Parent sues after son slapped by teacher

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Hall of Justice – File photo by Jeff K Mayers

THE father of a student slapped by a teacher at a secondary school in Woodbrook is suing the State for assault and battery.

Attorneys Umesh Maharaj and Nerisa Bala filed the claim for the teenager’s father at the Port of Spain High Court on February 21.

In it, the father is seeking damages for assault and battery, and all losses suffered by his son as a result of the teacher’s actions on November 20, 2023.

According to the lawsuit, the teenager was at the library of the school and was permitted by the librarian to use his phone to access Google Classroom to study for exams.

A short while later, a teacher entered the library and asked the boy why he was using his phone. The teenager explained but was shouted at and told to leave the library.

The court documents said the boy was grabbed by the arm, held to the back of his neck, pulled off the chair and forcefully removed from the library.

After separating the teacher from the boy, the parties were escorted to the principal’s office where the boy was repeatedly shouted at by the teacher, the documents alleged.

The teenager was then slapped on the face “causing his right eye to become swollen and his lips to bleed.”

The teacher allegedly threatened the student after being told by a dean he could not do that to students and was forced out of the office.

The boy’s father was called and a report was made to the Woodbook police station and the child was taken for medical treatment.

In November and December, letters were sent to the Attorney General‘s office, the Ministry of Education, the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Public Service Commission and the Teaching Service Commission as well as the principal of the school.

The Solicitor General’s department acknowledged receipt of the pre-action protocol letter but there has been no reply, the claim said. It also said the police investigation was still ongoing.

“The claimant is unaware of the status of any internal investigations into the incident.” The lawsuit also said the teacher continues to teach at the school and the teenager is fearful because of the threats made to him.

Describing the incident as a “brutal attack” on the boy, the lawsuit said the teenager was “assaulted and battered…without cause and the attack was not provoked” by anything he did.

It also spoke of the alleged breaches of the Children’s Act and the teaching service regulations committed by the teacher.