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9-year-old “bully” can’t be removed from school

Trinidad Express / The nine-year-old Santa Rita Roman Catholic Primary School pupil whose conduct led to protest action by frightened parents on Monday, is receiving counselling and can be rehabilitated, says Education Minister Anthony Garcia.

The Standard Two pupil has been referred to the ministry’s Student Support Services Division, following a series of incidents at the school.

Chief Education Officer, Harrilal Seecharan, said the ministry was aware of the concerns raised by parents at the school. And he noted that the matter was being pursued.

Seecharan said the ministry could not simply remove a child from the education system. He said there was a process to deal with troubled pupils.

Seecharan said the pupil was receiving counselling and guidance by officers in the diagnostic intervention unit at the student support services division.

“If we are to remove a student from school it would be based on their recommendation. Our information at this point is that we are working with the student. Removal at this point might be premature,” he said.

Seecharan said there has been a recommendation for a full-time aid to work with the child.

Responding to parents’ demand to meet the Education Minister, Garcia said it was impossible for him to visit every school. He said the student support services division was capable of handling the matter.

“We cannot go to every school where there is a problem. We will leave it up to the professionals to handle it. We cannot go to every school to out every fire,” he said.

Garcia said he found it necessary to visit the Mayaro Secondary School, where a teenage girl was beaten into unconsciousness by a group of female pupils, as “we found that this situation demanded our immediate intervention”.

Parents of pupils attending the Santa Rita Roman Catholic School in Tabaquite, Rio Claro, said they feared for their children’s safety.

Parents claimed that the nine-year-old boy was attacking children and teachers at the school. The pupil was suspended on several occasions.

The parents threatened to continue protest action until the matter was resolved.

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