A Guayaguayare mother wants Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to find out why his officers have failed to charge a student who slashed her daughter’s face, leaving her with partial facial paralysis.
It has been five months since 15-year-old Terresse Acosta was attacked at the Guayaguayare Secondary School by female students, one of whom cut her across her face with a razor blade. After a report was made to the police in June, the injured girl’s mother, Marianna Acosta, said an officer told her that if he laid a charge against the alleged assailant, he would also have to charge Terresse for fighting.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the incident was investigated and the aggressor was suspended but Acosta said the action was not enough. She said Terresse continues to receive threats from schoolmates who have warned her that her life will worsen if she returns to school. She has undergone regular counselling to cope with the trauma.
Since the incident, Terresse has not returned to school and is missing out on her first term in Form Three. She currently attends a clinic at the San Fernando General Hospital following surgery in June to reattach severed nerves in her face. Last Thursday, she was advised to get therapy to try to restore movement to her face.
“She has not gone to school since and the bullies are still threatening her, still calling her names. They’re sending messages to her, that if she comes back to school, what they will do to her. The police have not done anything but I want to go back to the police station tomorrow. I heard they moved the police officer who was in charge of her case and they put another officer,” Acosta said.
“Next week, I want to go to the Police Complaints Authority if the police do not give me any good feedback,” she said.
Acosta has tried unsuccessfully to get her daughter transferredto schools in Mayaro, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro and Tableland. She said a school supervisor told her to let Terresse return to the Guayaguayare school, using the analogy that even when a worker is injured on a worksite, he or she has to return to the same worksite when recovered. However, she said, because of the trauma and the unhealthy environment at the school, Terresse will not be able to focus on her studies.
Acosta is calling on the Ministry of Education to assist in finding a new school for her daughter.
At around 10 am on June 6, during Social Studies class, a teacher ordered Terresse Acosta to stand in the corridor. While she was there, another student accosted her. The teacher saw the incident and ordered the student to go to the principal’s office. However, two also appraoched Acosta and there was an exchange of words during which the teen was cut on her face with a razor blade.
Terresse was taken to the Guayaguayare Health Centre by ambulance and then transferred to the Mayaro District Health Facility. She received 16 stitches and was referred to the San Fernando General Hospital.
A School Supervisor III later submitted a report to the Ministry of Education which indicated that the principal had suspended the student. The matter was referred to the police.
“I can’t say anything with regards to that,” Education Minister Anthony Garcia said when he was approached for comment yesterday.
Story by KEVON FELMINE
Image by RISHI RAGOONATH
Image caption: In this June 2019 file photo Marianna Acosta shows the scare on her daughter Terreese’s face, which happened when she cut with a razor blade by a student at the Guayaguayare Secondary School.