Not the way
Removing Principal Jeff Broomes from the Alexandra School would set “a bad precedent”, one of the school’s teachers warned today.
And Dwayne Bryan was also cautious about transferring or reassigning teachers who some might consider trouble makers at Alexandra, saying any solution to problems there should be done within the law, but not to damage the institution’s image.
He was speaking at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, which resumed hearings today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
Responding to questions from Broomes’ counsel Cecil McCarthy, QC, the Chemistry teacher, who spoke mainly in favour of the principal during his testimony, said he did not think the solution was to separate Broomes from Alexandra as some, including the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, had suggested.
McCarthy: “You think the solution to the problem at Alexandra School is to remove a principal?”
Bryan: “No, I don’t think the solution is to remove the principal. McCarthy: “Why not?”
Bryan: “Because first in my opinion it sets a bad precedent, meaning that if you do not agree with something that some person does they can be easily moved, and I know when I get in front of students, students would come and they would do it to many other teaches now.”
“Also the environment of the school, as I said the students love their principal and I know that…it would get much worse before it gets better…the behavior and the general atmosphere of the school.”
McCarthy: “So you think that to remove the principal would impact negatively on the school.”
Bryan: “Yes I believe so….yes I do think it would impact negatively on the school.”
The young man, who has taught at the St. Peter School for the past seven years, said Broomes’ contribution could not be diminished.
“I believe the principal plays an integral role at the school, but I also believe that it’s a very difficult role because you are operating with a number of different persons and some people from the start, from the outset, would not be in agreement and naturally work against you,” he noted.
“In certain instances I would even experience cases where information was not passed on and it would seem as if it was purposely done. I would have experienced this personally already.”
“The principal is a human just like me and I believe he will make mistakes and I feel at some point in time he would have been incensed at certain things that would have happened. So I can’t say that everything that he did I would agree with because if I have something to tell the principal and I don’t agree with him I would tell him that.”
Bryan was also hesitant when asked if moving teaches whom Broomes could not get along with would be a good remedy for the school’s problems.
“I would chose not to comment on that. Actually moving a person from their job is a very serious thing and I think the best person to deal with that would be those persons who are in authority and based on the information coming from this commission, based on the Education Act and based on what is legally correct. I believe that should determine what should happen to persons,” he said.
“I believe you should show an example to the students that what is correct and what is written in the law and the Education Act just like every school has school rules that should determine what is right and what is wrong.”
The teacher said despite the protracted and bitter industrial relations challenges at Alexandra, the school still had a good record.
“In all honesty I have been at the school and even though there are persons that would have had certain problems and complaints, the school still performs and functions and has accomplishments; the school still has a good record and it isn’t a case that people have to be removed. I believe it is just a case that each one needs to understand their role and as big adults we can come together, just like we tell children to solve problems and that can be done,” he stated.
“I believe that that can be done, if you show the children that can be done that would be a wondrous Act.” (SC)