Officials look into student shaming at St. Thomas school


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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Education Department has launched an investigation into a public humiliation photo of a very young student that is circulating social media.

In the photo, a young boy with a forlorn look and wearing a pink and grey Gladys Abraham Elementary School uniform has a sign taped to his chest. The sign reads: "My name is ... and I am a liar and a thief!"

The sign is not handwritten, it is typed and printed in color.

The picture was taken in the Gladys Abraham school cafeteria, and the pink walls, tile floor and lunch tables can be seen in the background.

"We are aware of the picture and an investigation has been launched into the circumstances," Education Department spokeswoman Ananta Pancham said Friday.

She said she could not comment further on the photograph or what steps the department may be taking to address the matter.

Calls to Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory and St. Thomas-St. John Superintendent Janette Smith-Barry were not returned by presstime.

The photo was being texted and emailed around the community, and an edited version where the child's face was blurred was posted to Facebook on Friday.

Comments on the posts expressed outrage that a school official or teacher would use such a humiliation as punishment.

Attempts to reach the boy's family were unsuccessful.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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