Trinidad: Boy, 5, Force-Fed ‘Toilet’ Biscuits

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – A Longdenville mother has made a report to police after her son was allegedly bullied and force-fed a pack of biscuits dipped in a toilet at Edinburgh Government Primary School last week.

The 33-year-old single mother, who reached out to the Express earlier this week, said her five-year-old son was confronted by a group of older children during their lunch break on November 27.

The mother did not want to be identified by name because she fears her child may be further bullied or victimised.

The child, she alleged, was made to eat snacks off the floor by the group and later forced to eat contaminated biscuits.

The older children had dipped the biscuits in a toilet bowl and a drain and then brought them to her son, the mother said she was told.

“They were in the auditorium and the boy came across and told him to pick up some Skittles off the ground and eat them. They went in someone’s bag, got a bag of Shirley biscuits, dipped it in the toilet and in the drain and forced him to eat two biscuits. They made him eat it and then they went to tell the teachers,” claimed.

A stakeholder’s report made to the Ministry of Education, detailing the incident, was sent to the Express.

According to the mother, her son developed gastroenteritis in the days following the incident, and experienced vomiting, asthma, and had difficulty breathing.

The first-year pupil also had frequent asthma attacks and had to be treated at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope for his symptoms.

“He got sick on Wednesday evening, he was gasping for breath and vomiting with diarrhoea. I took him to the health centre, and they said that he had contracted gastro. I gave him some coconut water. On Friday I took him to Mt Hope hospital, and he was breathing short, and they kept him until they resolved the breathing,” she said.

The mother of four told the Express that her other two children attending the school had also been bullied before.

She said her son had been punched in the stomach and struck in the eye while at school.

School meeting

The mother said she was disappointed in the way the situation was handled by the school’s administration.

Following the incident, she said she had not been contacted by staff, but was told about the force-feeding by her eldest daughter who also attends the school.

In addition, she said parents of the alleged bullies had not been told by the school of what had been done to her child, until she insisted on a meeting.

“There are protocols and so on, they are supposed to call and say so and so happened. Nothing like that happened. The principal told me she was waiting for my daughter to come home and tell me. No parents of the children who forced him were contacted either. I went to the community police and they told me to wait for a call from the principal, which to this day I have not received,” she claimed.

On Thursday, the mother said she returned to the school to demand a meeting with parents and staff members on the issue. In a meeting between herself and staff members at the school (which was recorded and sent to the Express) she explained her frustration.

She said she asked that the other parents involved come to the school for a meeting.

“One parent came immediately. He said the school did not complain to them. We met with other parents who said they did not know, and they saw the child bring home lines and they did not know (why),” she said.

Seeking a solution to the issue, she also visited community police and filed a report on the incident.

A copy of the report receipt was also sent to the Express.

However, she said she was told by police that the matter ought to be investigated by the school.

Last Friday, she also visited the Ministry of Education’s Couva office where she spoke with a supervisor.

“(The supervisor) said the principal thought I would have been pleased with the meeting that was held on Thursday. She said if the matter was more serious than this, they would have dealt with it before school closed. She told me I had to wait until next term. I said ma’am this is a five-year-old child, this is not making any sense. I must wait for them to go over their bullying policies next term. So, my child is not important?” she said. “I did not receive any justice. I am considering legal action, but I do not know how to go about it,” she said.

She said she was concerned for the safety of her child and other children at the school.

The Express attempted numerous times yesterday to contact the school for a response but calls went unanswered.

The Express also contacted the Ministry of Education to ask if it was aware of the incident.

No immediate response was received.