Alarm over the “game” has been raised by schoolteachers and parents after students reported “seeing things” and having “strange experiences”, stated a concerned president of the National Parent Teachers’ Association (NPTA) Zena Ramatali.
“I have heard that children have experienced seeing things and I also found out that some schools have brought in priests and so on to pray. And they were being told that they should not invoke (things),” Ramatali said.
“Some members’ children were really frightened to the extent where they could not even describe to me what they felt. Some said they felt like their insides were coming out.”
She said that according to reports some children who played the game saw pencils move and the game board move and some children jumped away in terror.
“From our information there were children who were so frightened that they ran out of the classroom. So it means they could have injured themselves or injured others,” she added.
Ramatali reported that the game is gaining momentum locally and is played at both primary and secondary schools and there were reports from denominational schools and a few government schools of that game being played. She noted through utilising Facebook the game is happening at various schools simultaneously and there are also reports of some teachers playing the game.
“Charlie Charlie” is a game which has been trending on Twitter and dominating Google searches. It is based on one played in Spain for many generations and is an Ouija board-type game involving pencils where the player summons the so-called Mexican demon “Charlie” to answer “yes” or “no”, questions the player asks.
With the popularity on the internet and social media the game has spread around the world including to the Caribbean and there have been reports of school-children playing it in Barbados and Jamaica as well.
Contacted yesterday, officials at the Ministry of Education reported receiving complaints from about ten school principals about the game. The ministry noted that while there is no policy regarding the issue, Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan has stated any student that is warned about playing the game and persists, can face suspension.
He has also advised principals to talk to students directly involved and the entire student population about desisting from playing the game. The ministry noted that guidance and counselling is available from Student Support Services but no requests have been made regarding the game. Teachers and principals have also been encouraging parents to talk to students about the game, the ministry noted.
The ministry stated that they have not had cases of “demonic manifestations” or anything of that nature and it was being done in small groups in St George, Port-of-Spain and a few other districts.
Ramatali said suspending the students was not the answer as they would simply return to school and play the game. “Suspending them without giving them the information and the dangers in what they are dabbling, that is not sufficient,” she said.
She advised that the Education Ministry set rules and policies to forbid these types of games and for parents to educate their children about the dangers of these games and other things on the internet.
She advised that the individual schools must have a policy on what kind of games are acceptable in the school and what are not.