tried to part the fight but were struck by the fighting girls.

“The librarian was selling poppies at the time of one of the fights and the children knocked down one of the blackboards. I was so frightened that I ran away to a safe place.” The pupil said there were rumours that two of the fighting girls sustained sprains and bruises during the melee. “I heard that one of them, their hand broke, but I am not sure. The girls in the gang walk around and pull random pupils and beat them up just so.

“We don’t see the police coming in so we think that the teachers not even reporting it to the police. We are scared and don’t know if we are safe here anymore.” Some students are reportedly now afraid to go to school because fights are increasing daily and they are constantly being bullied by the all-girl gang. 

The members of the girl gang are said to be in Form Five and wear improper uniforms, including a shorter version of the red and blue plaid skirt, and sometimes refuse to wear the navy blue tie and belts around their waists. Some of the male students at the school also allegedly sell marijuana on the compound.

Contacted yesterday, principal Phyllis Lutchman denied the incident occurred. Pressed further, she said she was not at liberty to speak to the media and directed all queries to the communications unit at the Education Ministry.

NPTA concerned

Also contacted for comment, National Parents Teachers Association president Zena Ramatali said she was trying to contact the secretary of the region to find out whether reports of such violence were being made. She also called on supervisors at the ministry to look into the school’s administration in an attempt to bring some sort of solution.

She asked: “We definitely have to look at putting measures in place, in terms of the pupils. Why are they engaging in fights in the school? Where are the teachers? “What programmes are the school putting in place to help these children, who surely have social problems,” she added. Ramatali even suggested that schools throughout the country be upgraded with security monitoring and surveillance units.

“This would enable us to see what’s happening in our schools and allow us to deal with it accordingly,” she said. Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial said she was unaware of any specific incident at the school but promised to see if she could assist in any way possible. Also yesterday, students at the Tranquility Government Secondary School damaged a teacher’s car after they threw a scratch bomb at it. 

When the device exploded the Nissan Almera’s back glass was shattered. It was allegedly done by a student who was part of a group who were setting off the scratch bombs throughout the day. One school official said the students have promised to continue the activity today.

Efforts to contact Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh for comment on both incidents were unsuccessful yesterday as calls to his cellphone went unanswered. He had earlier attended a meeting with stakeholders in Couva but the issue of violence in schools was not seriously raised.

 

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