Students at a primary school in Port of Spain have taken action to expose their teacher, who has reportedly been threatening, insulting and beating them daily.
Newsday was told the Standard Five students secretly made recordings when they were being abused. They created a social media group and then shared the recordings with their parents to show how atrocious the treatment has been.
One mother told Newsday she was shocked by the way the students were humiliated and now feels terrible for dismissing her child's complaints.
In the first three minutes of the recording, the voice said to be the teacher's was heard saying, “Allyuh have s--t in allyuh brains. Allyuh should go and run in front some bus when 3 pm comes, and done everybody worries in this world.”
In another voice note, the woman is heard threatening to bang their heads on the desk if they move. The teacher then insults the students' parents, describing them to their children as “stink, despicable and disgusting.”
The speaker was also heard telling one student, who didn’t complete his homework, “Your mother lie, and for lying you going to get licks every day. ‘Oh, he bright and they zone him.’ No, you not bright, you dunce like a bat.”
The woman then apparently hit the child and told him, “You will pay for your mother lies. She go blame it on the zoning – that time you dunce and didn’t learn your work.”
The mother who shared the recordings with Newsday, and wished to remain unnamed, said the child has been complaining about verbal and physical abuse at school daily for three years.
Both his parents found the allegations difficult to believe, since the teacher was polite when they encountered her.
On Wednesday, when the child sent the recordings through a WhatsApp group to a parents' group, the members were shocked at what was being said in them, she told Newsday.
On Thursday her son complained he had been hit with a ruler across the face. She believes he was hit because the teacher knew about the recordings.
“She did say from time to time if my child misbehaves she will hit him, and I had no problem with corporal punishment. But hitting him across his face with a ruler was overdoing it.
“I feel silly now. I feel like I let my child down when he came to me for the first few times. He had to do all this (make recordings) so that his parents can believe him.”
Newsday was told that the parents had a meeting with the vice-principal on Friday and were asked to write a report to be given to the school supervisor. The vice-principal promised the parents that action would be taken within seven days and that until then, the school would send a supervisor to monitor the teacher in class.
Newsday visited the school on Friday afternoon and spoke to the principal, who said he was working on getting the situation under control.
Although he refused to comment, he said he had met with eight parents on Friday and understood their "frustration."
He said he had not heard any of the voice notes as yet.
When contacted, Minister of Education Anthony Garcia said he was unaware of the situation and would investigate.
The parents are planning to take further action next week if they are not satisfied with the outcome. Newsday was told some parents have also reported the matter to the police and some are looking to take legal action.