Teachers face music for beating children
Both transferred, one suspended
Stabroek News
May 25, 2004

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The Teaching Service Com-mission (TSC) has taken disciplinary action against two city primary school teachers found to have beaten two students, one of whom suffered a broken arm.

Stabroek News understands that Ann Adams, a teacher at St Margaret's Primary on Camp Street and Simone Ghent of the New Comenius Primary in Anira Street, Queenstown have both been transferred as result of the incidents.

According to reports, both teachers have been transferred to schools in Region Three, where they live.

Adams has been debarred from being promoted for one year while Ghent will be suspended for one year, according to reports.

Both teachers have been informed through letters and they will be transferred from the start of the new school year. This newspaper understands that Adams plans to appeal the decision to the Guyana Teachers' Union.

Ghent beat Joel Punch with a piece of a broken chair and broke his arm some time in November. His grandmother, Doreen McPherson had told this newspaper that even though the child's cast was removed he has difficulty in using the hand.

The child's beating stemmed from him chasing a classmate to retrieve his pencil.

Contacted yesterday, McPherson told Stabroek News that she was called before the commission to testify. According to her, the teacher was present and she was represented on the disciplinary committee of the TSC by George Gilgeous, Assistant Chief Education Officer, Georgetown.

The woman said the teacher told Gilgeous she had been given permission to beat the child.

"I had to tell them that I give she permission to spank him when he behave bad but I ent tell she to break he hand, he gat parents and I had to leh dem know..." the woman said yesterday. She said she was asked about several alleged discrepancies in her statement given to the ministry but she pointed out that the fact remains that her grandson's arm was broken and she has the medical papers to prove it.

The grandmother said the TSC promised to give her $5,000 as reimbursement for all the running around she did to get treatment.

She feels satisfied by the outcome, even though she only learnt of it when this newspaper contacted her. The woman said if she had not followed the matter up, then the teacher might have done it to another child.

The teacher had admitted beating the child, according to Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey, but had denied beating him with a heavy object and breaking his arm.

Meanwhile, Adams had flogged Anwar Hussain, son of Dr Anwar Hussain, on a number of occasions causing the child's father to file a complaint with the school.

After Dr Hussain had made the matter public, he had reported that Adams had then victimised his son by not marking his school work, removing him from his regular seat and not allowing him to visit the bathroom.

When Stabroek News had first reported the matter, this newspaper had spoken to that school's head teacher, Ellis Crandon who had denied Dr Hussain's claims adding that the teacher was well-respected with long years of service. The head teacher had also stated that her policy at the school was that no child should be beaten even if the parent gave permission.

The policy in Guyana is that teachers should not flog students. This should be done by the head teacher or by a teacher designated by her.

At the last meeting of the Convention of the Rights of Children, the United Nations said Guyana should expressly prohibit corporal punishment by law in the family, schools and other institutions.