A father who is facing a number of charges stemming from angry visits to Christ Church Foundation School and Deighton Griffith Secondary School, today received the support of Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Jones told reporters on the fringes of the launch of a sixth form programme at The Ellerslie School that the Ricardo Ameka Callender he knew was a level-headed man whose alleged behaviour at the two schools was out of character.
“I know that young man very well and I have never known him to be what he seemed to have demonstrated, so there had to be some catalyst that would have caused that. I think that some of our parents need guidance on how to handle conflict and to him that would have been a conflict. Leaders of schools have to be equipped to bring calm when a person comes hostile,” Jones said.
The 43-year-old Callender of Unity Lane, Gall Hill, Christ Church is charged with entering Foundation’s premises of November 16 and assaulting Deputy Principal Peter Roger Cox. He faces a similar charge of assaulting Deighton Griffith Secondary School teacher Anthony Alleyne at that school, and is also charged with failing to leave the schools’ compounds when directed to do so by Cox and Alleyne. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He is believed to have gone to both schools in defence of his son who was being bullied. A video had surfaced showing a number of schoolboys attacking Callender’s son.
Jones said school principals and teachers must learn to handle such situations without escalating the problem.
“If you come hostile there are ways and means of dealing with that but you don’t join hostility with hostility. You disarm hostility with calm and invite persons to sit and find out what it going on bearing in mind the incident [alleged attack on the student] took place off the school compound and both principals now had to find out what happened,” the minister stressed.
“Parents have a right to find out what happened to their child, bearing in mind that when a parent sends a child to school the school becomes the guardian of that child. So there must be answers given to parents where answers can be given,” he argued.
However, the minister was quick to point out that he was not blaming teachers and principals involved in this incident, as no one is able to predict what an angry person is capable of doing.
“Sometimes the appearance of a threat is more than enough and one might argue that something could get explosive. It is just like you at home and someone comes on your property and raises their voice. You do not know what would be their next step and then you are not trained to deal with these matters but the police is,” Jones stressed.
Oistins Magistrate Elwood Watts last week order prison officers to “take the shackles off” Callender after another magistrate had remanded him to Dodds in connection with the charges.
Despite objections from the police, Callender was released on $2,500 bail with one surety, and is to return to court on February 1, 2018.