Saturday 28 March, 2020

WATCH: Students involved in Pembroke Hall fight facing suspension

Two students of Pembroke Hall High School in St Andrew who were captured in a video hurling furniture at each other during a fight last week, are now facing the likelihood of suspension from the institution.

 

Vice-Chairman of the school board, Anthony Williams, explained in an interview that the principal of the institution has the authority to suspend "any student who in his opinion is deemed a threat to any student or teacher".

A meeting of the board is to be held this week to address the matter, Williams added.

In the 29-second video, a female teacher is seen trying desperately to stop the male and female student from fighting. The teacher is briefly successful in separating the two students, but the male teenager suddenly reaches for a stool and throws it at the female student.

The teacher has to hastily retreat from the classroom as the two students continue to hurl stools at each other while their peers cheer them on.

The altercation is said to have occurred last Tuesday.

In November of last year, Pembroke Hall High School was also at the centre of public attention after a viral video emerged with one of its teachers, Marsha Lee Crawford, hurling death threats repeatedly at a student who reportedly misbehaved and seemingly became even more agitated when mention was made of his mother by the teacher.

The teacher’s rant was widely condemned by many, but she also received support from sympathisers who commented on the difficulties some teachers in the public school system have in seeking to keep unruly students in line.

Crawford was sent on vacation leave, while the student in the dispute with her was pulled from the school by his parents, and enrolled in another institution.

The school’s disciplinary committee has since recommended that the teacher be allowed to keep her job.

With the latest video emerging of the altercation between the two students at Pembroke Hall High last week, several other videos of a similar nature began circulating on social media sites capturing instances of violent confrontations among students.

One video captured two students of Oracabessa High School in St Mary fighting on the roadway metres away from the institution. A passing police officer intervened and fired a warning shot for the boys to cease their violent encounter.

The police and the school administrators are now probing that incident, it is understood.

Additionally, there were other reports of violent attacks against educators at two institutions recently. Oracabessa High was again thrown into the spotlight after news emerged that a male student there hit a male dean of discipline to the face, resulting in the educator having to seek medical attention. The student was subsequently been arrested.

In St Catherine, a parent allegedly made several threats to a teacher at Gregory Park Primary School on Thursday. The parent had reportedly visited the school to address an altercation between his child and another student. The teacher reportedly intervened and the parent began threatening the teacher. The matter was subsequently reported to the police.

And last week Monday, a student at Eltham High School in St Catherine who was reportedly involved in a fight with another, is said to have summoned friends from outside the institution, who came armed with guns. The police have since launched an investigation into that incident.

In light of the violent attacks against the island's teachers, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has appealed to the Education Ministry to take steps to address the security issues being faced by educators.

Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Karl Samuda, has since described the incidents of violence in schools as being intolerable, and has promised severe consequences to those found to be involved.

Fencing and additional security personnel are to be provided to vulnerable schools, according to Samuda.

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