Mother wants transfer for Springer pupil in wrapper row

Veteran educator Matthew Farley has joined the debate over a row between principal of Springer Memorial School Pauline Benjamin and the mother of a 14-year-old pupil over a wrapper.

The principal has reportedly benched the student for an infraction that dates back to the last school term, upsetting the mother, Elecia Weekes, who is now demanding a transfer.

The issue revolves around the pupil’s refusal to pick up the wrapper after she was asked to do so by her year head, making it clear her mother had not sent her to school to pick up garbage.

She was suspended for a week and has since refused to comply with the principal’s order to pick up litter.

Farley said the girl was disrespectful and the principal had every right to punish her.

“Absolutely, I am backing that principal,” he said.

“I have had students who have told me ‘my mother ain’t send me to school to pick up no garbage’. I have people who said to me, ‘if I don’t litter then the janitor wouldn’t have work’. And many adults see it that way,” the former educator said.

But the teenager’s mother is having none of it, blasting the school for punishing her daughter.

Weekes said her daughter should not be made to pick up garbage and argued that in any event she has been punished enough.

She also claimed that some teachers were taunting the child and that the only way to resolve the issue was to have her transferred to another school.

“She said to me that last week a teacher who taught her in third form went to her and asked if she was too pretty to pick up garbage and she said yes. The teacher says ‘well you are not getting to do any studies so you gine still end up working behind the garbage truck anyway.’

“Now this same teacher  . . . said to her that if she had asked her to pick up the garbage and she had refused she would have given her two big cuffs. I kept her home today, I kept her home yesterday and I think I am keeping her home the rest of the week,” the mother told Barbados TODAY.

However, Weekes has refused an offer to place the 14-year-old at Daryll Jordan Secondary School (formerly St Lucy Secondary), saying she made it clear to the education official who contacted her that she did not want her daughter to go from the “frying pan directly into the fire”.

“I said to her, ‘no, I am not agreeing to my child being sent to St Lucy Secondary because I am concerned that is jumping from out of the frying pan directly into the fire. I am not accepting that’.

“But I am at the point where a transfer is the best thing for the child because even if the matter gets settled, I believe that she would be still targeted by certain teachers.

“I think the best thing for my child is a transfer. But you have to consult with me as a parent. Don’t call and tell me that you transferring my child to St Lucy. Hell no. Let me and my child at least have the chance to choose,” the mother declared.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones came to the principal’s defence in Parliament yesterday, saying he was convinced Benjamin was not picking on the child.

Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones

“But today somebody would tell a principal, ‘I ain’t picking up that’; the indiscipline of it! And that is being encouraged? I don’t believe any principal is going to pick on a child. Teachers don’t just go walking about throwing paper about the place. And there are comments that the janitor is paid to do that, what kind of foolishness is this?

“What kind of nonsense am I hearing? Discipline must be the order of the day. Wherever we see rockiness amongst ourselves, we have to speak to that. What are we saying to our young people? This is too much disrespect of our environment. There is too much disrespect for law and order,” the minister said.

Efforts to reach the principal were unsuccessful up to the time of publication.

anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

8 Responses to Mother wants transfer for Springer pupil in wrapper row

  1. Observer January 28, 2016 at 6:33 am

    This mother is sending the wrong message to this child she should teach this child some respect from not being so rude, I have the feeling that the mother is being disrespected in the home, transferring her ain’t teaching her to respect the teachers

    Reply
  2. david gibbs January 28, 2016 at 7:46 am

    This mother urgently needs to take a serious reality check. She is absolutely undermining the education of her child over a matter which is not a fundamental issue. The child has not been physically or sexually abused or subjected to any acts of depravity by the school. This is a relatively minor issue that the mother is seeking to escalate into a national crisis. I am sure if education was not free and she had paid her hard earned money on tuition fees that she would not have been this callous. I only hope that in the next 10 or 15 years this child has something beneficial to show for having been so defiant. If you are going to be this defiant let me see some of that same determination by winning scholarship or some major achievement.

    Reply
  3. Meakai January 28, 2016 at 9:30 am

    This child needs help. Where is the father? Sir, I know you are frustrated, but she is still your daughter too. Even though the ” mother” thinks she knows best and she “run things”, I believe that you can see where the real problem lies.

    Yes, the law favours women but we men cannot continue to ignore the harm that these ” mothers” inflict on our children as they paddle their own canoes. Please help your daughter because the mother is not doing so.

    Reply
  4. John Moore January 28, 2016 at 10:23 am

    This student may one day be a leader in her community and country. How refreshing it is to see someone who does not sheepishly buckle to the orders of authority. In this case could not the principal show leadership and pick up the wrapper himself? He presented no evidence that the student was guilty of littering. This is petty stuff on which to base a suspension. It is very disappointing to hear the Minister of Education misinterpreting the student’s refusal as indiscipline. Look at it another way. She knows she is not living in the age of long ago when principals were all powerful dictators and poor parents had to their authority without question. My support for the student would be different if she had thrown the wrapper on the floor.

    Reply
  5. John Moore January 28, 2016 at 10:26 am

    John Moore
    January 28, 2016 at 10:23 am
    This student may one day be a leader in her community and country. How refreshing it is to see someone who does not sheepishly buckle to the orders of authority. In this case could not the principal show leadership and pick up the wrapper himself? He presented no evidence that the student was guilty of littering. This is petty stuff on which to base a suspension. It is very disappointing to hear the Minister of Education misinterpreting the student’s refusal as indiscipline. Look at it another way. She knows she is not living in the age of long ago when principals were all powerful dictators and poor parents had to accept their authority without question. My support for the student would be different if she had thrown the wrapper on the floor.

    Reply
  6. Marcia Clarke January 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Lady, Leave your daughter at the school and give her all of the help she needs to make it to the TOP.
    What is all the fuss about?
    In the 21St Century ,the very system which teaches you to think critically tries to convert you into a docile person.
    Persevere in the face of opposition, it will make you stronger.

    Reply
  7. Sue Donym January 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    This young lady has shown more discipline by sticking to a correct position than to have taken the easy path. Those who lack discipline are the ones who continue to create the litter that the teachers would have the child collect.

    The mother is right, she should have a choice, no less than would have been done for a non-national. This is NOT a minor issue if you understand that the ISSUE is one of teachers acting ultra vires, first by making the removal order, then by punishing for non-compliance. I hear the talk about picking battles and here we are expecting the child to have made more mature judgements. Can the adults truthfully say they would have foreseen this?

    The school officials seem not to be big enough to take the high road, admit the fault of the school and stop this p*$$!ng contest!

    Reply
  8. junior January 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    that teacher should be suspended too.She is not in the army where you must obey like a sheep.Why shouldshepick up the wrapper if she had not littered?

    The Principall is not an unreasonable person. Transfer the girl and end the issue

    I would expect the Minister to say any thing less. He talks so much that his position of acting Prime Minister was given to someone else. His pronouncements that we should increase the birth rate was one of utterings that is suited forthe landfill

    Reply

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