Racism at Torrib Trace Presbyterian School.
It is so sad that at this present day we still have people who try to achieve power by racial insurgence. On reading the article posted by Dr. Cudjoe, I was appalled by the total disregard for honesty in what was stated. Being a past student of the school and closely knitted with both teachers and parents (African and Indian), I think it is time for others to know the truth of what transpired. I would like to remain anonymous for fear of victimization by the mischievous parents who know me as a respected member of the community.
The Accusations and the Facts
1. Richie Davis was drinking a chubby in the class one day. Some of it spilled onto the floor. Nicola Bhagan, the teacher of the first year class sent him to get the mop and made him mop out the entire room. She also beat the child on her back with her hand, took his Reading Book and threw it on the ground.
If the report delights itself in accuracy, the teacher has been wrongfully accused, as the surname is inaccurate. If a surname (Bhagan, Bhajan) which is simple information cannot be right, think about the rest of the report!
I am in the school regularly looking and observing as these particular parents (some who were my classmates) were always looking for trouble. In fact, during their time as students of the school, they gave the teachers lots of trouble and bullied the other students (African and Indians) who were trying their best to excel academically. Their problem is simply that they were not successful as students of the school and now they hate the institution and those who were successful products of it. Some parents who signed the petition and made the complaints confess that they were bullied and now they are truly sorry for being a part of what has happened.
Ms Nicola has a tremendous task dealing with the first year class. Richie Davis (who the teacher likes a lot because of his inquisitiveness) is under a lot of emotional stress. He has confessed to others that his parents told him what to say regarding the mopping, name calling (nigger), book throwing etc. He says that his parents beat him to lie and that they always ‘cuss’ at home and fight each other. The poor child wants to cry in school when he sees his teacher. Tears form in his eyes when he confesses these things, he even tells his teacher sorry for making her so sad.
Parents that make their children lie are breeding criminals!
His sister Lisa Davis, is an intelligent child, always seen around the teachers’ desk and ‘heels’ (Indian teachers). She has made the school proud by representation in verse speaking competitions placing first. The teachers coached her, and transported her with their cars to all these events. If they were racial, they would not have done so! She appears to be troubled by what is taking place as she is displaying symptoms of withdrawal; she seldom speaks.
Parents are creating emotional monsters in society!
2. The parents describe Ms. Nicola Bhajan, one of the teachers, as "the problem child of the school”. On her way to school in a car one morning, she uttered to another passenger, "Once ah sees those African children, ah does feel to vomit”.
This is total lie! Ms Nicola has to travel great distances to reach to school. She suffers from ‘motion sickness’ and many times on arriving at school, tries hard not to vomit any food that was eaten.
That is what she told the taxi driver!
3. While she was in her class, Ms. Nicola Bhajan called Tessa Charles a "nigger." Subsequently, Tessa's mother complained to the principal, Timor Sharma," about the incident. The teacher denied that she ever called Tessa "a nigger." The Principal felt impelled to support his teacher.
Tessa Charles is an extremely quiet child who all teachers would love in their class; she cannot even say the word!
(p.s. the Principal’s name is spelt incorrectly)
4. It is alleged that Ms. Nicola Bhajan folded her fist and cuffed Ricardo Ramnarine in his nose. Subsequently, his mother complained to the Principal and then to Supervisor Ramlal but nothing was done about this act of abuse. Incidentally, it is believed that Supervisor Ramlal is a cousin of the Principal. We ask that Supervisor Ramlal recuse himself from this investigation because he cannot be impartial.
Ms Nicola is a frail figure who does not even want to kill a mosquito! All teachers know the rules concerning abuse, besides; this accusation is so ridiculous it does not deserve a decent reply!
This particular child also confessed to be tutored into speaking the untruth. It is ironic in that he always has to brought to the Principal’s office (before and after these accusations arose) because he cuffs other students on their backs, hands, bellies, and faces. The teacher has continually requested a visit from the parents who never came! That itself shows physical abuse at home by the parents.
In order to cause mass destruction one must fuel the fire of wickedness. The Principal and Mr. Ramlal are in no way related! Good grief man!
It is important to note that an African Supervisor visited the school after Mr. Ramlal did and found no evidence of racial discrimination submitting a report to her superiors.
5. Mr. Ronald Babooran, the teacher of Standard One, broke a ruler Kyle Charles head. Kyle noted: "Sir broke a meter ruler on my head." After completing this spectacular act, he promptly warned Kyle: "Next time I will beat your brains with the ruler." Rae-Anne Charles, the parent of the child, complained to the principal about such behavior. Once more, she received no satisfaction from the Principal.
6. The Principal claims that Kyle took a pencil from another child, Brent Roodal, and stuck the latter in his eye with the pencil. It was at that point that Mr. Babooran, beat the child with a ruler and then took him to the principal. I am yet to have this incident confirmed by Marie Roodal, the mother of the child. In this context, it is important to note that Ms. Roodal is an African woman who is married to an Indian man. Brent is a product of that union.
