Trinidad: Teacher suspended over abuse claims at primary school

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Trinidad: Teacher suspended over abuse claims at primary school

(PRESS RELEASE) – A teacher with more than 20 years’ service at St Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Princes Town has been suspended from duty following allegations of abuse of staff and pupils.

Last Thursday, the teacher was served with a letter of suspension by the Ministry of Education, which instructed the individual to stay away from classes until an investigation into claims of abuse against pupils and staff has been completed.

The decision to suspend the teacher came following protest action by parents two weeks ago and a decision to keep their children away from classes, together with the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) calling on the Teaching Service Commission to stop dragging its feet on the matter and have the teacher removed so as to ensure the safety of pupils.

NPTA acting president Clarence Mendoza said he was satisfied with the response from the Teaching Service Commission and the Ministry of Education.

“Based on the stand we took, we would have ­given the Teaching Service Commission and the Government three days to respond to our call to have the teacher removed. The Teaching Service Commission responded in two days, informing us that they had sent a memo­randum to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education with regard to having the teacher temporarily removed from the school,” Mendoza said.

“Last (week) Wednesday I made contact with the ­investigating officer appointed by the Ministry of Education, and he indicated that he would be delivering to the teacher a letter of suspension pending an investigation,” he said.

Pupils asked to write reports

Mendoza said he was not in a position to say what was the duration of the suspension, as the contents of such documents are shared among the Ministry of Edu­cation, Teaching Service Commission and the teacher or teachers involved.

“We are meeting with parents as we have asked that the students compile short reports of their interactions with the teacher, as we want them to express for themselves how they have been affected. We have also asked parents who would have seen anything to write a report on their observations,” he said.

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