PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday October 9, 2017 – Several schoolboys are facing disciplinary action after carrying out blatant acts of bullying at a secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago.
The incidents, which included robbery and assault, came to light after videos of the acts were posted on social media over the weekend. Like members of the public, Education Minister Anthony Garcia strongly condemned the incidents and said the offenders would be urgently dealt with.
“It is totally unacceptable conduct on the part of our students,” Garcia told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.
One of the videos showed several students at Siparia West Secondary robbing another, who was dressed in an overall, of money. One of the culprits then began pushing the student he robbed and hitting him in the back of the head as other students cheered on.
In a second video, the same student along with other schoolmates beat another student in a classroom. A third video shows another student striking a student twice in the back of his head.
Education authorities are meeting to discuss the incident.
Minister Garcia urged students who are victims of bullying, robbery and assault to come forward.
“We are going to deal decisively with that….It must not happen again,” he said, although declining to say exactly what disciplinary action the offenders would face.
Garcia said his ministry has been working with teachers and principals to crack down on bullying and violence in schools. And he said while they had made much headway in addressing the problem, he expressed concern that “incidents like these…really undermine our efforts.”
Meanwhile, police have instructed members of the public to stop posting pictures of the students involved, with Acting Commissioner of Police Radcliff Boxhill saying it is “not the best thing to do”
“It is young children, we can’t give up on them. We have hope of bringing them around from criminality. We ask people to refrain from posting those pictures,” he urged.