St Margaret's teacher used corporal punishment on other children -probe
Caesar says will hold school's head accountable
Stabroek News
March 12, 2004

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The Ministry of Education has found that St Margaret's Primary School teacher Ann Adams inflicted corporal punishment on other pupils in her class besides six-year-old Anwar Hussain.

The ministry has said that a few teachers and pupils have attested to this. As a result, Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar has written a letter to the school's head teacher Ellis Crandon advising her to ensure that the Manual on Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools is used as a guide in the area of discipline in her school.

The same letter, dated March 2, reminded Crandon that she will be held accountable for the actions of her staff members.

The ministry had launched an investigation into an allegation made by the child's father, Dr Anwar Hussain that his son was beaten by the class teacher more than 20 times in less than two months. Crandon had initially told Stabroek News that there was no evidence to support the allegation of corporal punishment and that the teacher had denied inflicting any such punishment.

In the letter, Caesar stated that other issues relating to the non-marking of books, the unusual rearrangement of furniture and the presence of parents who, it is alleged, sat on the accommodation of pupils and were not helpful and stressed that such "issues you need to address urgently".

"I have been informed that, during last year, you repeatedly advised teachers not to `flog' children. Such was indeed commendable, though not fully effective," Caesar said in the letter.

The letter said teachers ought to be given written reminders on sensitive issues and each teacher must sign such reminders. In addition, it said, the findings clearly pointed to a need for better supervision at the school level by the members of the administrative staff. "Clear lines of communication also need to be established."

Crandon was further advised that as head teacher she needed to make every effort to address issues in a timely manner.

The letter also pointed out that the Anwar Hussain issue should have been addressed much earlier.

It suggested that the parent could have been written to and invited for a discussion on his concerns.

"I am stating this notwithstanding my disappointment about the manner in which Dr Hussain addressed the matter," the letter said.

Crandon was told to examine carefully the school-management systems and determine their effectiveness.

When contacted yesterday, Dr Hussain said his child was still being targeted and that up to yesterday he was removed from his original seat by the teacher.

He said that he hoped the Teaching Service Commis-sion takes cognisance of the findings of the minister. The letter written to Crandon was copied to the commission.

Dr Hussain said as of yesterday the headmistress posted a notice on the board informing parents not to enter the classrooms without her permission. However, he said he saw parents in the classroom when he went to his son's school at midday yesterday.