EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE investigation into a video of an Abaco physical education teacher beating six students has determined the teacher in question “did not act with proper authority”, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd said yesterday.
The investigation is finished Mr Lloyd told The Tribune, adding the decision of what disciplinary action the teacher will face is in the hands of the director of education.
When contacted yesterday, Education Director Marcellus Taylor told The Tribune he is awaiting advice from the Office of the Attorney General.
The incident garnered national attention after the video in question went viral on social media in late March.
On April 4, The Tribune reported that a district report detailing the circumstances behind the video was submitted to education officials.
When asked about the outcome of that report, Mr Lloyd said: “The report was sent, decision was taken that the teacher in question was placed on administrative leave until the decision, rather an investigation was completed.
“The investigation was completed and it was found that the teacher did not act with proper authority because if you look at the schools’ regulations, any corporal punishment is administered by a senior administrative officer — vice principal, senior mistress, master or the principal — in the presence of another, very important. And of course, this teacher was not,” Mr Lloyd continued.
“So that was addressed in that respect and a decision by the director is being made as to what disciplinary action is to follow, whether it’s a reprimand or some other form of discipline.
“We feel that the teacher understood that there was an infraction in terms of the application of that action and expressed obviously whatever regret [and] submitted herself to whatever disciplinary action should befall her.”
Mr Lloyd could not say when the investigation was completed or whether the teacher is still on administrative leave. When asked when the disciplinary action will be finalised, he replied: “Now that the report is in our possession and school is back in, the director will take whatever action is necessary.”
When contacted, Mr Taylor simply said he is awaiting the advice of the Office of the Attorney General.
Attorney General Carl Bethel yesterday told The Tribune the matter is under review at the Department of Public Prosecutions. The director of that department did not respond to The Tribune up to press time.
The video at the centre of this controversy opens with the teacher handing over the device used to record the ordeal to an unidentified person.
After she ensured the device was on and recording, the teacher called over the first student.
As that student walked into frame, he is heard telling the teacher that he was not involved in whatever happened before the video.
Despite his pleas, the teacher directed him to walk over to a nearby wall and place his hands on it.
“You were in the room, right?” she told the young man. “Hands on the wall.”
In total six students — all boys — were beaten.
In March 2018, following a similar incident, Mr Lloyd told The Tribune that under his leadership, education officials would revise school policies on corporal punishment, insisting modern research shows it to be an ineffective way of disciplining children.
In that interview, he insisted that children should only be beaten in schools if all other options have been exhausted and in the most egregious of circumstances.
A 2017 Inter-American Development Bank report ranked the Bahamas high among countries in the Caribbean that have tolerance or understanding for hitting women or correcting children with physical punishment.