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Jun 9, 2017

A Child’s Mischief; a Teacher’s Frustration; a Mother’s Outrage in San Pablo

Corporal punishment was outlawed in Belizean schools in 2013, despite much complaint from the teaching corps. Previously, it was only the province of the principal or designated teacher to spank or corporally discipline an errant youngster. Teachers have since been trained to spare the rod, though not to spoil the child. But News Five has learned of a case where a teacher in the Orange Walk District took the law into her own hands – and forced the child’s parent to do the same, with tragic consequences all around. An outraged mother went after her child’s teacher on the school compound in San Pablo village in full view of students and teachers on Thursday afternoon, and now faces criminal charges. But she insists that while what she did was not right, it was necessary. Aaron Humes visited the village today and has both sides of the story.


Voice of: Thais Cowo, Mother of Injured Child

“Yeah, I took her from her head, because I told her I am not going to let this pass again, because Ministry of Education doesn’t do nothing; police not even do nothing; people no talk. They have parents [where] they do things to their children and they close their mouth. I noh close my mouth; this is my child and I have to look [out] for him. And I told him, I am not going to let it pass again. I got vex yesterday and I did what I did and I do not regret what I did, because this is my child.”


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Thais Cowo, a young mother of three from San Pablo, Orange Walk District, says she was driven past her limit at Thursday lunchtime after her eight-year-old son came home and related a tale of unthinkable violence visited on him at the San Pablo Government School by his own teacher – and, she told us, it has happened before. Both incidents and Thais’ response is now under investigation by both police and educational authorities.


Voice of: Thais Cowo

“He told me that he was drinking water and the teacher came and [shoved] the water bottle in his mouth, cause he was drinking water and all the water dropped on his uniform. He said he got mad [at] what the teacher did because it hurt his mouth and yes, he threw the chair and the chair broke. Then the teacher went and told the principal what the child did; but she didn’t tell the principal what she did to the child. Then the principal spoke to my child and my child told him what happened and the principal told the teacher not to do what she was doing to the child. My child came and told me that the teacher – because the principal told her not to do what she was doing – the teacher came and shoved my son’s head in the wall.”


After the child relayed his account, Thais went to the school. An eyewitness described what happened next.


Voice of: Eyewitness

“They’re having her like this {Gestures}, pulling her hair and she was giving her ‘box’ in her face. And the teacher took it calm: ‘What is going on, I don’t know what you want; what is the problem?’ And she said, ‘I told you that you don’t mess around with my child.’ And the children were all in the class and all the school’s students came out and watched what was going on.”



“They all saw what happened?”



“Yes, everybody.”


Ednita Cocom

The teacher, Ednita Cocom, is being treated for her injuries and has made a complaint to police, as did another teacher who got involved to break up the fight and was injured. Thais accepts responsibility for her actions, but says Cocom should not get off scot-free, because it is questionable whether she actually had authority to perform corporal punishment on Thais’ child.


Voice of: Thais Cowo

“They told me she pressed charges against me and I will go and I will accept what I did; because I am human being and she is a human being and she has no right to put her hand on my son and this is the second time. And if Ministry of Education doesn’t do nothing and police don’t do nothing – well, I am his mother; I have to look [out] for him.  I will remove him and put him in another school because right here, [Julius] Casimiro doesn’t do nothing; he knows that they put charges on the teacher and he allowed the teacher to come and teach, knowing how she is.”



“So you thought she would have at least been told to stay home?”


Voice of: Thais Cowo

“Yes, because they told me that she got suspended, and she’s still teaching and she still did what they told her not to do – she repeated it twice. And I told them I will not let it repeat twice or a third time. That’s why I got vex yesterday and went and did what I did.”


The child stayed home from school today, traumatized by his mother’s ordeal. So too did most of his classmates. But Thais told us that he will learn a very important lesson.


Voice of: Thais Cowo

“He is crying because they told him they’re going to take me, police is going to [arrest] me and he doesn’t want it. But I spoke to him and told him to take it calm; I am his mother and every mother protects her child in every way that matters. I don’t worry what they say or what people talk about me, but that is my son and I will go with whatever is possible to defend my son.”


From San Pablo, Orange Walk District, Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


Principal of San Pablo Community Government School, Jose Moralez, flatly told us he was not able to comment and directed us to the local manager for Orange Walk Government schools, Julius Casimiro, who was not in office today. An official from the Ministry in Orange Walk indicated that the matter must first be investigated by school management before the Ministry gets involved. Thais Cowo is to visit the Orange Walk Town police station on Monday where a decision will be made on how to proceed with criminal charges.

