Thursday, January 18, 2018

Runaways back at St Michael’s home

THREE youngsters who last week ran away from St Michael’s School for Boys, in Diego Martin, where they claimed they were being abused, have been returned to the institution pending an investigation.

The boys’ return was confirmed yesterday by Anglican Bishop Claude Berkeley, who said their claims were being investigated by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

The school falls under the authority of the Anglican Church.

Three boys, aged 11 to 13, last week Tuesday night ran away from the school and went to the home of an 18-year-old friend, claiming they were being beaten and harshly punished by some staff members and teachers.

The children, who visited Express House on Independence Square, Port of Spain, to tell their story the next day, were eventually returned to the home by the friend, with one boy being sent to Youth Training Centre (YTC) in Arouca until earlier this week.

The school has also been under scrutiny since the death on April 8 of 12-year-old Brandon Hargreaves, who sustained a fatal blow to the head after falling while playing.

An investigation into that incident is ongoing.

The three boys told the Express they had been sent to the school by their families. 

One youngster said he had been told by his mother that he was badly behaved and she had been instructed by his step-father to leave him at the school.

That child also showed faded marks on his back that he claimed had been inflicted during a beating at the school, also for “behaving badly”.

The boys, who were polite in speaking to the Express and all said “thank you” at the end of the interview, had expressed fear that they would be severely punished for running away and for speaking up about the alleged abuse, should they be returned to St Michael’s.

Berkeley said in a telephone interview yesterday the school’s board is also conducting its own enquiries into the claims of abuse made by the three boys and is expected to produce a report in due course.