By Linda E. Edwards
What has happened in that “prestigious primary school” in West Trinidad, as reported in the Guardian on Saturday, June 3, 2006, is stunning in its barbarity. Educators at a school allow a security guard to rape an eleven year old girl a second time, in order to “catch him in the act”, and then allowed him to leave without calling the police?
If these are licensed teachers, I hope the Ministry of Education suspends their licenses, and enacts some drastic penalties against the school. I hope the parents of the child who underwent this horror a second time gets a good lawyer and files a lawsuit.
How could anyone in the name of justice, and of caring for children allow this to happen? Did they get the consent of the parents to allow their daughter to be raped a second time? What is the social status of the child involved, is she an Akiel Chambers in the house of the rich? One living on the fringe of the school’s reputation, or is this some doctor’s child or lawyer’s child? Would this be how it would have been handled if this were the child of a member of parliament?
At a time when the entire country, and those of us who are “abroad” are reeling from the predatory nature of people towards small children, this is a stunning blow; but it has been building up to this for along time. Too many people care more for the reputation of the institution than for the welfare of the little charges entrusted to their care. The police did set a bad example in the case of the five year old in Central who was being used as a prostitute by the village men. The teacher did report it, but the police sent the child home, to be used again as a spilling place for community sperm, then arrested the men who were lined up.
I hope that the recently appointed commission that is looking into Amy’s case, brings this one into its order of business also.
It is time that the Ministry of Education adopt a hard line towards teacher and school negligence as it is applied to the welfare of children, especially in cases of sexual abuse. Someone, where the buck stops at that school, needs to be suspended from duties. Every school operating in Trinidad and Tobago, private, parochial or public must be operating under some guidelines from The Ministry of Education. These guidelines, whether written or not, were violated in the violation of this child a second time.
If a parent had treated her own child this way, would she be allowed by the court to keep this child, and continue to look after her welfare, or would she have been deemed an unfit parent, and her custodial rights terminated?
School personnel, during school hours, act “in loco parentis” – In the place of wise and loving parents. Where was the wisdom here? These “parents” abused that child.
I hope a stern directive will be issued that will put a stop to such stupid behaviour in the future, both at that school and elsewhere.