JENSEN LA VENDE AND ELIZABETH GONZALES
Child Protection Unit officers at the Belmont Police Station are now investigating a report of verbal and physical abuse by a standard five teacher at a primary school in Port of Spain.
The abuse was first reported in yesterday’s Newsday and the unit contacted the paper and asked for parents to be contacted and encouraged to visit its officers at the Belmont station. Parents are also asked to contact the unit directly at 621-0135.
On one occasion the teacher, who was secretly recorded by students as she made the abusive insults, said she would have killed one of the students if the girl ever crossed her. In a seven-minute,11 seconds audio clip, the teacher, who identified herself, picked out one student who she called by name and said everyone has warned her about the girl. The teacher said the girl was said to be a thief but promised: “She know what time of day it is with me, I will kill she.”
The student’s mother told Sunday Newsday yesterday that she will make a police report tomorrow. She said she was disturbed when she heard the threat to kill her daughter. She further called on the Ministry of Education to provide counselling to the students and pleaded with parents to pay attention to complaints by their children.
“I feel violated because I allowed my daughter to stay in an environment, even though she complained repeatedly, and I couldn’t see it. She (the teacher) played the game so good on us that we couldn’t see how she was. She has no right to be around any children.”
The mother said her daughter made several complaints almost every day that the teacher made racial slurs along with threats and abused students.
“I had no idea such aggression was shown towards my child. It was only this term she got more verbal. My daughter complained saying the teacher kept calling us ghetto and she would be calling out certain children name, saying where they are from and calling them and their parents ‘ghetto’.”
Her daughter, she said, also complained that the teacher would make fun of parents’ education and careers and openly discussed her sexual relationships. The mother said she will escort her daughter to school tomorrow and if the teacher is still assigned to the class, her daughter will be removed.
The children recorded five audio clips of the teacher hurling insults at them and their parents. In the seven-minute clip, the teacher said she is willing to be suspended. She said teachers are suspended with full pay and she will enjoy that for five years and on her return to teaching will retire and relax.
“Allyuh parents wicked and evil that’s why the whole of Trinidad and Tobago don’t like Laventille, they do not like Sea Lots, they do not like the people in those areas and now I understand why. Anybody who hears…when you go for a job and they say you from Laventille, they say we don’t want these kind of creatures around us, that’s why allyuh gets no job and gets nothing. Because allyuh ghetto and low class and all allyuh know is to fight and kill and be evil and wicked.”
The teacher then asked the class if they read the Bible and when no one answered said, “Oh God no wonder allyuh disgusting.” She then promised to show them the scriptures that spoke about teachers ,adding that their parents’ lives were “messed up and seeing trouble” because they do no care about teachers. She said parents are being disrespectful to the “only teacher in the school that cares.”
The teacher also called the parents “despicable and disgusting”, “ugly” and “ghetto”. She said the parents have “an ugly mind, heart, soul and looks”. She said she was un-bothered by any repercussion for what she said because, “I have court clothes.”
The audio clip was sent to Education Minister Anthony Garcia and TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Lyndsey Doodhai but up to press time neither of them responded.
In the other clips, the teacher said the children had “s--t in allyuh brains.” She added: “Allyuh should go and run in front some bus when 3 pm comes, and done everybody worries in this world.”
She also threatened to bang the children’s heads on the desk if they moved. One student was told he will be beaten claiming his parents had lied to the teacher. She claimed the boy’s parents told her he was “bright” but after having him in her class, he, she said, is “dunce like a bat.”
On Friday, parents had a meeting with the vice principal and were asked to write a report to be given to the school supervisor. The vice principal promised the parents that action will be taken within seven days and that until then, the school will send a supervisor to monitor the teacher in class.
The girl’s mother said several complaints were made to the principal and nothing has been done to assist the children. She added that at Friday’s meeting, parents were told that children often told lies.
“I too would have said the children lie until they took action into their own hands and were brave enough to expose her.”