Houston Secondary teacher whips out cutlass following attack by parent, student
The Houston Secondary School was thrown into turmoil after a teacher whipped out a cutlass to defend herself against a parent and a student who attacked her on Thursday, March 23.
The incident, which was caught on camera and shared on social media, showed the raucous behaviour on the school’s premises. The teacher was later identified as Kimone Gentle, who has been in the profession for a number of years.
The teacher and the parent were both detained at the Ruimveldt Police Station, but the teacher was later released following the intervention of her attorney, Darren Wade. The teacher, who briefly spoke to sections of the media, explained that attacking teachers is becoming a new pandemic.
In a socal media post, Education Minister Priya Manickchand stated, “In every altercation between a teacher and parent/s, a child will be affected. Remember that. And dial down all the talks of violence and hostility.”
GTU President Mark Lyte told the media that the issue must be addressed head-on, while adding there is need for legislation to be updated to protect teachers in the classroom and in the schools.
“This seems to be the new way of parents and students trying to resolve their challenges with their teachers, and it is really bothersome and worrying”, Lyte told News Source. He added that gone are the days when parents would visit the schools and speak to the teachers to understand what was happening with their children.
Following the attack on Shawn Marshall, a teacher of Graham’s Hall Primary who was attacked and beaten by a parent, the Ministry of Education has stated, “Whatever the circumstances, it is a reprehensible and ghastly act. It is unacceptable, and will not be condoned in the least.”
According to the Ministry, schools are considered safe spaces, and any act of violence is deemed totally unacceptable.
“When parents or guardians are engaged in violent acts against teachers, it goes against established values, norms, and expectations. We cannot beat teachers and then ask them to teach our children peaceful conflict resolution,” the Ministry stated, adding that it would therefore take all appropriate actions to ensure that all teachers continue to work in a safe and secure environment.
Such actions, it noted, include prohibiting violent parents or guardians from having access to school premises, transferring any learner whose parents commit acts of violence on teachers, or any other sanction deemed necessary, while encouraging the Police or any other institution or authority to take whatever action the law prescribes.