Bullied, bloodied, put out of SJPP

Maria Bradshaw,

Added 02 November 2012

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A mother is questioning her daughter’s suspension from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP). Hazel Charles said her 18-year-old daughter, who was enrolled in the nursing programme at the school, was “viciously” attacked by the another student in a Swan Street store on October 1, which resulted in her receiving ten stitches to her head. And she charged that the student bullied her daughter because she had revealed that she was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Charles accused authorities at the SJPP of suspending her daughter indefinitely without interviewing her. “The principal . . . told me he had the school’s name to protect and that he had called around other institutions to find out how they would deal with a matter like this. He told me that she could apply next year, but depending on what came out of the case, she would not be allowed to do nursing, but she could sign up for plumbing or something like that,” said an upset Charles. It is understood the other student was also suspended. The mum added that her daughter had never been involved in any incident at the school since she began her course at the SJPP. Charles received a letter signed by principal Hector Belle. It noted that the fight had occurred while the student was wearing the uniform of the SJPP. It added: “The disturbance drew large crowds of persons, inclusive of the police and ambulance services. The action on your part has discredited the Nursing Auxillary class and the name of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. “The knowledge that you have committed the act, as reported to the police, in public, which forced the store to be closed, is of concern to us. We consider it unwise to entertain the presence of you at this time. “We await the outcome of the police case before considering accepting you back on our campus.” It is understood that the other student was also suspended.   Speaking about the incident, the suspended student said that it started after the other girl offered her a piece of pizza. “I took the pizza and she started telling me that I could not be a Seventh-Day Adventist because I was eating meat. After she started getting on I got up and went to the bathroom.” It was then the girl said that the other student started to send her several text messages on her phone cursing her and questioning her religion. One of the messages read: “That’s why I don’t understand wunnah. Wunnah sorta people want killing. Then you would say you is a Seventh-Day [Adventist].” The girl said she ignored the messages but that evening when she took a bus to The City she realised that the student was on the same bus. She said she waited until her colleague got off before getting off herself and going in the opposite direction. “I went into a store to buy something to use at school the next day for a project. When I turned the corner in the store I saw her and she bounced me. I pushed her off me and she took up a mug and started hitting me in my head with it.” Pointing to a huge scar on the right side of her daughter’s face, Charles said that her daughter was not the aggressor in the incident. “This has affected her very badly because she has always wanted to be a nurse. She is very depressed about it and I have to keep telling her that it is not the end of the world.” Charles added that she had reported the matter to the police but had heard nothing from them. An attorney has also written to the school asking that the 18-year-old be reinstated. “If my children were interfering children I would say ‘yes, she deserves it’. But my children are very quiet and my daughter is very focused on her religion. “My children went from primary to secondary school and never got into any trouble. I have always told them to walk away or run fast from a fight and I feel that the school should have investigated the matter,” said Charles, who has retained all of the text messages which were sent to her daughter from the other student. Several attempts were made to reach the principal who was said to be engaged in a meeting yesterday. However, when contacted, chairman of the SJPP board, Desmond Browne, said while he was aware of the incident, the board had not yet made a final decision.

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