7. One morning around ten a.m., Christian Peters complained to his teacher, Ronald Babooram, that he was feeling unwell. The teacher responded: "Dat good for you" and told him to go back and sit down. One parent of the school, Malissia Peters, contrasted the difference in treatment between the Indian and the African children. She observed: "The next day an Indian child got sick. They rushed him to the Health Center. That is the normal way they treat children who are sick."
Kyle Charles is a hyperactive child. If you walk through the village and ask anyone about Kyle they would tell you that, he is very wicked at times (as the report states about the pencil incident). I have the privilege of knowing Marie personally; she does not like trouble and shuns any evidence of it.
The plastic ruler was a metre and a half long. The teacher put a scratch on the ruler to show one metre and while flexing the ruler to emphasize a mathematical concept, the ruler broke along the scratch with half the ruler falling on Kyle’s head.
There is a rule in school that all ill children must be taken home. Teachers cannot take a child home if there is no one at home, they must remain in school. Recently, because of the high incidence of kidnappings, teachers do not release children to anyone else besides their parents or relatives who the teachers know.
Most of the African parents get URP jobs on the roads and are not at home, hence the reason for the child not being taken home.
Concerning the health center, the nurse is not always there! There are specific days for the nurse’s visit. It so happened that the nurse was not present that day.
Mr. Ronald Babooram always transports children in his car regardless of race. If he is unable to do so, he lends his car to another teacher to ensure that the child is at home.
8. When children make complaints to their parents, they are punished in school the next day. According to one parent, "Dey get licks." In other words, there must be no communication between the children and their parents. Such behavior belies the rosy promises of partnership that the "Parents' Information Handbook" outlines.
Children do ‘get licks’… from the parents! Teachers have observed cases of physical and sexual abuse of children from parents. Children are threatened by their parents to shut their mouths or else!
9. It is alleged that Ms. Ramdeo took the children's schoolbooks and beat them on their heads with them.
There is no teacher in that school by that name!
10. Miss Anita is Nigel Julien's teacher. He suffers from asthma. In spite of his condition, Ronald Babooram [not his teacher], hit him three times on his back. When Gabriella Julien, his mother, reported the incident to the principal, he said that Nigel was lying. Next morning, when Nigel returned to school, Sir Ronald promptly beat him again. He had him jump up four times and called him "a monkey" in front of all of the children. Every time he struck him with the ruler, he told him "Jump" as he called him a monkey.
Nigel Julien does not suffer from asthma! In fact, he is very athletic hitting other children and running away. Nigel was reported to a teacher for calling his sister a ‘dutty nigger’. When asked where he learned it from, he says that his mother calls them that at home. The mother often refers to her children as ‘niggers’ and named one of them ‘manicou’.
11. It is alleged that the teachers treat some of the dark-skinned Indians in a similar manner. However, the Indian parents are scared of breaking rank and do not complain.
12. In an effort to solve these problems, the parents took the matter to their PTA. The president, Asha Ramdhanie, responded to their complaints with the following remark: "I have no African children going to the school and so I don't have a problem." Dorothy Shah, an Indian parent, also advised the complaining parents: "Is a few Africans dey have. Why don't dey build a shed and put their children in it?" All the parents could do was to ask her to take back her statement which she did not do.
I cannot comment on this because I am not aware of this. What I have heard (before all these accusations were made) is the African children referring to teachers as ‘dutty coolies’ who cannot tell them how to behave. Hats off to the parents!
13. Adana Julien is eleven years old. Idris Pariag teaches Standard 11. Sometimes, in the classroom, she curses the children in the nastiest way. She tells them telling to "Kiss his mother arse." On one occasion he advised Adana: "Why don't you stay home and plant garden!" When she complained to the Principal, he said. "All yo' have bees and flies around you. Get out of here. You too stink." Such terms of abuse caused the parent of the child to ask: "What ma child do so for him to tell her to stay home and plant garden and that she so stink?" Idris Pariag has denied making the latter statement of abuse.
Adana Julien ‘cusses’ the children calling the African children ‘dutty niggers’ She is the sister of Nigel Julien. She received her vocabulary training at home!
Mr. Idris Pariag received numerous complaints from children sitting next to her that her smell was unpleasant. He observed that flies were around her head and body and her head was covered partially with a type of fungus that is contagious. As a result, he spoke to all children informing them of personal hygiene, he did not call any names. Before these accusations were made, the nurses (African) visited the school and observed Adana. They repeatedly sent messages to her mother to discuss the child’s personal hygiene. The parent never responded to their requests. African and Indian parents have complained to teachers that they do not want their children to be seated next to Adana Julien.
Regarding the ‘garden’, the child was given textbooks (free) from the school twice. They were all destroyed. The teacher informed the class subsequently that an education is important, without an education, to get money you will have to work very hard in the garden.
