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Alexandra not a lost cause

Attendees at the Alexandra Commission of Enquiry.

Alexandra School Principal Jeff Broomes is not joining the separation choir.

Despite voicing fresh shock, surprise and hurt today at some of the things he had heard over the last month from some members of the his staff testifying at the Commission of Enquiry, the educator saw a future for him and these same individuals together at the St. Peter School.

But Broomes has identified the need for an external mediator to help chart the way forward, although he said things were not as bad as the testimony at the enquiry might have shown. He was giving his fourth day of evidence at the tribunal when it continued today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

“Mr. Broomes do you see yourself having a comfortable future at Alexandra with the present staff in place,” Commissioner Frederick Waterman asked the principal? The witness responded: “Yes Sir, I can, I most certainly can… I have worked with these staff, who obviously share these views all along and I did not know many of them, it is now easier for me to deal with them.”

Broomes said Alexandra, which he has headed since August 2002, was not a lost cause, but needed help.

“I still see a school loaded with talent both at the level of teacher and the level of student. I see a school that has a firm structure in place that has unfortunately been challenged by personnel matters, interpersonal issues that I think we all need to address,” he stated. “I have not said anything in here, as far as I’m concerned, to try to pull down anybody’s integrity or anybody’s character.”

The principal said he was either blinded to, ignorant of, or too naive to appreciate some of the things he heard at the tribunal, but that industrial action was not the way to resolve such issues. “I feel that rather than people rush to strike and criticise and pull down maybe through some

form of mediation…, the idea of bringing people together in some form to sit down … and let’s chart a way forward,” he told the commission.

“I do not feel that with knowledge now brought before us things are as negative as they were before because unfortunately people had views, had positions and were locked into situations based on understandings or expectations or assessments of other people.

“I do not believe that Alexandra School and its function, whether it be at the level of principal, level of deputy principal, level of seniors or juniors, has been as bad as it has been forced to present itself in the public domain.

“I feel much too often the union gets too quickly involved in matters, a lot of them that can be addressed at the school level and even if they have to go a step further let’s seek to address them openly in forums rather than do things that can only hurt the children,” he added. (SC)

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