Broomes always up against it
Principal of the Alexandra School Jeff Broomes was up against it from the beginning.
That’s the view of one of the teachers who withdrew their labour from the educational institutional institution in January, senior teacher Sophia Ifill.
Ifill, who teaches physical education, was the latest witness today when the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra continued at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The teacher said she knew of Broomes before and therefore “accepted him as the person assigned to Alexandra” when he took up the job in 2002.
This, she added, was not the same with other teachers, who were mainly female and senior.
“When he came in the early days I know that people seemed unhappy with him there. It appeared as though they were not happy with him in the early stages,” she told the tribunal headed by sole Commissioner Frederick Waterman.
Ifill said this later changed “to some degree because he was assigned there”.
“We made an attempt to buy into his system and trying to understand the changes he was trying to implement, we tried to flow, to allow things to go, but then things started to break down, the communication,” she stated.
This acceptance, she said, was relatively short lived, especially in relation to her, noting that her interaction with the principal was minimal.
Ifill also recounted one instance when she and Broomes got into an argument over a matter he did not think she should be involved in.
“He chased me out of his office because, during the interchange, he started to shout at me and while he was shouting at me I said to him, ‘I am none of these children in this school, neither am I your wife or daughter and I do not appreciate you shouting at me’, to which he started to shout more. And he told me basically I had no right bringing his wife and daughter into the matter,” she said.
“And I reminded him that in previous meetings when we were discussing serious matters he often mentioned personal facts about his family, whether we wanted to hear them or not he brought in his family.
“So I told him ‘do not shout at me’, that is when he told me get out of his office, which I did not do because, for me, the meeting was not yet completed.” (SC)