Police probe student’s ‘threat’ against Pentecostal school

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation High School in Sangster Hill, Scarborough. –

Tobago police are expected to determine this week if any action will be taken in an investigation into alleged threats made by a 17 year-old student at the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation, Scarborough.

On Wednesday, it was alleged that the fifth form student had threatened to “shoot up the school,” after a confrontation earlier in the week.

The THA Division of Education, Research and Technology in investigating the alleged incident.

On Saturday, a senior police source told Sunday Newsday that based on their preliminary enquiries, “The story that was given in the media is different to what we recognised.”

He said, “At one time I heard where they said that the student made threats to a teacher or to an invigilator. But what we recognised is that the student was in the English CXC examination and he was behaving in a disruptive manner. It continued when he was doing maths and then they asked him to leave the classroom and eventually leave the compound.”

The senior officer said when the student left the compound, a passer-by heard him “making utterances to the effect that he would get a gun and shoot up the school.”

He said the passer-by told the principal about the student’s statement.

‘This was very different to if he threatened a person directly.”

The senior officer added that in continuing the investigation, the principal and the student, in the company of his parents, must be interviewed.

“We are seeking to get those things and based on the information we receive, we will know the course of action to take. Hopefully, by now and Monday, we would be able to get all that information and from there, once we recognise there is a breach or there is anything there that is against the law, we are going to deal with it, with the seriousness that is required according to the law.”

He said a threat is a criminal offence.

“We are not supporting that children or anybody can make threats. It is a criminal offence and, therefore, we are looking at it in a very serious way.”

The officer said parents should impress upon their children the need to exercise responsibility in their words and actions.

“They cannot be making those kinds of threats.”

He said the police still need to determine if the threat was legitimate “and not just a person being malicious in their intent against the young boy.

“So we are looking at all of the different leads and based on the facts we will be making a decision by next week about what we will do. But the investigations are continuing even as we speak.”

Education secretary Zorisha Hackett, when contacted, said via WhatsApp, “Investigations are ongoing. The school supervision unit is due to provide a comprehensive report to me in short order.”

On Thursday, TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts said while he did not have all of the facts, he is deeply concerned about the underlying issues that may have led to the alleged threats.

He said there needs to be a system to treat with underlying issues.”

“For far too long, we are on the surface issues and caught up in those surface things seeking to put a plaster on it.”

Roberts said the authorities should not wait until members of society, including students, became frustrated “and then we’re playing police and thief trying to fix the surface issue.”