Mothers of bullied children say Gov’t lacks capability to tackle school violence

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Two mothers whose children were bullied in school over the past two months say the Ministry of Education is failing to provide much-needed counselling to the students involved.

Rosanna Mohamed of Port Mourant whose 15-year-old daughter was beaten and stripped of her hijab at Tagore Memorial secondary school in October told the News Room that said since the incident, her daughter has not been attending school on a regular basis.

The woman said she believes both her daughter and the other student involved are in need of urgent counselling but the Ministry’s Welfare Department is incapable of providing the level of help needed.

“The school’s welfare, they cannot do a proper job. They’re just covering up and keeping the matter there. If the professional people come in, they can be able to help these children [and] see what cause this type of behaviour but the children they are going to finish high school and the behaviour will still be there,” she told the News Room at the sidelines of a press conference at the Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday.

Mohamed said she contacted the school, the Welfare Department and the Police but has seen no justice.

The woman, who is also a Nursery School Teacher, said in most instances, the Welfare Department takes too long to respond to issues.

Because of her frustration, Mohamed turned her support to a new political party, Change Guyana and made an endorsement speech at the party’s weekly press conference.

She believes that if elected to office, the party will be able to curb violence in schools.

The mother of two is also using the platform to raise awareness on the matter and called for urgent action.

“The school system needs to be revised to be better equipped to face the daily challenges our young people are facing today. Policies must be put in places to act as checks and balances so that there can be early detection of violence and bullying in schools,” she said in her statement at the press conference.

Meanwhile, Fazia Khan, the mother of 6-year-old Fawaz Asgar whose hand was slashed with a piece of broken glass at the Mon Repos Primary School on the East Coast of Demerara, also raised similar concerns at the press conference.

“I haven’t gotten any words from the teachers as yet. They had promised that they would call me and check on my child and they haven’t done anything as yet. He is acting out…he’s getting aggressive because he’s saying he’s out of school and the child who cut his hand is in school,” the mother told the News Room.

“No one has come forward to offer counsel for my child or me,” she added.

Khan is not joining Change Guyana but says she was there to show support to Mohamed.

Khan said her son has been unable to attend school for three weeks as a result of the injuries sustained to his hand.

The incident occurred on November 13, 2019, and the News Room understands that the child received several stitches.

Khan told the News Room that when she tried to get the matter addressed, she was given the opportunity to transfer the child to the Lusignan Primary School.

“Is that the way to get rid of a parent when their child is a victim?”

The mother said the incident occurred at an old house located in the school’s compound and though the school has promised to remove the house, it is still there.

The News Room had reported on another incident at the Mon Repos Primary School which left an 8-year-old student hospitalized. 

The child’s mother had told the News Room that the school was also trying to cover up that matter.

Another incident was publicized where a male student was seen beating a female student at the Richard Ishmael Secondary School recently.

Education Minister, Nicolette Henry then asked the student to apologise raising additional concerns about the Ministry’s inability to deal with violence in schools.

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