Following the conclusion of a court hearing around 09:48hrs yesterday in which a teacher, two parents and a relative of the parents were charged for assaulting each other among other things; fellow workers of the teacher called for justice. They voiced solidarity for violence against teachers from parents.
The teachers yesterday crowded the entrance to the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts as they awaited the exit of their colleague, the parents and their relative.
The teacher, Tiffani Hinds, the parents Sherwin Dalrymple and Soyini Gardener, along with their family member Kendace Peters were all charged and appeared before the Acting Chief Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus.
“Shame, Shame, Shame.” “Violence against women must stop.” “Shame, Shame, Shame what a big shame!” These were some of the slangs shouted by the teachers as they demanded justice.
According to one of the teachers, “Teachers must go on strike because this is advantage. Parents can’t be beating up our teachers and we will stand by her [fellow teacher] because this is advantage.”
Another said, “We can never condone parents going into schools and assaulting teachers despite whatever the issue is. I am not saying teachers are always right but you can’t wrong a right by doing a wrong. Therefore, we are standing with our colleague.”
The teachers said that they are very disappointed with the male parent being granted bail in the sum of $20,000 for assaulting their fellow worker.
“The law is the law but we are not pleased with that bail. That man kicked out his foot and hit the teacher. Persons commit offences far less serious than assault and they are remanded to prison.”
Every time the crowd would catch a glimpse of the parents and their relative, they would shout, “Shame, Shame, Shame.” At one point, the father was smiling and waving to the crowd; they gathered and were hurling angry slangs at him.
After Hinds finished paying her bail and was walking out of the court compound, she was swarmed by her colleagues. They greeted her with open arms while shouting, “We will stand by you.”
The victim was brought to tears at the support she gained from the fellow teachers. She tried to hug and thank everyone as she left.
When it was time for the parents and the relative to post their bail and leave, they were left trapped inside the court compound as the teachers refused to remove from the entrance.
This continued for almost 90 minutes until armed police ranks were called in to provide more security at the court. However, this angered the crowd more as they accused the police of siding with the parents and their relative.
While Dalrymple, Gardener and Peters remained in the compound, the crowd allowed their other relatives to freely pass but they threw more “Shame! Shame! Shame!” behind them as they left in their car which was brought around to the court entrance.
The incident also brought Police Commander Edgar Thomas and Philip Azore to the scene to try to keep the teachers calm.
As the Commanders were speaking with the teachers, Dalrymple and Gardener were escorted to the courtroom of Principal Magistrate Faith McGusty and sent down the prisoner’s chute. They were then escorted by the armed police ranks through the side entrance which is used by the Magistrates and other authorised persons to enter and exit the court compound.
When the teachers realised that they were being distracted, some of them ran around to the side entrance but they missed the defendants leaving. According to information, some of the teachers were then reportedly heading to the home of the parents to continue airing their discomfort.
When asked for a comment on the teachers staging their protest, Commander Thomas said, “The matter is before the court and the court has the final say. We the members of the Police Force are only putting the matter to the court. If there is other evidence in this case, please bring it to the police and we will send it for legal advice.”
Upon being asked about the special treatment being given to the defendants, the Senior Cop stated, “The police is in favour of all the citizens of this country, whether you are a victim or a defendant.”
However, the teachers said that they will continue their solidarity as they will return for every court hearing. According to the teachers, they will be returning this Wednesday when the first court hearing will be called for the assault of a teacher at the Winfer Gardens Primary school.
Last November, the Grade One teacher was assaulted by a parent who claimed that the teacher struck her child on multiple occasions.
It was reported that the parent, fed up of the constant complaints by her son, marched into the school compound and accosted the teacher who suffered injuries to the face.
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