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Students armed

Teachers concerned about safety after pupils take weapons to school

Teachers at Parkinson Memorial Secondary are expected to go on the picket line tomorrow morning to protest principal Jeff Broomes’ failure to take disciplinary action against students who took knives and other weapons to school.

President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd confirmed the planned action in an interview with Barbados TODAY, saying teachers were concerned about their safety.

BUT president Pedro Shepherd

BUT president Pedro Shepherd

“It is a fact. The teachers are going to protest tomorrow . . . There was an incident last week where some students brought knives and other weapons on the compound. They were not flogged, they were not suspended, so that is one of the reasons they are protesting tomorrow,” he said.

“From as early as 8:40 a.m., when school is scheduled to commence, protest action will begin.”

When contacted, Broomes told Barbados TODAY that he had been told about the planned action but was not sure why it was being taken.

“I have been informed by at least three members of the teaching staff that the BUT will be taking action tomorrow. The teachers have said nothing to me, and I am concerned that this may leave too many children unsupervised. I have received the word and I have officially communicated with the Ministry of Education,” Broomes said.

“I do not appreciate this clandestine behaviour. If they are going to take industrial action be bold and say so!”

Officials of the Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment on the developments at the Pine, St Michael educational institution.

The strike threat is the latest development in a long running battle between the BUT, which represents teachers at the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School, and the principal.

While the BUT has been vocal about its dissatisfaction with Broomes’ management style, Shepherd made it clear today that the action planned for tomorrow was not to address that, but to protest indiscipline among students.

The union had given the Ministry of Education two weeks – which expired last month – to indicate the status of investigations into the Parkinson and Alma Parris Memorial Secondary schools.

However, the Ministry had asked for the opportunity to continue its probe into the conditions of work at the institutions, including the teachers’ concerns about the management style of both principals.

In a statement issued through the Government Information Service this evening, the Ministry said it “continues to pay close attention” to the BUT’s calls for it to address issues at the two schools and assured it was “taking deliberate steps to treat to the concerns of the union in order to ensure that any conclusion reached will be in the best interest of all parties concerned”.

“[The Ministry] is acutely aware that matters of this nature require due diligence . . . The Ministry, as always, is especially committed to the preservation of the teaching and learning environment at all public educational institutions across the island,” it said.

The Ministry added that while it might appear that the course of action was not moving at the pace anticipated by the BUT, “it must be borne in mind that the Ministry has a responsibility to ensure that all parties are given the benefit of due process”.

“Until such time as we have completed conducting a thorough investigation and reviewed all of the findings raised before us, it would be imprudent to draw conclusions or proceed with any definitive course of action. In the interim, the Ministry continues to seek solutions to these complex problems,” the statement ended.

The BUT has also given the Personnel Administration Division six weeks to complete the appointment of all temporary teachers in Barbados. That deadline is due to expire on February 18.


11 Responses to Students armed

  1. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams February 10, 2015 at 5:34 am

    And the saga continues…

  2. bajanguyster February 10, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Good Morning I Would Be So Great full If These Teachers Can be really be put on the bread line for real. this is to much now.
    gosh .now it seem that the teachers want to tell the principal when to punish and how to punish .you all have proven to most of this bajan society that for sure you all don’t like or love the principal at lease i hope you all love good for real

  3. kathy-Ann Clarke February 10, 2015 at 7:57 am

    And what good is this to the students?? When so many will be left to do what ever and wherever they wish to do today.

  4. Angela Fergusson February 10, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I strongly support and applaud the many teachers in this beautiful country, Barbados for their undying love and committment to the school children.
    They are in the majority, and though challenges abound, we, the public, as well as parents must make the time necessary to support and encourage the children of our Nation.

  5. seagul February 10, 2015 at 9:26 am

    We the people of Direct Democracy B’dos applaud and support the teachers. However the practice of flogging a child should be abolished.

