One of the students involved in Monday’s bullying incident at Presentation College, San Fernando, said yesterday he believed the stabbing was an over-reaction to an innocent prank. The incident, which developed when a Form Four student placed a cockroach in his schoolmate’s bag, ended in violence and both students had to be taken to the San Fernando General Hospital, with one of them being warded in a serious condition that required surgery.
Sitting with his father on his hospital bed yesterday, the 15-year-old student of South Oropouche, who cannot be identified due to his age, admitted to playing the practical joke. However, he said he expected a revenge prank in return not violence. “I am really concerned about why he did it,” the student said. “I don't really think it was the right reaction to what I did. I am kind of concerned about him, with what he did and his mental health. It was not anything too serious, I didn't think he would have taken it so far.”
He added: “On Monday he came up to me and the first thing he said was ‘I want to tell you something private.’ “I assumed it was some stupid revenge to the prank so I said ‘well ok,’ because I figured that was going to happen. He told me to close my eyes and put out my hands so I assumed he was going to put something stupid in my hands but then he stabbed me.” The student said he became afraid and overwhelmed when he was stabbed and someone took him to the principal’s office. A teacher took him to the hospital.
He said although he and the other student were not friends, they would speak to each other from time-to-time. With regard to his health, the student said there was no severe pain although he was stabbed in the back and chest, adding he was only waiting on an X-ray before the doctors gave the go-ahead to discharge him.
His father said his only concern was the physical health of the boys. The parent said he intended to meet with the Catholic Education Board, police and the other student’s parents. He said he had already spoken to the other students parents soon after the incident and their conversations were cordial.
Corporate communications manager at the Ministry of Education, Alicia Busby, yesterday said both students remained warded at hospital. She said the student who allegedly inflicted the injuries on his schoolmate also underwent surgery and was last reported to be in a stable condition. Busby said the ministry’s Student Support Services and the school’s chaplain, Monsignor Christian Pereira, concluded counselling sessions at the school yesterday.
Yesterday, students were also taken to mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral along Harris Promenade, where Father Joseph Jubrasingh made a special prayer for the injured students. Pereira said he counseled students to help them with methods of dealing with conflict. “I just asked them to learn how to take control of themselves, how to be appeased with themselves, how to deal with the pressures of life, the pressures of the society and how to integrate these pressures into their development as young men,” Pereira said.
According to police reports, two students were involved in an argument at the school basketball court on Monday, where the 14-year-old student accused the 15-year-old student of placing a cockroach in his schoolbag last Friday, knowing he has a phobia for the insect. The younger student allegedly had a blade and attacked the 15-year-old, cutting him on the right side of his back and chest. After seeing the blood, he became frightened and slit his own wrist, forearms and the side of his neck, police said.