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Jail time appropriate for principal assault

Published: Sep 20, 2013

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In Grand Bahama yesterday Latoya Denise Williams, 34, the mother who assaulted the principal of Jack Hayward High School on Tuesday, was sentenced to six months in Her Majesty’s Prisons.

Williams faces another six months if she fails to come up with the $884 the court ordered her to pay principal Yvonne Ward to compensate her for her broken eyeglasses, and in punitive damages.

The assault occurred in the principal’s office. Williams is the mother of a 2013 graduate who is now 18 years old. Williams was allowed on campus to see officials about her daughter’s transcript. Ward reported the matter to police at 2:38 p.m. on Tuesday.

Williams admitted to causing harm to Ward, disorderly behavior, causing damage to the principal’s eyeglasses and resisting arrest when she appeared before Magistrate Debbye Ferguson.

The principal had a swollen left eye and a bruised left arm after the assault, the court heard.

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said on Wednesday that he was “alarmed” and “totally disgusted” on learning of the attack Ward.

“Upon receiving that report, I made contact with the Minister of State for National Security (Keith Bell) and made it clear to him that it is my desire as minister to ensure that the full weight of the court and the police system is brought to bear to ensure that this matter is expedited before the court and that swift justice takes place with this matter,” he said.

Williams deserves time in prison. All right-thinking Bahamians were totally disgusted upon hearing of the assault. It is totally unacceptable to come into a school and commit a violent act against a staff member who is doing her job. Such behavior sends the wrong example to our young people at a time in our nation’s history when violence is too prevalent.

We hope the prison time given to Williams serves as a deterrent to other ill-mannered individuals who would consider attacking education professionals on school campuses. We must learn to resolve disputes with logic and not violence simply because we are upset.

Assaulting the principal did not result in Williams getting what she wanted. Instead, she is in prison and has to find money she may not have in order to avoid even more time behind bars. A bad decision has been met with a painful sanction that is deserved.


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