Trinidad: Minister investigates teacher’s alleged threats to students, family

Trinidad: Minister investigates teacher’s alleged threats to students, family
Education Minister Anthony Garcia
Education Minister Anthony Garcia

(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) — Education Minister Anthony Garcia has promised to get to the bottom of a report that a teacher has threatened to kill a family, which includes two students who attend the southern school where he is based.

A report of the threat was also made to the Marabella police, the principal, school supervisors in the Victoria Educational District as well as to the Presbyterian Primary School Board.

When Newsday spoke to Garcia on Tuesday morning, he said it was the first time he was hearing of the incident and promised to investigate.

However, in a subsequent interview, Garcia said he understands that the matter is outside the jurisdiction of the school.

“If it is a personal matter I cannot get involved. What I have been told is that the teacher in question made a report against the parents of the students.”

An official at the school who wished to remain anonymous told Newsday the teacher “needs help” since it is not the first time similar allegations have been made against him.

The official said the teacher was transferred to the school about two years ago after a female colleague reported him for “stalking” her.

While at his new school the teacher is said to have gotten close to a family including their two daughters who attend that school.

The official said, “Because of certain behaviours, the family tried to end the relationship with the teacher, but during the the first week in the new school term, he threatened to “wipe out the entire family.” Reports are that the teacher has also been seen driving up and down the road in front of the family’s home with strange people in his car.

The traumatised family reported the matter to the police as well as to the school principal. The principal in turn reported the matter to the school supervisors as well as to the police.

It is understood that when the school supervisors met with the parents, principal and teacher, the teacher accused the family of tarnishing his name.

A suggestion was also made to have the students transferred, but the family has refused this saying it was unfair to their children who have done nothing to warrant this kind of dislocation.

A letter was also sent to the Presbyterian Primary School Board, which is chaired by Rev Brenda Bullock. The board also met the parties separately but is yet to make a recommendation.

The school official said he and his colleagues were not happy with the lack of response from the police or the recommendation to transfer the students.

“This is a serious situation and with the state of crime in the country we cannot wait until something drastic happens to act. “

He said it appeared the teacher might have some issues and needed help.

Second vice president of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Kyrla Robertson said the situation was not brought to the attention of the association.

She said she was not certain if the teacher against whom the allegation was being made was a member of the union. She said if a teacher was facing a disciplinary charge, that teacher was free to approach TTUTA for representation. However, she said TTUTA did not represent teachers charged with criminal offences.

Robertson added, “TTUTA would hope that a thorough investigation would be carried out in the matter and that none of the drama affects the school or the students.”


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