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Apr 9, 2003

Youths invade schoolyard, beat tutor

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We lead our news tonight with the subject of education–or rather the lack thereof–as two disturbing incidents, one in Belize City and the other in Belmopan, have left observers wondering who is in charge in the classroom. I’ll begin with events that occurred yesterday afternoon at St. John Vianney.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

Tonight, seventeen-year-old Ryne Longsworth is at home recovering from a severe beating that occurred late Thursday afternoon. According to Longsworth, just after four p.m., he was in the staff room at St. John Vianney Primary School conducting a reading class with several young students when two men came onto the campus and attacked him.

The incident ended here, in the principal’s office.

Anita Wade, Principal, St. John Vianney Catholic School

“In the beginning they were just beating and beating and pounding and beating like animals, beating and beating and pounding. And I am pleading to them, why, why, why are you beating? What went wrong?”

“I saw another one run in. When the other one run in, I ran between them, and I said you cannot, you will kill him you can’t kill the boy. You cannot in here, and so I was punched out of the way. Then, we, I stood in there and keep talking to them and the school warden came in and we’re trying to help. Finally they got up and I’m still asking them, what is the problem, and he said to me, next time I will come back with a gun…When they were leaving that’s when they mention, nobody will take advantage of my little brother.”

Alone with a battered and bruised Longsworth, Wade locked up the office and waited for help to arrive.

Anita Wade

“Police didn’t respond about fifteen, twenty minutes after. When they came, everything was finished and I was very upset because when I ask them, I said we were calling so long. They looked at me and said, we have lot of work to do, we just came on shift anyhow.”

The police rushed Longsworth to the K.H.M.H. for treatment and that’s when the school principal realized what had triggered the vicious attack.

Anita Wade

“Last week two little boys that are in the group were in a fight. One of my S.J.C. boys parted the fight, but the little boy went home and tell the parent that it was the big boy that beat him.”

“The mother came in Friday and we spoke about it and I brought the little boy he was fighting with and we settled the matter. The mother said, yes okay, the little boy admitted that he went home and he told a lie. We thought this thing was settled.”

It turns out Longsworth hadn’t even been at the primary school when that incident transpired, so he was caught totally off guard. The teenager had been helping slow readers at his alma mater since January as part of Saint John’s College’s community service program.

Today Principal Wade is left in a frustrating position.

Anita Wade

“I don’t know if it’s securing the school grounds, I think it just shows how sick our society is. Our school grounds are as secure as can be. We have it’s all fenced ’round. We have a very, very good school warden, one of the best school wardens. I don’t know what else could be implemented at this point, I don’t know. I think it just shows that you are not safe anywhere. Even in the schools, innocent children are just getting attacked by these boys.”

Even though one of the two men who attacked Ryne Longsworth has been identified, police have yet to detain either suspect.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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