By Shermain Bique-Charles
Education officials stepped in on Tuesday to resolve a matter that saw a physical fight between schoolchildren on Monday, captured on a video that went locally viral.
In a statement to the press late Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Education said, contrary to reports, the squabble was not a case of bullying, but a fight over a pen.
They also confirmed that the incident took place at Golden Grove Primary School on Monday.
“The matter has since been resolved after parents of both pupils were summoned on Tuesday morning to the school for a meeting that was convened by the education officer with responsibility for Golden Grove Primary School,” the report said.
“A report on the incident is to be compiled by the school’s principal and submitted to the Director of Education, Mr Clare Browne for review.”
Director of Education Clare Browne had previously told Observer that an investigation had been launched into the matter.
Browne also confirmed that he saw the video but confessed that he did not scrutinise it or view it in its entirety, for fear that he could prejudice any disciplinary action emanating from the matter.
In the video, which was widely circulated across various social media platforms, a boy is seen punching a female student multiple times about her body. She fires back intermittently, eventually bursting into tears and giving in to the young man, while fellow students looking on cheer.
The Ministry of Education would normally allow school principals to address such matters in the first instance, but because the video went viral, Browne said he instructed the education officer to immediately go to the school to investigate the matter.
“The education officer spent the entire day at the said institution investigating the matter and other things,” Browne disclosed.
If there are any such situations at schools, Browne explained that the principal would initially launch an investigation and then determine what disciplinary actions should be taken.
“Once this action is taken, a letter would be sent to the Director of Education giving the details of the incident and the action taken,” Browne said.
If necessary, the Ministry of Education can intervene for additional action, according to Browne.
He clarified that principals are at liberty to administer corporal punishment and suspension for up to 10 consecutive school days, which are considered as last resort measures, according to the Education Act 2008.
The ministry can overturn any decision made by the principal by law.