Carmel student, Charlestown teacher to be disciplined over school incident -Baksh

Disciplinary action will be taken against the Charlestown Secondary School teacher and the student who he allegedly assaulted last Friday.

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh, during a brief statement to the media yesterday, said that the investigation into the matter has been completed and a report submitted to him. Based on the findings of this report, he said, action will be taken against teacher Triston Prescott and 12-year-old Carmel Secondary School student, Stephon Bourne.

Reiterating some of his initial statements made just after the matter, Baksh stressed that his ministry will not condone such behaviour in schools. He also expressed a belief that the matter has been “sensationalized” in the media. There are “more than a thousand schools in Guyana”, Baksh said, and the incident which occurred at the Charlestown Secondary is far from being common.

It was found that both teacher and student were at fault, a Ministry of Education (MoE) official told Stabroek News last evening. The official, who requested anonymity, further said that both Prescott and Bourne will be “sanctioned” but it has still not been determined exactly what degree of action will be taken against either.

“There is no question about whether or not the teacher [Prescott] is wrong or right,” the official said. “It was the actions by the teacher which sparked what happened later at the school when the parent barged in…however, the parent too should have exercised better judgment.”

Officials from the MoE are expected to meet with the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) of the Charlestown and Carmel secondary schools early next week. Issues arising from last Friday’s incident and other concerns will be discussed.

The official further pointed out that the police investigation into the matter is still ongoing. The MoE, according to the official, may possibly wait until the police take action before they discipline Prescott.

Around 3pm last Friday, following an exchange of words between him and Bourne, who attends the neighbouring school, Prescott allegedly repeatedly slapped the child and then slammed his head into a concrete wall. Bourne sustained a wound to the forehead which needed four stitches.

After word of the assault spread, Bourne’s father armed himself with a cutlass and went to the Charles-town Secondary where he allegedly chopped Prescott and his colleague Patrick Bourne to the head. The enraged man also allegedly hit female teacher, Cliffon Johnson, to the face.

Vanessa McGarrell, the mother of the injured child, told Stabroek News that investigators told her yesterday that they will be instituting charges against both Prescott and her son’s father. However, police are yet to arrest the father.

McGarrell further said that her son will return to the doctor today to have the stitches removed from his wound. Bourne, according to her, is still complaining of pain in the head. The child, she said, attended school yesterday to write his end-of-term examination.

Prescott, according to her, was present at school yesterday. McGarrell said that she believes the teacher should be suspended from teaching and from interacting with students until the MoE decides his faith.

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