Mon | Dec 16, 2019

Outrage at teacher attacks - Parent arrested for assaulting staff at MoBay primary school

Published:Friday | November 22, 2019 | 12:16 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer


The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has expressed outrage at recent attacks against school administrators and teachers, urging parents and other stakeholders to use non-confrontational alternatives to settle disputes.

The alarm came hours after a mother was arrested and charged by the St James police yesterday after she allegedly attacked and injured a teacher on the compound of the Corinaldi Avenue Primary School in Montego Bay.

The accused parent is 29-year-old Jodi-Ann Dixon, a sales representative of Paradise, Norwood, also in the parish. She has been charged with assault and occasioning bodily harm. Dixon was granted station bail in the sum of $50,000 and is booked to appear in the St James Parish Court on January 15, 2020.

“I cannot at this time say whether the trend of parents assaulting teachers has increased or declined because I don’t have a recent figure, but what I can say is that the assault on teachers and other members of the education system by parents must stop,” said JTA President Owen Speid.

“There are systems and protocols in schools that deal with incidents such as these, where parents don’t have to resort to violence, and I am urging parents to take advantage of these systems, and resources, in order to avoid violent confrontation from taking place.”

Dixon is the second parent to be accused of teacher assault in Montego Bay in a week.

On November 17, another parent and her teenage son were implicated in an attack on a student who was reportedly in a fight with her daughter.

According to reports, after getting news that her daughter was involved in a fight with another student at the school, the mother and her son visited the institution. She reportedly behaved boisterously while her son attacked the child who had fought with his sister.

The police were called in and the boy was arrested and charged with assault and occasioning bodily harm. He appeared in the Montego Bay Family Court last Thursday and was granted bail. His parents were ordered to get legal representation for him and have him return to court on January 20, 2020.

In yesterday’s incident, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m., Dixon, who had just dropped off her child at school and left, was subsequently informed that the student got into a quarrel with another child.

Dixon was cautioned by a teacher about her conduct but ignored the warning. Another teacher pulled out a cellular phone and started recording her behaviour, which enraged the mother. She reportedly attacked the teacher and knocked the cell phone from her hand.

Dixon was taken into custody and taken to the Barnett Street Police Station, where she was arrested and charged.

“We are under siege from parents up here. When they come and behave badly, we cannot talk or they will physically attack us,” a disgruntled teacher told The Gleaner yesterday. “I try my best to avoid them because I don’t want anybody to kill me before time.”

The latest attack comes on the heels of an incident at Cornwall College last week. School principal Michael Ellis was forced to ditch his jacket after he was grabbed by an angry parent who demanded an explanation for her son’s 10-day suspension.