…after school head whips boy for errant behaviour
The family of a 13-year-old Grade Seven (Form One) male student of the Port Mourant Secondary School is seeking $150,000 compensation from the Region Six Administration and education authorities.
The head teacher of the school had administered corporal punishment on the child some time in May and the family had said that the boy’s hand was fractured as a result of the lash.
The matter was thoroughly investigated at all levels of the Regional Administration. An inquiry which was carried out by the Regional Education Committee (REC) and it was found that the head teacher had acted within the stipulated regulations set out by the Ministry of Education regarding the administering of corporal punishment.
The regulations allow head teachers of all schools to administer the punishment once seen fit. Student Welfare Officer of Region Six, Dinesh Jaiprashad, also confirmed that there was no Ministry of Education breach on the punishment guidelines.
According to Chairman of the REC, David Armogan, the action by the head teacher was “well in line” and “he [the HM] didn’t flout the Ministry [of Education] policy.
Armogan said that the child has a ‘history of misdemeanor in the school’. He added that the incident was an unfortunate one since the child placed his hands in the way of the target, which was his buttocks, and it was like that how the hands received the lashes.
He stated that the hands got in the way and there was “some swelling on the elbow” and the child was taken to the bone specialist at the New Amsterdam Hospital, after which x-rays were performed. Armogan added that the x-ray did not show a fracture in the hand, as the family had claimed.
He added that the Headmaster has apologized to the child and the parent but [the HM] “tried to administer corporal punishment to him [the child] which is in MOE policy” and viewed the entire matter as “an accident on punishment inflicted on the child” since the boy put his hands in the way.
Armogan then said that the family wants compensation totaling $150,000 but questioned “if you didn’t spend any money, what kind of compensation they want?” He said they went to a public “free” hospital and that so far, they have not been able to come up with any kind of money spent.
“The expenses are not credible; it’s highly inflated stuff”, he added. “We cannot settle for any amount of money they call”.
Regional Chairman Zulfikar Mustapha, when contacted, said that he had met with all parties involved in the matter and that the family of the boy had submitted a “piece of paper” claiming some $75,000, a reduction from the original $150,000 claim.
Mustapha added that there was no fracture on the arm. After speaking with the doctor who performed the x-ray; he learnt that there was tissue damage.
He said that he met again with the parties involved, including the Regional Education Officer Mrs Shafiran Bhajan and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU). The family submitted a questionable estimate for money which they requested for things such as “loss of work”.
Mustapha said that “he was prepared to compensate the child but I can’t look at it if you didn’t submit an account” and that the family “lacked proper documentation” of the bills and expenses. The family, he said, then told him that they will consult a lawyer.
According to the family, the AFC has said that it will pursue the matter. Reliable sources have told this newspaper that the child in question has a history of recalcitrant behaviour. On one occasion he reportedly clipped another child’s ears with a pair of scissors and then with a razor blade on another occasion.
He was also accused of punching a child in the mouth, among others. “These are children the Ministry [of Education] needs to take a serious stand to remove them from the system and they must take counseling.”
Last evening the boy’s relatives were left to feel as though the issue was over and done with. They said that they did seek some compensation but no one seems to be listening.
The parents and the injured boy were to travel to the city today but an aunt said that the boy is nervous and confused.
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