Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday described the latest anti-crime plans announced by the Government as plain “public relations”.
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Student injured in knife attack at Latapy Sec
Police are searching for a 15-year-old student who stabbed a classmate during a fight at the Russell Latapy Secondary School, Morvant, yesterday. The Form Three student from Rock City, Laventille, whose uncle is a well-known gang leader, had not been arrested up to late yesterday. Police believe that both the suspect and victim, also 15, from Pelican Extension, Morvant, are junior members of gangs in their communities.
The altercation that led to the stabbing, police said, had its roots in an ongoing feud between the two rival gangs of which the students are members. According to reports, around 11.45 am, during the school’s lunch hour, both students were walking in a corridor on one of the school blocks when they had an argument. Police said the suspect drew a knife and stabbed his classmate in his back.
Security guards on duty at the school’s Cipriani Street, Morvant, compound responded within minutes and approached the students to separate them. Upon seeing the guards, however, the suspect reportedly dropped the knife and ran away. The victim was taken to Morvant Health Centre where he was treated and discharged for the stab wound which investigators described as superficial.
Yesterday’s incident comes less than two days after two students of Presentation College, San Fernando, were injured during a stabbing attack at that school. In that incident, a 14-year-old student stabbed his 15-year-old classmate before inflicting several wounds on his own wrist, forearms and the side of his neck, in an apparent suicide attempt. The incident reportedly stemmed from an argument over bullying. Both students have since been discharged from hospital.
Contacted for comment yesterday, T&T Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA) president Devanand Sinanan said his organisation strongly condemned violence in school and was concerned by both incidents. He said the two recent incidents should serve as an impetus for education stakeholders to take meaningful action against violence in schools, as public furore over such incidents usually dissipate less than a week after it was reported by the media and the problem was forgotten.
He said teachers and school administrators should not be blamed, however, as they already spent a lot of time dealing with indiscipline and violence, which reduced the time left for teaching the academic syllabus. “Schools did not create these current problems, we are just forced to deal with them. We are trying our best,” Sinanan said.