Teacher trouble

THE chairman of Newell High School board has called an emergency meeting for today to discuss the conduct of a teacher who was captured on video assaulting, chasing, and threatening a student with death.

At the same time, Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison said her office will be investigating the matter. She told the Jamaica
Observer on Thursday that any threat to a student by someone in a position of authority is unacceptable behaviour.

In the video, which went viral on Wednesday, the obviously agitated teacher was seen chasing a male student who was fleeing the classroom.

While there is no context on the video as to what led to the chase, it shows the teacher addressing the class and declaring: “Me will murder you, you hear. You look pon me good, mi kill man already and mi will kill man again, ’cause mi nuh fraid fi do it. Mi nuh love nuttn wid seed, nuttn, so you a easiest thing fi dead.”

In a release on Thursday, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams condemned as unprofessional and inexcusable the conduct of a teacher at the St Elizabeth school.

“I spoke with the chairman of the board of Newell High School who is equally concerned by the verbal attack on the student and the death threats towards the student,” said Williams.

She noted that a board meeting is set for today in keeping with the 48 hours required by current regulations for notice to members to attend emergency sittings.

According to Williams, the behaviour of the teacher lowers the professionalism of the teaching sector.

“This normalises violence in the minds of our students and does not provide the kind of role model that the society expects of our teachers,” she added, declaring that the action on the teacher’s part must be strongly condemned.

Williams said that it has been reported that this is not the first time the teacher has acted in a similar threatening manner towards students.

“This inexcusable act on the part of the teacher cannot be defended. The students will be given counselling and psychotherapy to treat with the trauma caused by the verbal abuse and violent threat to which they were exposed. School should be a place where students feel protected and safe and trusting of the adults in charge of their well-being,” said Williams.

The education minister added that there is also the need for psychotherapy sessions for the teacher.

She said the video has been referred to the commissioner of police for investigation.

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