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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Boy, 7, choked at San Fernando school

A mother is alleging that nothing is being done to rectify a situation in which her seven-year-old son was choked at school. Crystal Friday, 35, of south Trinidad, complained that the incident occurred on September 25, at a San Fernando primary school.

Friday alleged an employee of the school put his hand around her son’s neck and squeezed so tightly that he needed medical attention.

"When I went to the school to pick up my child, I found him sitting in the principal's office. He said the (employee's post identified) choked him. The man, who was in the office with the principal, denied what happened."

The child told Newsday on Thursday that he was choked on two separate occasions. Friday took her son, a standard one student, to the San Fernando police station, where she filed a report. They then went to the casualty unit of the San Fernando General Hospital. Newsday obtained a copy of a medical report that showed the child had "soft tissue injury secondary to trauma" to his neck. He was treated and discharged with medication.

Friday said police visited the school and spoke with the man in the presence of the principal, herself and her son. He again denied this allegation and similar events involving other children.

The furious mother sought action and said the school promised to take steps to ensure the man would not encounter her son.

"I was fine with this. But then they tried to discredit my son's behaviour, by claiming that my child was miserable. He is not. He has no relations to this man and I do not understand why (the man) would do this."

She reported the incident to the Education Ministry, and claimed she had been given several appointments to discuss the matter, but all were postponed.

"At this time I am frustrated. It did not have to come to this, if only the school addressed the matter when it was reported. It is my duty to protect my children.

"My son and family have now become distressed by the runaround we are getting from everyone.

"What if he (the accused) targets my other child?"

An official at the ministry said it had received a report of the incident and there had been one meeting with Friday, but she failed to produce any evidence of the alleged incident.

He refused to comment further, but said the matter was being investigated.

"There are also plans to meet with the school board as soon as possible, because of the nature of the situation.The school board said it could not give any information about the situation at present, since it too is investigating.

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