~ Want firm action against violence ~
MADAME ESTATE--Teachers who attended the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) emergency meeting Thursday evening stood firmly in solidarity with their injured Prins Willem Alexander School (PWAS) for Special Education colleague who was hit in the face with a stone by a teenage pupil on Wednesday.
The teachers, who say their cries over the years have been falling on deaf ears, want affirmative action taken against children who continue to commit violent acts against educators.
The teachers will await the outcome of a meeting between WITU and Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs today, Friday, before determining their next plan of action. The Daily Herald understands that if teachers are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting they are willing to take further steps to express their concerns.
This newspaper understands that the 14-year-old special education pupil unexpectedly hit the teacher in the face with the stone after she moved a classroom table and chair to separate the young perpetrator from another pupil during a class break. The incident occurred at Dr. Alma Fleming-Rogers Educational Care Centre in Belvedere, which temporarily houses pupils relocated from PWAS in St. Peters.
The table and chair were moved while pupils were out of the classroom. When the perpetrator returned to the classroom he asked the teacher why she had moved the furniture and when she responded, he took the stone and smashed it into her face.
The pupil, who it is believed was prescribed medication for a condition he has, had other issues in school in the past. The pupils are reported to have told school authorities after the incident occurred that he does not like the teacher because she is from a particular Caribbean country and that he wanted her seriously hurt.
The public school teachers who attended last night's meeting were vociferous and expressed their frustrations with numerous past incidents in which pupils were violent against teachers. The PWAS incident was condemned. Several teachers spoke of incidents they had encountered or were aware of.
Elshot told this newspaper the teachers also had spoken of the lack of support they received from authorities when they reported incidents that occurred. At one point it was mentioned that teachers who had reported incidents of violence against them to authorities had been asked by an individual at the ministry responsible for these matters, "What do you want me to do about it?"
Elshot said the teachers believed they do not have any rights when it concerns violent acts committed against them and they want this to be addressed post-haste.
Attending last night's meeting were teachers from PWAS, Oranje School, M. Genevieve de Weever School, Charles Leopold Bell School, Ruby LaBega School and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, amongst others.