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Wednesday 21 February 2018
News

Teen takes his own life

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy who was rescued from the streets by the Children’s Authority two years ago, committed suicide at one of the authority’s ‘safe homes’ on Sunday night. Sources said the teen became depressed after not being able to pursue his education as — through no fault of his — he was barred from attending school.

In 2015, he spent a term at a secondary school in Belmont and that was the last time he ever saw a classroom. Sources said the teen was eager to resume his education but was denied the opportunity to do his School Based Assessment (SBA) projects in preparation for the CSE C examination.

Newsday was told that while the teen was denied an opprtunity to do his SBAs at the safe home, other inmates were allowed to attend school. “The question must now be asked, why was he being treated differently from the others,” said a Children’s Authority source.

According to reports, at 7.10 pm on Sunday, the teen was found hanging in the bathroom of the safe house in East Trinidad.

He was found with two belts which the source said were joined together and tied to a rafter.

Newsday was told that only last Friday during an evaluation, the teen was found to be suffering from depression. “That child was brilliant, ask anyone at the North Eastern College where he was once a student. He had a bright future but never got the chance,” said the source.

On Monday, the Children’s Authority issued a press release expressing deep regret over the teen’s death. The statement said: “The Children’s Authority is deeply saddened by the unfortunate death of a child at our Child Support Centre. At this time, the Authority is committed to the safety and well-being of the other children at the Centre and therapeutic support and counselling are being provided to the children as well as the staff at the Centre.” In the Senate sitting yesterday, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, in reply to an urgent question by Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen, said that Cabinet had expressed its sorrow over the boy’s death. Young said the Child Protection Unit (CPU) is conducting an investigation.

Further, the Children’s Authority has also launched its own investigation to see if any protocols were breached. He said the report will soon be received by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

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