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Teacher Attacked By Student In Classroom

Teacher Attacked By Student In Classroom
February 08
12:19 2020

Teacher Attacked By Student In Classroom

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
On Monday of this week teachers at the Trial Farm Government School in Orange Walk raised concerns for their safety and staged a walkout to show solidarity with a teacher who had been attacked by a student while trying to part a fight.

The teachers decided to show their discontent with the management which they say has failed to address behavioral issues among students. They say that while they have reported instances of misconduct among students nothing has been done to address the situation, and the topic is usually dismissed.

Last week Friday, January 31st, Standard Two teacher Carmen Avilez was inside her classroom when a fight broke out between two of her students. Avilez, in an interview with Channel Five, indicated that when she asked one of the students what was happening he appeared to get more upset, and so she asked him to step outside of the classroom so that he could calm down. Avilez indicated that instead of complying with the request, the student pulled out a pencil and attempted to stab her. She said that she grabbed both of his arms in an attempt to subdue him and that is when the student kicked her repeatedly on her legs.

Avilez explained that while it is not the first time that she has encountered a situation like this, she was frightened because the commotion also caused her other students to become upset. The teacher said that she immediately reported the matter to the school’s management but nothing was done.

”I believe that when something like that happens, that needs to be addressed there, at that same time. But unfortunately, it wasn’t done that way. So what we did was get the other teachers’ support and we decided that no, that cannot continue going on in the classroom cause it is not only myself being attacked in the classroom. There are different situations and different times that those things have been happening, but nobody wants to stand up. But I said no – we need to address it,” Avilez asserted.

On Monday around 10:00 a.m. representatives from the Ministry of Education showed up at the school. After about an hour’s discussion, the teachers returned to their classrooms after it was agreed that support mechanisms would be put in place to address the situation.

District Education Manager Nelma Jones told the Reporter that,” We were able to have a dialogue with the staff and we decided that we were going to see how we could help them with support from the Ministry’s end in terms of getting some procedures in place to address disciplinary issues in the school. I know there will also be the implementation of the Positive Behaviour Management System known as the PBMS. From the child’s point of view, we also have a counseling unit and after the investigation is fully completed we will determine if the child will need counseling. If it is something clinical then we will guide the school in making referrals for that child.”

When we tried to get a comment from the school’s management we were told that the Principal was out on leave, while the vice-principal indicated that he would not be offering any comment on the situation.

Jones also indicated that the principal is tasked with ensuring the safety of both teachers and students, and that it was the principal’s job to address the situation. Jones noted that if the teachers were of the opinion that the principal was not properly addressing the matter then they could have reached out to someone in higher authority instead of staging a protest.

Two weeks ago, following an incident where a teacher was violently attacked by a parent on campus and another where a large stash of knives was found on a school compound, BNTU’s president Elena Smith told the Reporter that it seems that the atmosphere in some schools is becoming increasingly violent. Smith also indicated that while teachers have constantly complained about behavioral issues in the classroom, those seem to fall on deaf ears.

”We feel that the Ministry has not done enough to properly address this matter, and neither have managements. Much more must be done to ensure students’ and teachers’ safety. Again, it’s very troubling that this behavior keep occurring,” she asserted.

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