Sec­ondary School teacher at­tacked by stu­dents

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kerwin Cae­sar

Wed­nes­day Novem­ber 12 was sup­posed to be another typ­i­cal school day at the Clen­don Ma­son Memo­rial Sec­ondary School. Teach­ers in­struct­ing their pupils, stu­dents ac­quir­ing knowl­edge; with the two sets of in­di­vid­u­als work­ing in tan­dem to achieve the set goals for the day. Such was not the case; at least not after the lunch break.

At about 1 pm, the cus­tom­ary af­ter­noon class­room ses­sions that had barely com­menced were abruptly halted by the sounds of an al­ter­ca­tion. The in­ci­dent was not the usual stu­dent ver­sus stu­dent fight but rather stu­dent ver­sus teacher.

In­for­ma­tion on what ex­actly tran­spired is very sketchy at the mo­ment, with teach­ers and staff of the school be­ing tight-lipped on the mat­ter as it is cur­rently ‘un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion’. What has been con­firmed is that a fe­male teacher had a con­fronta­tion with a male stu­dent and was later at­tacked by two other male stu­dents. Of the three stu­dents in­volved, two are form fives and the other is in the fourth form. The teacher is said to have sus­tained blows to her face. Sources have in­formed the STAR that the sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lated when the teacher in­formed the male stu­dents that they were not sup­posed to be in a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of the school.

On Thurs­day Novem­ber 13 when I vis­ited the school it was team­ing with re­porters comb­ing for what­ever bit of news was avail­able.

The majority of the stu­dents on the com­pound were in their class­rooms with a few loi­ter­ing about but there was no for­mal in­struc­tion given on the day by the teach­ers who staged a sit out. Very few of them were sta­tioned in the staffroom; most sat in their home­rooms with their re­spec­tive stu­dents while oth­ers could be seen in small clus­ters at dif­fer­ent points of the school.

Min­istry of­fi­cials vis­ited the school on that day and held a meet­ing with the prin­ci­pal and teach­ers as to the way for­ward. How­ever, teach­ers, who were adamant about not of­fer­ing any com­ments on the is­sue, ap­peared irate about their gen­eral safety on the com­pound.

The stu­dents in­volved have since been sus­pended but teach­ers of the school, past and present, and re­quest­ing anonymity say that this is an op­por­tu­nity for the school to be made more se­cure for both stu­dents and teach­ers.

The Clen­don Ma­son Memo­rial Sec­ondary School is lo­cated only a few feet away from the Castries-Vieux Fort High­way and within the Den­nery com­mu­nity. The school shares its com­pound with the Den­nery Pri­mary School, lo­cated di­rectly op­po­site. Be­cause of where the school is sit­u­ated, res­i­dents and fre­quent vis­i­tors to the com­mu­nity use the schools’ yard as one of the short­cuts to tra­verse the Den­nery area. This, some say, poses a real dan­ger as un­wanted char­ac­ters have too much ac­cess to the school.

For years the school has had no fenc­ing. There is a gate at the east­ern end of the com­pound but, with the school­yard a cus­tom­ary route for all sorts of per­sons, this gate re­mains open. Teach­ers have pleaded to have the school prop­erly fenced and se­cured from un­wanted in­trud­ers, the STAR was told, to no avail. There have also been nu­mer­ous com­plaints of angry par­ents walk­ing into class­rooms to con­front teach­ers. There is also the threat of hooli­gan at­tacks.

Another sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem caused by the ab­sence of proper fenc­ing is stu­dents’ abil­ity to leave the school com­pound at any time.

“Th­ese are some of the is­sues that the teach­ers are look­ing to raise and are hop­ing will be ad­dressed in light of this lat­est stu­dent-teacher is­sue,” a source says. The teach­ers have met with their union and are await­ing a date on which they can meet with the Chief Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer to air their griev­ances.

Mean­while the fate of the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors re­mains un­cer­tain. Some are hop­ing that it will not be a case of the young men be­ing thrown out into a so­ci­ety where there is lit­tle chance for re­form.

What’s next for the stu­dents and teach­ers of Clen­don Ma­son Memo­rial Sec­ondary

after this lat­est in­ci­dent?

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