Officer who struck fighting students ‘was performing his duty’


Lionel Sands


Tribune Staff Reporter


DIRECTOR of Education Lionel Sands yesterday said the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is “not concerned” about the attempts of a police officer to resolve a fight between two public school students by striking them with his nightstick.

The incident was captured on cell phone video.

Mr Sands said the position taken by the ministry was due to the view by officials that “the police (officer) was performing his duty and people were trying to disrupt that.”

Mr Sands added that the ministry “does not condone students fighting in the first instance,” whether on or off campus.

Attempts to get an official response from senior Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officials on the officer’s actions were unsuccessful. However, one senior officer told The Tribune that he was looking into the matter.

Mr Sands’ comments were in reference to a cell phone video circulating on social media showing two schoolgirls, both of whom The Tribune understands attend the Doris Johnson High School, fighting off campus.

In an attempt to stop the fight, what appears to be a police officer wearing a khaki uniform could be seen running over to the two girls, audibly calling for them to stop fighting. A third female student could be seen in the video running towards the first two girls, but she exits the video frame after seemingly receiving a stroke from the officer’s night stick.

The two girls continue their tussle in the background towards a chain-link fence, which is where the officer continues to admonish the two to cease their fighting. However, he struggles to get the two students to comply, as they continue fighting in earnest despite his commands.

Then, using his body as a divider, he presses himself between the two before using his free hand to strike one of the students with his nightstick.

That action drew a frenzied response from onlookers, who asked why the officer was hitting one of the girls. At one point, a male student tried to get the officer to stop by grabbing onto the officer’s arm, but the officer kicked him away.

The officer then struck one of the students again on the mid-to-lower body with his nightstick. Two other female students then attempted to get him to stop, but he swings his nightstick and glares at them before asking sternly: “What happen to y’all?”

Towards the end of the video, as the fight between the two girls shifts towards the ground, the officer is seen using his feet to try and separate the two, before standing completely over one and yelling: “Stop! What happened to y’all? Get up!”

“No we’re not concerned because the police officer was doing his duty,” Mr Sands said when contacted for comment. “The police was performing his duty and people were trying to disrupt that. We don’t condone students fighting in the first instance, and they shouldn’t have been.”

Last year, a 16-year-old male student of Doris Johnson was stabbed multiple times and killed during an argument with several other school students shortly after school was dismissed early because of exams. The victim died a short time later in hospital.

That murder, which took place less than a mile from the school’s campus, capped a year of numerous documented fights in several schools in both New Providence and Grand Bahama.

At the height of the high school brawls last year, Mr Sands told The Tribune that the fights were the result of “poorly socialised” high school students, adding that there is “very little” the Ministry of Education can do to prevent such incidences from occurring.

At the time, Mr Sands called the brawls a “vexing” issue for the ministry and high school educators, adding that it is difficult to get to the root of the cause of the fights, as he said most, if not all of the brawls took place after school hours.

However, he stressed that the fights are not incidents that are “perpetuated” by the respective schools.

“For the most part our kids are not socialised,” he said at the time. “They are poorly socialised, and that has to happen in the first instance in the home where they become socialised, and understand that they have a responsibility to themselves and a responsibility to everybody else, so that they would act in a certain way.

“But that is taught at home first. And once it is taught at home it is supplemented by what is taught at school. We don’t have that unfortunately…and so the job of teaching becomes more and more difficult, because in order for the job to be effective, the kids must come to the classroom in the first instance socialised.”


My2cents 6 years, 11 months ago

He needs to address repercussions for the students who attempted to interfere with the officer, while making no effort to stop the fight, at least three of them did. If this goes unpunished, students will truly have no fear of the law.


DreamerX 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly. We have become quick to point out failings of officer's performing their duty while becoming irate when officers are performing their duties on us or people we know.

I rather officers bruise up and disabuse all underage belligerents (especially in school uniform on or off campus) than to know another student was killed in a fight.


Victor 6 years, 11 months ago

Three cheers for the officer for doing his job. Shame on the parents and students involved and double shame on those who are complaining after the fact because the policeman had to intervene after his commends were not obeyed. What, should he have just sat back and let them fight?


John 6 years, 11 months ago

For the sake of clarity it was not a night stick that the officer used to attempt to separate the fighting students. It was his cane and as you may know, this cane is his symbol of authority. The young man who attempted to take the cane from the officer was ways out of order. He should be identified and disciplined if only by the school. Students should be taught to respect authority and stay neutral if not assist them. The saddest part is that despite how the fight intensified to the point of the two girls falling on the ground and rolling over in the dirt, like two stray cats, no one except the police attempted to stop them. No one came to his assistance and the young man who attempted to disarm him of his cane should be dealt with.


B_I_D___ 6 years, 11 months ago

They are quite happy to video and cheeer things on though!! Sad


bahamiangoddedd 6 years, 11 months ago

That is Sand's opinion, if this matter is pursued before the courts, only them can make that determination.


viewersmatters 6 years, 11 months ago

Disappointing that none of those students would be fine nor charge hopefully their parents and school board take necessary actions, it's highly a very big disgrace that students have no fear of the authorities, after seeing an OFFICER they refuse to seize their disorderly behavior next time I hope the officer handcuff these want to be ganster kids and give them the old 1980's cut ass and order of discipline.


licks2 6 years, 11 months ago

I cant believe this "sheeple" like thinking going on here! Not a one here considered the rights of children. . .the established response protocols for police dealing with them. . .children protection Act for the Bahamas and other international accords?

No wonder yall governments can "run da hell" over yinna so. . .give yall country away ta every tom dick and harry and yinna just don't see how they treating yinna!

The PC just ruled that yinna must be out of yall minds when it came to dealing with a teen charged with murder. . .violating all the boy rights. . .local and international! The world did not considered whether the lil boy killed a whole man. . .BUT THEY LOOKED AT HOW WE GONE ABOUT DEALING WITH THE CASE. . .WALKING ALL OVER THE CHILD RIGHTS! Now a teen murderer is out walking the streets again. . .where he is more likely to kill again. . .JUST BECAUSE THE AUTHORITY "FIXED" THE RUDE BOY BUSINESS FOR HIM. . .LIKE THTEY SHOULD. . .ACCORDING TO ALL YOU ABOVE!

I hope yall keep that same tune when they "authority" violate your rights and act as they feel. . .contrary to established guidelines and protocols!


sheeprunner12 6 years, 11 months ago

There are clear guidelines for students fighting while in school uniform ........ enforce them!!

There are clear regulations in the Penal Code for disorderly conduct/assault ....... enforce them!!


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