Broken promises over pupil's broken arm - family
Stabroek News
March 10, 2004

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It has been more than three months since eight-year-old Joel Punch's arm was broken after being beaten by a teacher with a part from a broken chair. But his family is yet to hear any word from the Ministry of Education even though it had said an investigation was underway.

The child's grandmother, Doreen McPherson, is also lamenting what she termed as the callous treatment she received from an official at the School's Welfare Depart-ment.

Punch, who attends the New Comenius Primary School, had his arm broken last November reportedly by his class teacher after he had chased one of his schoolmates around the schoolyard for taking his pencil.

The beating from the teacher resulted in the child's arm being broken and his grandmother was forced to stand the expense to get medical treatment for the child. A report was made to the ministry which said they would have the matter investigated. The teacher is now on maternity leave and although the cast is off the child's arm, his grandmother said he still has difficulty using it.

McPherson yesterday told Stabroek News that she received a telephone call from the school informing her that the official said she should report to her office on Thursday. However, she was unable to do so and reported on Friday.

The woman recalled that she had difficulty locating the office and at one point she was almost hit by a car because her legs could not carry her fast enough to avoid it.

She said after waiting for the woman from 8 am to 10 am, the official arrived at the office and when she approached her and ask what she should do, she rudely told her that she should go upstairs where she found other parents waiting.

The grandmother said she waited for another hour and because she had promised her grandchildren to take snacks to the school she asked a man for a phone call to the school so she could tell them she was running late.

However, as she was about to enter the office the woman said that the official met her at the door and said she was "obstructing" her since she was dealing with a more important matter than hers.

"Now how she go tell me that dah more important dan me grandchild case. Me grandchild didn't go to school fo get he hand brake. She eyes pass me and me grandchild and if I had money deh wouldn't treat me like this."

She said she asked to leave the office and return on a later date, but the official told her if she did then she would have no time when she returned.

The grandmother said she eventually left informing the director that she would report her actions to the media and she would not return to her office because of the treatment she received.

The woman questioned what was taking the ministry so long to complete the investigating adding that they are "pussyfooting" and not dealing seriously with the incident.

"The ministry must tell me something, I am a Guyanese and I deserve to be treated properly. This is advantage on the poor people; if it was a rich person's child they woulda done investigate. Imagine me grandchild get beat at school and he hand break and nobody ent gat no time," the woman pointed out.

The frustrated woman noted that it is because of the actions of some of the authorities that some persons are forced to take action into their own hand.

Attempts by this newspaper to get a comment from the Ministry of Education yesterday proved futile.