  6. Donna February 10, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Come on now, people! Teachers do have a right to feel safe at school – as safe as you would like to feel. I don’t know what corrective measures are being taken by Mr. Broomes and apparently neither do his teachers. And therein lies the problem. His teachers should be in his confidence in this matter. Logic tells me that Mr. Broomes is going to be working with those children knowing that this behaviour may have its origins in the home. Let’s face it – some children nowadays do not know of any other way. This is what they see in their community and this is all they know. Mr. Broomes may think that suspending or flogging them may only exacerbate the problem. He may favour more creative and enlightened methods to turn these lives around. I pray that he will succeed.

    • bajanguyster February 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      @ Donna well said then done ?,is it now that the teachers aint feel safe? i for sure .if i aint feel sure about my work i aint coming in ,DONNA it is more to this story that meet the eye ok
      everyone can see hear and investigate and believe me some of us have done that ,and by the way 20 teachers turn up for work today and not one of them say anything about not feeling safe they did they job of teaching the children with thy head high

  7. Tony Waterman February 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    @Donna !!! Well said in Part, but the Union is using this as “”Scape Goat”” TACTIC to get at Mr.Broomes, Pedro Shepherd is Trying his hand at completing what Mary Redman Failed to accomplish.
    If the Union through it’s Union Rep. at the Parkinson was Definitely aware of and could Identify Students that were in Possession of Weapons, and if that was an ILLEGAL ACT then they should have Called in the POLICE and Identified those Students to them, and left the matter in the hands of the Police. they Could have ALLEGED that they Felt Threatened Under those Circumstances.
    Bye the way nowhere in this article was it stated that the Union Had Approache the Principal to ascertain what he was doing about these Incidents.

  8. Maxine Baker February 10, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Donna, I support your comment also. Did you notice that the President said “an incident” wherein the students took to school knives and other weapons? Who encouraged them to bring the knives and other weapons to school?

    The vibration of hatred is so strong. Seems that there is a hidden agenda for Mr Broomes’ head. Someone is thirsty for a post of Principal and it is not me! Are you the persons who are teaching the children? Would the children not try to copy your aggressive attitude? Is it your way or the highway? As long as his intentions are pure he will be triumphant at the end of the plot against him.

    Again, I am writing in the sand all your misdeeds so that when you are finished reading what I have written, I will invite you to cast the first stone. Stop the nonsense. Teach, Educate and Enlighten our students. Stop showing them the way to undermine others!

    The material in the workshop of the Carpenter and the Mason is wood, bricks, cement, nails etc but the material in the workshop of the Teacher is the LIVES OF MEN AND WOMEN!!!!! iT IS TIME TO STOP THE NONSENSE. LOOK FOR ANOTHER COURSE OF ACTION TO SETTLE THE DIFFERENCES WITH MR BROOMES!!!!!!

  9. King Pinder February 10, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Sure. Criticize the teachers for staying out of an unsafe classroom. Then, when the children get violent and a teacher is hurt every one will cry o its so sad. Or if one o those same students get mauled by a teacher defending themselves who is fearing for their life, jump on them saying it could’ve been resolved in a different manner. I say better safe than sorry. Prevention is better than cure………i could go on.
    Some of you adults just don’t know what to say sometimes.

    No child bearing arms should be allowed to enter a school unless some kind of meaningful intervention is made.

  10. King Pinder February 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    With the violence we have in society these days a zero tolerance stance needs to be take. If you have a weapon call the police. As soon as the principal gets notice they should notify the authorities. All the dialogue is about teachers but what about the other kids in school. Don’t they deserve to be safe? To learn hassle free? Without having to worry about who not to mess around or where no walk during lunch time? Forget Broomes and the rifts. Think about safety of people going about their daily business.
    Also, If these kids are given a slap on the wrist for these things and then get into society its not going to be just a knife. Itll be a gun theyll be walking around with.

    and honestly id hope its the people who advocate for accepting this kind of behavior that butt them climbing through dem winduh a late night.

    my 2 cents.


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