Trinidad police to charge high school students for extortion

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Police are expected to lay charges against students of a secondary school here after a video surfaced showed them engaged in criminal activities including extorting money and beating other students on the school compound.

“With the incidence of school indiscipline and violence on the decline, greater attention must be paid for the swift curtailment of such behaviour,” Education Minister Anthony Garcia said in a statement.

“The ministry holds fast to its commitment to safety and security in our nation’s schools and all measures will be put in place to secure our students. I can say with certainty that no parent sent his child to school with the expectation that their child would be an aggressor or victim of assault.”

The incidents are reported to have occurred at the Siparia West Secondary School and posted on the various social network platforms, including Facebook and Whatsapp.

The statement from the Ministry of Education noted that the Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon has indicated that police officers will be on site at the school Monday “to lay charges on the students involved in the altercations”.

Garcia said that the Education Ministry will also be investigating how supervision is conducted at the school to alleviate any possible future occurrence.

He reminded that the authorities have adopted a zero tolerance policy on indiscipline and any student engaging in disruptive behaviour will be swiftly dealt with in accordance with the law.

In one of the videos, a student is seen pointing a finger in the face of another and using expletives, while without warning, a third student enters the fray and slaps the one being scolded. Another video shows a student paying some kind of tax to another student. As the student passes over the money, the “tax” collector appears not to be happy with the amount collected but nonetheless tells him to leave.

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