Police had to be called in and are now conducting investigations into a series of fights at a St Lucy school which has led to the suspension of five female students, and the school board’s contemplation of other disciplinary action.
At the centre of the row are allegations of continual bullying.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, three Darryl Jordan Secondary School students –– one born in the United States, another from Jamaica and a third from Guyana –– complained they were being bullied because of their non-national status.
The main spokesperson for the group, who was born in New York to Barbadian parents and entered the school in September last year, said there had been a running feud between her friends and another group of students and it came to a head yesterday.
As her Jamaican classmate showed a patch at the top of her head and a handful of hair which she claimed was plucked from her head in the confrontation, the United States-born student alleged that “there are at least 20 students who continue to bully us”.
“They come after us all of the time even if we try to keep away from them,” she said.
The mother of the Guyanese student, while acknowledging that her daughter and her two friends, along with two others involved in the altercations were suspended, insisted that she had made several complaints about her child being the victim of bullying to no avail.
As a result, she said, her daughter –– who had several cuts about her body –– would not be returning to the school.
When contacted today, principal of the school, Stephen Jackman, said yesterday’s confrontation between the two groups of students was not the first, and their parents were well aware of the situation.
He told Barbados TODAY they were all brought to his office after they were involved in a dispute, but their disorderly behaviour continued even in his presence.
“The students were brought to my office and while I was investigating the matter one of the girls took up a paper weight and struck one of the other girls, and it led to a fight in the office. During my intervention and that of my deputy they continued to fight,” he said.
“All I can tell you is that while the police were on the compound investigating the first incident, the second incident occurred and the police took all of them to the police station; so it has become a police matter. Yesterday’s fight was not the first fight. Their parents were invited to the school, but the dispute continued on Facebook. After a similar fight on February 10, the parents were called in to help resolve the dispute. They were told that the matter would have to be referred to the board for disciplinary action.”
When contacted for a comment on the situation, police public relations officer Inspector David Welch confirmed that a police report had been made.
“A dispute occurred yesterday afternoon among a number of female students after school hours on the school grounds. The police were summoned and the students were taken to a police station where their parents were summoned. Police are continuing investigations,” he said.