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1 Response for “A Child’s Mischief; a Teacher’s Frustration; a Mother’s Outrage in San Pablo”

  1. CLUE says:

    I read this with TOTAL DISGUST! This hasn’t been the first time something like this has happened and will continue to happen. Many more have occurred but not publicized. Ever since that idiot of an education minister passed this so-called law about corporal punishment, these incidents have become more common. That parent, regardless of the situation, should have been arrested. Her child expelled. I don’t want people to just read my post, give feedback. Too many of our households have gone astray and there are a lot of parents who instill this type of behavior in their children at home through talk and actions. Coupled with this, many don’t sit with their kids and have meaningful discussions nor watch television programs becoming of a child or a decent family upbringing. When we were younger, teachers, neighbors whipped our asses and we better not dare go home and say anything because we got it again. Too many parent want and expect the teachers to be both an educator and house moms and baby sitters. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR ROLES AND OBLIGATIONS AS PARENTS? YOU’RE QUICK TO POINT FINGERS AT THESE UNDERPAID, OVERWORKED TEACHERS BUT WHEN YOU’RE CALLED TO SUPPORT THE SCHOOLS, VOLUNTEER OR COME AROUND TO SEE YOUR CHILD’S PROGRESS, YOU’RE NO WAY TO BE FOUND! These kids have no respect and look at his age! I heard about an incident at the Anglican primary school in Belmopan where a teacher was seriously injured and it was swept under the rug by a principal, who, above all else have done quite a few questionable things in her administration of duties and handling of let’s say, school funds. Management in Belize have tried to cover it up also. This particular child, I understand, curses, hits other students , and nothing has been done to seriously address the behavioral problems. I also read with disgust just a couple days ago on Facebook where a mother posted her frustration and anger where Wesley College refused to allow her daughter to deliver the Salutatory address. I started not to read the comments because too many of us, young and old put too much of our business on Facebook. Upon reading some of the comments, I sort of understood that the young lady had made an error in judgement and nude photos had leaked of her. I make no apologies, SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXPELLED. LESS THAN THIS WAS TOLERABLE IN OUR YEARS AT SCHOOL. I GRIMACE WHEN I HEAR HOW THE PASSING GRADE FOR PSE IS NOW A GRADE OF FIFTY AND SOME OF THESE KIDS AREN’T EVEN MAKING THAT GRADE. I GRIMACE WHEN I HEAR YOU;RE ALLOWED TO REPEAT OVER AND OVER AT SCA, SJC, PALLOTTI. S0, how do we separate the better students and reward good study habits and discipline? Yes, some of us come from disadvantaged backgrounds and it’s a little tougher, but try to emulate the people who were in your same situation and got themselves out the hood. YOU HAVE MONEY TO GO TO EVERY CONCERT AROUND TOWN AND KEEP YOUR HAIR DONE EVERY WEEK , BUT NO FINANCES TO DO WHAT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOUR CHILDREN. THEN, YOU LORATE YOURSELVES AND GET EMBARRASSED AND BELITTLED BY THESE MINISTERS OF GOVERNMENT FOR A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY. There were a few posts of encouragement for the young lady, but many were of the “SHAME ON YOU WESLEY COLLEGE” type. No, we cannot control everything that our children do; however, too many of us want them to be our friends and foster a relationship where we don’t want our kids to be upset with us. Let me say this to you, MINE CAN BE UPSET ALL THEY WANT. I;M NOT HERE TO BE THEIR FRIEND. I WILL FOREVER BE A PARENT AND LIFT THE REIGNS AS THEY GET OLDER AND MOVE TO THE ADVISEMENT PHASE. TOO MANY OF US DON’T WANT ANYONE TELLING OUR KIDS ANYTHING. MAYBE WE SHOULD RESORT BACK TO THE “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE US APPROACH’ AND THINGS WOULD BE BETTER IN BELIZE. Going to the Belmopan area, I see a lot of folks , especially these women, who try to compete with each other and talk about what they have and don’t have. The culture hasn’t changed. Many of them barely have money left to pay bills in trying to make an impression and most think that having someone else’s husband and boyfriend is the norm because they get a little Chiney food or a pair of shoes every so often. Contraire’, you’re just the “SIDE CHICK” as we say here in the US, and you’re tantamount to a HOE. I’ve come across a few in my visits to Belize. I saw someone blog about this just a couple days ago with the Pakeman issue and also referenced Belmopan. At times, I don’t even want to visit Belize, it’s depressing. Young lady from Wesley College, let this serve as an example to you. Parents, pay more attention to your kids. Educate yourselves, broaden your horizon and knowledge through reading, watching educational and inspirational things on television.

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