Mother allegedly assaults teacher
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 02, 2013
Nearly two weeks after a Grand Bahama parent was sentenced to six months in prison for assaulting a principal, the mother of a special needs student at Anatol Rodgers High School in New Providence was arrested at the school yesterday for allegedly assaulting a teacher in a classroom.
Director of Education Lionel Sands said the alleged attack on the teacher took place around 2 p.m.
He was unable to say whether any students were present when the incident occurred.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the parent found the teacher in her classroom where she allegedly shoved her against a chalkboard.
The woman reportedly suffered a shoulder injury.
Sands confirmed the teacher, who has not been named, will press charges.
He said the Ministry of Education supports the teacher’s decision and has encouraged her to seek legal action.
The director said the school recently assessed the special needs student, a 17-year-old boy, and determined that he could not benefit from the school’s pre-vocational unit.
Sands said based on the school’s assessment, the ministry determined the Stapledon School would be able to better assist the teenager.
He said he believes the parent did not want her son to be transferred to another school, and after refusing to remove him confronted his teacher on the matter.
“The child should not have been at Anatol Rodgers, but the reason the child is at Anatol Rodgers is because the child attended Garvin Tynes [Primary School] as a primary school student,” Sands said.
“Normally when children leave Garvin Tynes they would enter Anatol Rodgers, and so that was the problem.
“The special services team recommended to us after the child had done the tests that he should be in another place.”
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald only recently expressed concerns about such incidents.
He said he was “totally disgusted” by the Grand Bahama matter.
Latoya Denise Williams, the mother who was arrested at Jack Hayward High School on September 17, had been permitted on campus to see the school’s principal, Yvonne Ward, about her daughter’s transcript.
While in the principal’s office, Williams struck Ward several times to the face, according to evidence presented in court.
Sands said the ministry is also disappointed by yesterday’s alleged attack, and is concerned about the message it could send to students.
“It’s disappointing when we have adults behaving in this manner, particularly in light of the fact that students are around, and students are seeing the actions of adults,” he said.
While the extent of the teacher’s injuries is unclear, police said the incident appeared to be “minor in nature”.
According to Sands, the ministry has requested security officers better screen people requesting permission to visit the school campuses.
“If they suspect any disruption we have asked that they do not allow these people on campus,” he said.
“Sometimes people come on the campus and don’t show any signs of intent to do anything that is disruptive.
“You’d have to be very keen to detect anything of a disruptive nature. It is a challenge because that behavior is simply not expected from a parent.”
Anatol Rodgers has over a dozen special needs students.
Sands said their disabilities are quite mild.