POLICE were searching for two men who entered the SDMS Tunapuna Hindu Primary school yesterday afternoon and assaulted the principal, Jeewan Ramdhanie, after pretending they needed a recommendation.
According to police reports, the identity of the men are known and their arrests “are imminent.” Police said the assault stemmed from the suspension of a pupil of the school.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia told Newsday the men who attacked Ramdhanie, bypassed security by pretending to be concerned parents. They said they needed a recommendation and were directed to the principal’s office. Without warning, Ramdhanie was attacked and struck over the head with an extended baton.
As shocked parents looked on, the men ran out of the school. A badly bleeding Ramdhanie was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope where he was treated and up to press time, was being kept for observation.
“The Ministry through our principals, school supervisors and teachers are doing all to ensure that indiscipline and violence are curtailed. We have had great success and these isolated instances put a dent in these efforts.
“One expects that parents...well I can’t say it’s parents (in this case) to act in a certain manner such that if there is disagreement that should be handled so that no one will suffer unpleasant circumstances. The Ministry condemns this action,” Garcia said.
He added that the assault was not an issue of poor security but people using loopholes in the system to attack the principal. He said that parents and guardians, in the interest of their wards, will need access to the principal and in so doing would have gained access to him.
National Primary School Principal Association Lance Mottley also strongly condemned the attack on Ramdhanie. He said those who may have a grievance with a teacher or have an issue at school, ought to use other channels to address their concerns rather than resort to violence.
“We don’t support anyone taking matters in their own hands particularly in a violent way. They are setting a very bad example for their children. This will make managing indisciplined children even more difficult because children emulate the behaviour that they see,” Mottley said.
In a media release, Garcia said the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education will visit the school today to provide intervention and counselling for students. Officials of the Employee Assistance Program will also visit to provide counselling for teachers.
“Such acts of indiscipline from adults to assault a principal on a school compound must be condemned in its strongest terms by society. Acts such as these must not be tolerated and adults are expected to behave in a more responsible manner and set the proper example for our nation’s children” Garcia said.