Boy battered at Yallahs High
A 13-year-old male student of the St Thomas-based Yallahs High School had to seek medical treatment last week after he was savagely beaten by a group of four girls in an incident caught on camera.
Now the parents of the boy have turned to the police as they seek justice for their child, as he tries to recover from physical and emotional scars.
The boy's stepmother, Patrice Sinclair, said the child had to seek medical treatment and she believes his attackers need to be taught a lesson.
Sinclair said the boy has not been back to the school since the day of the beating and missed several of his end-of-year exams. He has also expressed a desire to move to another school.
"He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for bruises and given painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. He has been withdrawn since," said Sinclair.
"We didn't bother to make him go to school today (last Thursday), because he said he don't want to go; he just doesn't want to go back to the school.
"They are going to be disciplined because I am not going to let it lie," said Sinclair.
NOT FIRST RUN-IN
"These girls need to leave the school and be put in some sort of institution that can bring some sort of discipline to them," added Sinclair, following claims that this is not the first time these girls have ganged one of their schoolmates.
The girls - three 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old - were seen laughing and having a fun time as they punched, stomped, boxed and kicked the 13-year-old schoolboy, even as he desperately tried to escape their merciless beating.
In a 55-second video obtained by The Sunday Gleaner, other students were seen looking on inside a classroom as the incident took place.
According to school sources, the boy was walking through a classroom doorway when one of the girls pulled him back, resulting in his drink spilling on another girl's uniform.
The sources say the boy continued to his seat when two girls approached him, with one using the wet uniform to wipe his face. He reportedly pushed the girl away and that is when he was set upon by the four girls and beaten.
The school resource officer at the 48-year-old institution, Cpl Ceceile Downer, is fully backing Sinclair's stance that action should be taken against these girls.
"Even before the parents came and I saw the video, I said, 'No, no, no. I want to lock up somebody'," Downer told The Sunday Gleaner. How can they do the little boy like that?"
Added Downer: "But it is up to the parents, because a statement is a voluntary thing. If the parents say they don't want to give me a statement, I can't force them. An offence is committed against the State, not me. If the boy's parents don't want to press charges, I can't force them, even though I would love to."
She said while the four girls have had run-ins with school administrators in the past, she would not characterise them as a gang.
"They are not a gang. I am sure about that; I know what a gang is. I am not saying we don't have gangs in the school, but these girls are not in a gang," said Downer.
Acting principal Patricia Bailey agreed that the girls were not gangsters, despite being troublemakers.
"They give trouble at school, but I wouldn't say that they are a gang. They are just a group of disturbed students - really way out," said Bailey.
She added she would consider asking just one of the four girls to find another school.
Downer said every attempt will be made to improve the behaviour of the four girls before the commencement of the next academic year.
"If they respond to our intervention, we don't have to move them, and this intervention has to take in the parents. ... If we have to do it through the summer holidays, then we have to."