The alleged physical assault of a student by a teacher at St Leonard’s Boys’ School which left the boy blinded in one eye, is in the early stages of investigation by the Ministry of Education and the police five months later.
The boy’s mother, Kathy Richards, said she provided officers with a formal statement, and intends to press charges against the female teacher.
Richards told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the incident had occurred on May 10 but claimed she was getting the runaround by the school and police.
“My son got slapped in his face ever since May 10 and is now blind in one eye – his left eye – and the police still has not charged her [the teacher] up to now although I told them I am pressing charges. I got all of my bills and receipts for the money I have been spending on my son. They [the doctor] said the surgery for his eye will cost $7,000 and every time we go to the doctor we got to get drops that cost $40 and I have to pull my pocket,” she said, adding that the teacher has not given her one cent to help with the medical bills.
Noting that her son was on his fourth bottle of eye drops, the upset mother suggested that “the teacher is supposed to be paying”.
She said that if her son had assaulted a teacher, he would not only have been suspended, but would have been charged long time ago.
She also expressed concern that the teacher in question was still on the job.
Claiming she had not been receiving any meaningful responses from the police and school principal as to why the teacher has not been charged, she turned up at the Ministry today to see if she could get any better answers.
An education officer informed her that he would have to look for a letter which the school was to have sent to the Ministry and get back to her.
It was then she disclosed her story to Barbados TODAY.
When Barbados TODAY reached out to principal of St Leonards Boys’ Joseph Maynard this afternoon, he rejected claims that the school was dragging its feet on the case.
“What I can say is that we are not giving her the runaround, you know, as you would realize that as principal [I cannot] comment on a matter like this because the matter is being dealt with at a higher level,” said Maynard.
Asked what he meant by a higher level he responded: “It is being dealt with at . . . the Ministry . . . . Any queries in relation to that would have to be [to] the Ministry [which] would have to give a response specifically, but certainly [it is] not a question of dragging one’s feet on the matter as the parent is suggesting,” he said.
Questioned further about whether he had already sent a written report to the Ministry, the principal said: “The whole matter has been . . . yes, sent off to the Ministry. The matter has been referred.”
When contacted, a senior police officer at the Black Rock Station, where the mother made her statement, said while the case was not fresh in his mind, he would update himself on the matter by checking the files before making an informed comment.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education was unavailable for comment. firstname.lastname@example.org