Violent attack leaves school principal injured and kids traumatised – education bosses say assailant will be prosecuted

The incident occurred at the Mary E Pigott Primary School shortly after 9am Wednesday (Photo by Gemma Handy)
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By Gemma Handy

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An attack on a school principal yesterday morning in front of horrified students and staff has once again thrust concerns over safety at the nation’s schools into the spotlight.

Christopher Roberts, who has been the principal at Mary E Pigott Primary since 2015, was apparently grabbed from behind, knocked to the floor and beaten by a parent furious that his son had been suspended from the institution.

Roberts, who is also an Anglican minister, was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged. He is said to have fallen heavily on one arm which was hurt but not broken. 

Terrified teachers called 911 to alert police before the assailant left the scene on a motorbike.

One told Observer that Roberts had been “on the floor, with the man on top of him beating him”.

“It was scary because the reality is, this man could have killed our principal. You just come to school thinking you will have a normal day and just like that – 10 or 15 minutes after the bell rings –  that happens,” she explained.

“It was just a normal day, we were ready to start school, and the principal could have died right there on the compound.”

She said the attack lasted a few minutes before the parent “walked out like nothing happened”.

Several staff members told Observer there had been no security guards on duty all week at the school attended by almost 300 children.

Yesterday, union bosses condemned the violence.

“It is disheartening to hear that a parent would find it appropriate to attack a principal at a school because they are dissatisfied with something,” Teachers Union President Casroy Charles told Observer.

“We strive in an environment where we ask persons to use a level head despite the fact they are emotionally charged, and we also advocate that students as well as adults try and resolve issues without being violent.”

Charles said the union disassociated itself “from any act of violence perpetrated against any education official, whether a member of the union or a ministry official”.

“We are appealing to the powers that be that when such atrocities are instigated against the educational fraternity, they send a strong message that our schools are supposed to be safe havens and anyone who threatens their safety will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

Education officials along with a union representative attended the scene a short time after the attack.

Director of Education Clare Browne told Observer the ministry would ensure a formal report was made to police.

“The department intends to prosecute this matter. We have already sought legal counsel. We want to send an unequivocal message that we will not put up with this kind of conduct,” he said.

Browne continued that the incident had “left the whole school in disarray” and that a couple of children had been so traumatised from witnessing it they had suffered nose bleeds.

He said counsellors had been brought in to help console the youngsters.

“Some students thought their principal had died,” he added.

Police spokesman Inspector Frankie Thomas said, “The police are aware of the incident at the Mary E Pigott School and are currently carrying out investigations into the matter.”

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  1. Is it any wonder that the child was suspended from school? Children tend to mimic the behaviour of adults around them. And if the example set by the father is that you resort to violence, when you can’t have your way, can you expect anything different from the child?

    Truth is that some men, and women too, should be neutered to prevent them reproducing and bringing degenerates into society.


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