14. Nicola Badjam called Ricardo Ramnarine a "jackass and an asshole." She also called him a "donkey" and wondered aloud: "Why don't you stay home and cut cane with your father." He placed him under detention to stand for about four hours. While he was under detention, he defecated upon himself. While he was under detention, he asked the teacher for toilet paper to go to the toilet but she refused. The parent discovered the defecation when the child returned home from school.
The children have evidently copied the vocabulary of their parents. First year children call each other nasty names (using four letter words as well). Teachers do not do that!
You should hear them going home from school!
Children were asked what they would like to be when they grow up. Responses were ‘cutting cane, planting garden’. That is what happened! The truth was twisted again!
No teacher in the school lets children stand as a form of punishment; it is not possible when considering how many hours there are in a school day!
15. Invariably, the African children are placed in the last row of the classes. It is reported that the Principal said to a parent that the teachers have no interest in teaching black kids and there is nothing anyone can do about. More particularly, the African teachers allege that the teachers are not interested in teaching the children of parents who are complaining and even more sinister: protesting. He said he will never fire or suspend any teacher to make it easier for children who behave in a deviant manner.
16. The parents note that under Monica Baksh, the former principal, things were never so bad. She transferred offending teachers and tried to form a steelband. The parents claim: "Certain people do not want pan in the school." Another claims: "She was transferred from the school because she did not like discrimination." It is claimed that Ms. Baksh "got rid of one teacher who use to call the children 'black bugs.'" One is not too sure why Principal Baksh was asked to leave the school.
The African children automatically sit at the back of the class. Teachers beg the students to sit at the front because the children do not do their homework and assignments. In addition, they disrupt the entire class! These children are very rude to the teachers referring to them as “coolie” when spoken to about these things.
Principals cannot hire fire and transfer teachers! That job is up to the Ministry Of Education in consultation with the Presbyterian Primary Schools’ Board Of Education. Monica Baksh was ‘Acting’ Principal she was not a ‘confirmed’ Principal. She applied to the Ministry to become a ‘confirmed’ Principal and as such, the school that was available was not Torrib Trace Pres. Hence her reason for leaving.
The steel pans need lots of space, presently; there is no room to store these pans. The Ministry of Education will not send these pans if the facilities are not there. Hence the reason why there are no pans!
17. One teacher called a child a "zoogobat." We are still to determine what that term means.
The child has been called this name by his own African people! they made this name for him because of his appearance. The Indian teachers put a stop to it however!
The parent who made this complaint said that she was threatened to do so by the others, she has openly expressed regret of what has happened.
18. It is reported that several teachers (Ronald Babooram, Edmund Pragsingh, Arnold Jodhan, and Mr. Sharma) go to the bar at lunch time and drink hard liquor. One parent-an ex-police officer, Oswald Glasgow-claims that they drink puncheon rum during lunch time. After that, they return to the school to teach our children.
No teacher drinks hard liquor during the luncheon period. Teachers go to the bars to get lunch (chicken and pork sandwiches). Just ask the bar owners!
Over 90% of the people attending the Presbyterian Churches are Indians the church is open to all. In Brothers Road, there are the Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Baptist, and Seventh Day Adventist Churches etc. The Africans prefer to attend the Pentecostal, Baptist, and Seventh Day Adventist Churches. These churches do not have schools attached to them, the Presbyterian Church owns 72 Primary Schools. To become a teacher in a Presbyterian School, you must be a Presbyterian! You must be a member of the church. If the African people want to be teachers in the school, please get qualified, go to a Presbyterian church, and apply for a job! It is that simple!
These allegations made are a result of mischief set to conjure power using the ignorant. As an observer, I often hear African children calling each other ‘nigger’ when confronted about this, the children say that is what they are, and their parents told them that! That is what they hear from the songs they listen to!
Referring to the Principal on the PA system, the amplifier has a short circuit and was seldom used during that time the accusations were made!
Regarding the letter sent to Mr. Davis, it is rather strange that Mr. Davis when invited by the Supervisor said that Mr. Sharma did not give him directions to the office hence his reason for not going. How then did Mr. Davis find the office when he lodged the compliant twice and gave the petition to the Supervisor? Lies upon lies! That’s why we have criminals rampant in Trinidad and Tobago; parents are breeding criminals in their homes!!!
The people who signed that petition are relatives of Mr. Davis. Some are his ‘in-laws’ and other members of the family. It is important to note that only a few of them are parents of the school. Mr. Davis’ sister openly stated that he is a wicked man and the people of Brothers Road are against him for what he is doing. They are willing to sign a petition to justify that.
The accusations therefore should not be thrown at the teachers of the school, but at the parents and certain individuals whose evil and wicked minds want to incite racial violence. Parents (African and Indian) are very angry to know what has happened. They intend to seek some form of reconciliation in the future.
Angry and Annoyed Villager!
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