Comenius teacher admitted hitting child but not with 'heavy' object
Stabroek News
March 19, 2004

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A New Comenius Primary School teacher denied that she beat eight-year-old Joel Punch with a heavy object. Punch's arm was broken as a result of the incident.

According to a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey said the incident was reported to the ministry in October and a report sent to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) for disciplinary action.

The minister said following the report an investigation was carried out and it proved that the teacher admitted hitting the child on the arm, "but not with any heavy material as was previously reported. The teacher reported too that the child's arm was immediately swollen and that the parents were called in," the release said.

According to the release, Dr Jeffrey said that since the conclusion of the investigation the report was sent to the ministry's central welfare department since a TSC was not in place at the time, however, the report along with other similar reports would be sent to the TSC.

Jeffrey told GINA that the teacher broke the rule governing corporal punishment, emphasising that the manual governing discipline in schools should be followed.

Stabroek News had contacted the Chairman of the TSC Richard Mangar, and he had said that the commission would have launched an independent investigation since it was concerned with the lengthy delay of the conclusion of the ministry's investigation.

The TSC's board meeting was convened yesterday and Chief Education Officer (CEO), Ed Caesar was at the meeting. According to Mangar they are expected to receive the report by Monday. While not disclosing what actions would be taken, Mangar said disciplinary actions were likely.

Punch's grandmother, Doreen McPherson, had reported that the child's arm was broken last November by his class teacher when he chased one of his schoolmates around the schoolyard after she had taken his pencil. She had also complained that she had been given the royal runaround by the ministry.