Transfers granted to four boys
Teacher back in class

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
October 24, 2000

Four of the six boys who alleged that they were sexually abused by a male teacher have been transferred at their families' request to a school out of their West Demerara village and the teacher was back at his post yesterday. The other two boys were still attending the same school and yesterday they were still being taught by the same teacher.

Stabroek News visited the school yesterday afternoon but neither the head teacher nor the deputy head teacher was at the school. The headmistress was conducting a registration exercise at a nearby centre. Staff at the school said that the deputy was also conducting registration, but in another area.

According to reports, the police took statements on Friday from three of the six students, their parents and the accused, who were summoned to the La Grange Police Station. The exercise at the police station, parents felt, accounted for the teacher's absence from school on Friday. Apart from learning that the male teacher denied the allegations of abuse levelled against him, Stabroek News could not ascertain from the police what action would be taken.

Parents and residents in the West Demerara community along with two teachers from the same school told this newspaper that by now the accused should have been either at home, on leave or charges should have been made out against him by the police. They opined that he should not be in the school environment while investigations were being conducted.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar, told Stabroek News yesterday morning that he had instructed the Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) Education Department to send the teacher home on leave until later in the week when he would be expected to report to the department.

Caesar said that by then he hoped the investigation would be completed and, if necessary, recommended action submitted to the Teaching Service Commission.

Of the six students who were allegedly abused, transfers for four were sought and granted. One of the boys was granted a transfer shortly after he left the village to live with one of his parents in another village. This was before the story broke in this newspaper last week. Three others were issued with transfers yesterday. They began classes in their new school shortly afterwards.

This newspaper was unable to make contact with the parents of the two others who also alleged abuse and who are still attending the same school.

The alleged abuses came to light more than two weeks ago when one of the six accused the teacher. While statements had been taken at the Region Three Education Department on the same day and promises made that action would have been taken against the teacher, parents felt that the department had taken no action. They had also made a report at the La Grange Police Station, but nothing had been done at the time.

When Caesar was contacted to comment on the issue last Thursday, he said that the Education Department had not informed the ministry of the allegations and promised immediate action. A team from the ministry was due to visit the school yesterday. Stabroek News could not confirm whether this took place.

And other parents are also alleging that the same teacher either made indecent proposals to their children or insulted them in one way or another. One grandmother told this newspaper that about a month ago her grandson had told her that the teacher had suggested to him that he should shave the hair off his body because he was "too hairy".

The parents who are making the new allegations are not keen on going public because they fear that their children will become victims of ridicule.

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