Family members of a 13-year-old student of a secondary school in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are calling for a thorough investigation into the alleged bullying of the child by classmates – actions which are allegedly being condoned by the class teacher.
Though the welfare department was called in to deal with the situation, the child’s family is not satisfied and is calling on higher authorities to intervene.
“He came home crying last Tuesday so, I was there and I asked what happened. He does stammer a lot sometimes you understand what he does talk and he is fat, so he said the children interfering with him in the class, say they gone put he up on Facebook…and whole heap of thing they tormenting he and he said the teacher did nothing,” the child’s grandmother, Anita Elliot, explained.
Elliot, a retired social studies teacher, said after this incident occurred, the boy’s mother visited the school with the intention of meeting with the teacher, however, she was absent. This led to the mother messaging the said teacher.
“The class teacher’s word was that he must be tough, he got to be strong and stand up like a man and stop crying for everything…she doesn’t see any issue there and she don’t see the class did him anything,” Elliot related.
The following day, the grandmother claimed that the teacher “went to the class and tell the class how [the child] complain on them and…the whole class start make mockery of him”.
The woman said as a result of this, her grandson responded “aggressively”.
“It is alleged that he pointed his hand in her face in a rage and she walked out the class and run to the Head Teacher’s office and said that she frightened for she life,” the grandmother contended.
The child’s mother was then summoned which led to a further confrontation between her and the teachers. The family then decided to get welfare officers involved.
Elliot said the child, after seeing the Regional Education Officer, later returned to the school the same day only to find that his name was removed from the “Class Group” by his teacher.
“The list or group is called the “class group” which involves both parents and students from the class. This is where everything that goes on in the class is posted into which includes his assignments, projects, group work, and homework, so it is a very important group, especially that end of year exam is approaching, he needs to be up to date with his school work and course work,” Elliot explained.
To date, she said the teen is yet to be added back to this list.
“The class teacher was told to put him back in his class but the teacher refused. She said that he has to apologise to the class and to her. I decided that he won’t apologise to the class because he hasn’t done the class anything, they were the ones who tormented him and the teacher allowed it. The welfare had promise us that they will set a date for him to apologise to his class teacher but we are still waiting on them to do so,” the grandmother explained.
The retired educator is hoping that higher authorities would be able to address this current situation and put systems in place to prevent a reoccurrence. In fact, she believes that more should be done at a national level to edify the stakeholders about bullying.
“This needs to stop! I am going to fight for those children who are being discriminated and bullied and tormented in school and nobody is doing nothing, the school system failing, the welfare system failing them, because they are always putting things under the carpet, they are not dealing with things serious,” the grandmother contended.
Contacted for a comment on the situation, Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Education, Murtland Haley said an investigation will be launched.
“A team from the Department of Education, Region 10, will be visiting the school on Monday [today],” he stated.