No one-man job
That’s how Deputy Principal Beverley Neblett-Lashley said she felt when a 2010 Inspection Report on the Alexandra School reported Principal Jeff Broomes as saying she was not dealing with discipline at the institution as she was supposed to.
She said this could not be factual because it was the principal who was responsible, and under the Education Act and Education Regulations she had an assisting and advisory role on the matter.
The witness at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra was responding to questions from attorney-at-law, Guyson Mayers, counsel for chairman of Alexandra’s board of management Keith Simmons.
“When I read that, that disturbed me no end… I believe that I have been the one who has dealt with the major discipline in the school in terms of the day to day referrals that come to me so I was really very disturbed when I read that,” Neblett-Lashley said.
The official told the commission Broomes wanted her to be solely responsible for discipline at the school, but that she knew this was not a requirement under the law. “I understood that that is what the principal wanted, but in our discussions I always said to him it has to be a shared responsibility,” she said.
“There was a problematic interpretation in relation to discipline. What the act said and what I was being asked to do did not coincide.” But the deputy said even after reportedly saying she was not adequately dealing with discipline, Broomes was critical of her for not leaving some disciplinary matters to subordinates.
“I dealt with whatever disciplinary actions were brought to me and indeed the principal was critical of me of dealing with issues that he felt ought to have been dealt with by the year head and even the subject teacher,” she testified.
She said while sometimes the principal told her he did not think she could get involve in disciplinary matters she did, especially because some students “are really very difficult”
“There was this sense that you have to take responsibility for your issues… I accept that teachers need to take control but there are children who need to be referred higher up,” Neblett-Lashley stated.
“Alexandra has not had major disciplinary problems compared to the kinds of problems that we have heard about in other schools. Some of the things that we think are major when you hear the stories in other schools they really don’t compare, but there are some repeat offenders.” (SC)