Police are investigating a brutal attack on the principal of the Tunapuna (Simbhoonath Capildeo) Hindu Primary School by two men yesterday.
Up to press time, principal Jeewan Ramdhanie was being treated at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope for injuries he sustained in the attack, which happened in full view of all those who were still on the school compound at the time. The T&T Guardian was told the incident left teachers and students highly traumatised.
The school, which is run by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) board of management, is located at the corner of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and Pasea Main Road in Tunapuna.
According to a police report, at about 2.40 pm the principal was badly beaten by the two men. Moments before, the men told the security guard that they wanted to see the principal for a recommendation. However, the men proceeded to the principal’s office where they picked up a nearby baton, accosted Ramdhanie and dealt him a blow to his head with the baton. The men then left. The incident is believed to have been captured on security surveillance cameras on the compound and its footage will be handed over to investigating police officers.
Guardian Media understands that the incident may be linked to the suspension of a student.
Contacted yesterday, SDMS secretary-general Sat Maharaj described the attack as “frightening.”
“It is shocking that the people who are moulding the next generation they are being assaulted,” Maharaj said.
“Not just on our roads but on a teacher, a public servant, who is training our children. It is frightening! That is what this country has come too. We are a violent nation.”
Maharaj could not confirm the motive for the assault but expressed utter shock and disgust over the situation.
“I am only hearing that it could be linked to a suspension of a child but I am yet to get a full report because nobody knows why he was beaten,” Maharaj said.
Maharaj said he was last told that Ramdhanie received several stitches but said he had received a further update as to whether or not Ramdhanie was still at the hospital at the time.
Maharaj called for the intervention of the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association, adding schools should move to strengthen their security.
Minister of Education Anthony Garcia also strongly condemned the “despicable act of violence.”
“Such acts of indiscipline from adults to assault a principal on a school compound must be condemned in its strongest terms by society. Acts such as these must not be tolerated and adults are expected to behave in a more responsible manner and set the proper example for our nation’s children,” Garcia said in a release.
A team of officers from the Student Support Services Division of the ministry is expected to visit the school today to provide intervention and counselling for students. Officials of the Employee Assistance Programme will also visit to provide counselling to the teachers.
Officers of the Tunapuna Police Station are investigating.
Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat