JENSEN LA VENDE
THE school teacher who is accused of holding down 11-year-old Kadell Smart and cutting off parts of his hair was yesterday described as a dedicated teacher who went overboard.
Speaking with the Newsday yesterday, the principal of Brighton AC Primary School, Three Hands Junction, La Brea, said the teacher was interviewed by the school supervisor for the area yesterday, after which she left the school for the day. The principal said the teacher who cut the child’s hair admitted to doing so but denied that she held the boy down. “We are not supposed to cut the children’s hair,” he explained. “What we supposed to do is contact the parent, and as I was informed, the teacher tried to contact the boy’s parents, but was unsuccessful.
“I was not informed that she was going to cut the child’s hair, otherwise I would have stopped her. Another child came by me for the same thing and I told him to comb his hair. We have been seeing lately that children are coming to school without combing their hair, but teachers are not supposed to do that.” The principal added that the teacher could be suspended for her actions pending further investigation by the Ministry of Education. He added that he will speak again to Kadell’s parents. His mother Khadija Darius said she had been contacted by the school supervisor and she and her son will be interviewed next Wednesday.
The incident took place last Wednesday at the school.
The principal said the teacher overstepped her boundaries but “is one of the most dedicated teachers,” was “passionate about her job” and usually went beyond the call of duty.
After her interview with the school’s supervisor the teacher left for the day, saying she was not in the right frame mind to remain in school.
Darius said she had received an outpouring of support on social media after posting the story. Newsday was also contacted by good Samaritans who offered counselling for the child, who was traumatised by the event, and two attorneys willing to act on behalf of the family. The group, who did not want to be identified, said the actions of the teacher were tantamount to assault and they were willing to offer free legal advice to the mother.
Speaking with Newsday on Thursday, Kadell said he cried after being held down by the teacher, who cut his hair in various spots and threatened to cut more off.
“I was reading my poem and Miss called me. When I went, I see she had the scissors in her hand, so I ask her if she was going to cut my hair, and she said yes. Then I put my hand on my head and she grabbed my neck and held me down and cut my hair.”
The standard four pupil is an aspiring footballer and was awarded the Most Valuable Player title in the Primary School League. He said last month the teacher threatened to cut his hair and when he told his mother, she thought he was not telling the complete story and dismissed it.