NA schoolboy's elbow fractured after flogging by teacher

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
June 14, 2001

The police in New Amsterdam are investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident at Vryman's Erven Junior Secondary School in the township on Monday during which a first form student suffered a fractured elbow.

Thirteen-year?old Kellon Felix of Tucber Housing Scheme suffered a fractured right elbow after being hit by a male teacher with a stick during a class at around 10 am.

According to the form 1A student "I got up from my seat to ask a friend of mine to help me spell a word. The teacher said that I was speaking too long and hit me on my back and elbow. He then pushed me and told me he wanted his work done even though I was crying out for pain in my hand." Some thirty minutes later the boy said another teacher came and took him to the headmistress. "The headmistress told me I had to go to the hospital and at around 12 noon I was taken to the hospital by a teacher."

Kellon recalled being taken to the New Amsterdam hospital where it was learnt that the X?ray machine there was inoperative. He was then taken to a private practitioner where the examination was carried out. "I was taken back to the hospital where my hand was put into plaster of paris before being taken back to school by a teacher at around 4 pm", he told Stabroek News on Tuesday. Kellon's mother Gillian Felix said the first time she learnt of the incident was around 5 pm on Monday afternoon when she saw her son coming home with his hand in plaster.

On Tuesday morning, the boy's father, Wayne Walker visited the school and spoke with the headmistress. "I attempted to uplift the X?ray to take to the hospital so that the doctor could fill up the medical certificate which we had been given by the police." The parents had earlier reported the matter to the police in New Amsterdam who suggested that they obtain a medical certificate from the attending doctor at the hospital. "I had a look at the X?ray and I saw what appeared to be a piece of broken bone in Kellon's elbow." According to the father, the X?ray was subsequently sent to the hospital by the headmistress and the police were expected to uplift the medical from the doctor either on Tuesday or yesterday. The police have taken statements from the parents and the boy and are continuing their investigations.

An orthopaedic specialist attached to the New Amsterdam hospital confirmed that the boy had suffered a fracture of his elbow. According to Kellon the stick used by the teacher was approximately two and one half feet long and about one inch in diameter.

Headmistress of the school Mrs Daniels acknowledged that the incident had occurred describing it as "a very unfortunate incident since no teacher sets out to break any student's hand or to injure anyone." The matter, she said, is being handled by the Department of Education in New Amsterdam since she has written the Regional Education Officer informing him of it.

The injury to Felix comes in the wake of the recent flogging of nine-year?old Nickesha Garraway of the Lodge?Enterprise Primary School in Georgetown which resulted in the child suffering a fractured collar bone. The female teacher involved in that incident has since been placed on $10,000 station bail and asked to report to the police station regularly. Several efforts to contact the Regional Education Officer at the Department in New Amsterdam to obtain a comment were unsuccessful.