Categorized | National News

Parent Alleges Teacher Cruelty

A mother whose teen son was physically disciplined by his school’s headmaster wants him removed from his post and she wants to be compensated for the thousands of dollars she has racked up in medical expenses to have her son treated for his injuries.

Colleen Cartwright says her 14-year-old son, who attends T.A. Thompson Jr. High School, has been out of school since November.

She said her son’s P.E. coach reprimanded him because he refused to take part in physical activity.

During an interview with The Bahama Journal yesterday, Ms. Cartwright claimed her son told his coach that he was not feeling well as his back was “bothering him.”

After he refused, he was sent to the headmaster’s office.

“His class was on a daily report and for every ‘U’ that they get they get a lick for it and he got one ‘U’ so he got one lick. He took my son on November 20, placed him against the wall, tightened his pants pocket and whipped him down,” she claimed.

Ms. Cartwright also claims that her son was not beaten with a cane, but rather another instrument, which she photographed.

Days later, she said her son started complaining of back pains, which worsened throughout the week.

She eventually took him to the doctor, who later referred him to a specialist. The specialist told him that he needed to have surgery for a pilonidal abscess – a painful cyst located near the buttocks.

She now claims that the beating brought on the abscess.

The infection was eventually drained and for seven-and-a-half weeks after the incident, Ms. Cartwright and her mother, Susan Ginn cleaned and applied medication to the spot every day.

Ms. Cartwright said she later sought out Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald.

“I went downtown, met with the minister, spoke with him, showed him the pictures he told me to follow him to his office right away. I met with the director, explained the situation and the director asked me to write out a whole letter detailing when the incident started until it ended. I did that. I gave it to the director, I gave him the pictures, they are now telling me it’s in the Attorney General’s Office,” she said.

While on her way to The Bahama Journal, Ms. Cartwright received a call informing her that her son had been suspended for 10 days even though he has been out of school since November on sick leave.

She said because she has refused to let the issue go some school officials are trying to make her son out to be “the bad guy.”

She also alleges the ninth grader is now being harassed.

“The first week he was in school the same senior headmaster apparently took a stick and threw it at my son. He then took my son by his school bag and [pulled] him back and said ‘boy, get to class.’ If my son had fallen down what were you going to tell me again? You already put him in some kind of problems and you are still bothering him in school. He’s not bothering you, so why are you bothering him,” she said.

Ms. Cartwright admitted that her son recently cursed the headmaster. While she says she does not condone her behaviour she understands that he is frustrated by the alleged harassment.

Mrs. Ginn said she, too, is frustrated by the run around government officials have given her.

“Last Tuesday, I asked my daughter what was the status [of the case] and she said ‘mummy, I’ve spoken to the director’s office and they said it’s in finance.’ So, I called the director’s office and spoke to Mr. Sands, he said, ‘no, it has gone to the AG’s office for legal advice.’ My point is, why has it gone to the AG’s office for legal advice? You obviously know you have a problem,” she said.

“I physically faxed it off to Allyson Maynard’s office myself last Wednesday. [Wednesday] makes a week and still nothing. You can’t go on like this; it is not fair. Then they wonder why these boys act out. You’re not helping them, you’re making it worse. And [they’re] allowing these administrators to dictate. The parents and the administrators are supposed to communicate – that’s how it’s supposed to be done.”

Ms. Cartwright says she wants her son to return to the classroom as he is set to sit national exams soon.

“My son needs to get back in school; that’s the most important thing. His education is being jeopardised because they have kept out of school for so long. That’s the main focus. I need my child back in school. Now, you’re telling me that he’s not allowed back in school until March 1, which is ridiculous. He’s been out of school since November,” she said.

“And I want [them] to stop harassing my child.”

Mrs. Ginn, meantime, said she wants the headmaster removed from the school.

“I do not want him to have any connection with my grandson whatsoever,” she said.

The Bahama Journal attempted to reach Education Minister, Jerome Fitzgerald, Education Director Lionel Sands and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson for comment. However, calls were not returned up to the press time.

Rogan Smith

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