FILE PHOTO –
POLICE are now investigating the stabbing of a female secondary school student who was seen bleeding from her face in a video circulating on social media.
The incident took place near Poonwassie Gardens, Williamsville, as students made their way home after school.
In the short video, a girl in a white and red school uniform is seen holding a knife while being restrained by a male schoolmate. The recorder then pans to a bleeding girl before turning back to the armed child who wrestled her way free.
The child was taken to the hospital for injuries to her face and neck.
A picture circulating on social media showed the student with a deep slash from about 1 cm below her right eye to her mouth.
Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly on Monday said the police were called as the incident took place outside of the school’s compound.
“When fights occur outside of the school compound, as this one did, the police is called in, as the officers of the school have no jurisdiction outside of the school. This is why the police was officially and specifically requested to have patrols outside of the school at the close of the school day.”
She added that Ministry of Education staff, be it teachers or guards or safety officers, are not assigned to the streets to supervise or police students on their way home. She said that schools can and do discipline children for unruly behaviour outside of school compound once they are in uniform, as was the case in the video.
The fight was recorded days after the Education Ministry and police said there will be increased police presence at specified schools to curb violence among schoolchildren.
At a media conference on June 3 at the Ministry of Education head office, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Criminal Division) Sharon Gomez-Cooper said police presence at schools helped to reduce incidents of school violence. She said police patrolled during peak hours – mornings and afternoons – have helped to keep the peace.
At the media conference, Chief Education Officer Dr Peter Smith said school fights remain a concern for the ministry.
Gadsby-Dolly, at the conference, said a draft of the national school matrix is being considered. The draft identifies three levels of student infractions.
Minor infractions include but are not limited to dress code violations; major infractions are disorderly or disruptive conduct; and severe infractions include fights and sexual harassment.
The Education Ministry is also considering a merit/demerit system and as it examines preventative strategies, including peer counselling, student support, parenting in education and a prefect system.
School violence has been an issue since physical classes resumed for all students earlier this year.
Just last week, police in Tobago said they were probing an incident where a Pentecostal Light and Life student allegedly threatened to shoot up the school. A student at a secondary school in Trinidad was also injured earlier this year after a group of boys began beating him and stomping on his head.