Garcia casts doubt on report of 11-year-old assaulting teachers at Santa Rita school

Education Minister Anthony Garcia has expressed doubt over allegations of an 11-year-old pupil at the Santa Rita RC Primary School assaulting pupils and teachers at the school.

Parents of children attending the school staged a protest on Monday, claiming that the 11-year-old was holding the school at siege, and had physically attacked both teachers and pupils in recent months.

Parents also claimed the boy was entering the girls' washroom and harassing female pupils. 

The child in question was reportedly transferred from another school recently after issues at that school.

Questioned about the matter during a visit to the Mayaro Secondary School, Garcia cast doubt over the claims.

"I do not think we should go overboard. I cannot see a primary school student beating teachers. I cannot see a primary school person sexually abusing other persons. I cannot see that," he said.

Garcia said the Ministry is, however, aware of the situation and the boy is receiving counselling and guidance from the Ministry's Student Support Services Division (SSSD).

Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan said removing the pupil from the school would only be done under recommendation from the SSSD and no such recommendation has been made.

He said there has been a recommendation for an aide to work with the pupil full time. 

Asked if he would be visiting the school to further assess the situation, Garcia said the Ministry is leaving the matter up to the competent professionals at the SSSD to handle. 

"We cannot go to every school where there is a problem," he said. 

"I cannot be expected to go to every school in an attempt to out every fire."

Garcia was at the Mayaro Secondary School yesterday to speak with officials there about an incident involving a group of girls at the school. 

A video showing the girls involved in a fracas circulated on social media, in which one pupil was seen being beaten into unconsciousness. 

Four of the girls involved, including the pupil who was beaten, has since been suspended.