Embattled 14-year-old offered transfer to Ellerslie

The mother of a 14-year-old Springer Memorial student at the centre of a controversy over a wrapper has refused the offer to have the pupil transferred to Ellerslie Secondary School.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones revealed today that the pupil had been offered a transfer to Ellerslie, adding, “I hope the parent accepts the transfer”.

However, Elecia Weekes said she would have none of it, claiming her son, who attended that school, had a bad experience there in the past. Weekes also insists on being given a say in which school the daughter is transferred to. She has already turned down an offer to transfer the child to Daryll Jordan Secondary School.

Her rejection of the offer came on the day that Jones called for commonsense to prevail in the raging controversy over the student’s refusal to pick up a wrapper after she was asked to do so by a teacher.

“I do not know if it is sensible to keep pushing an envelope which says that ‘my child must go back there’ [to Springer Memorial]. The environment is already bloody,” said Jones, while lamenting that “a good school” had been brought into the limelight over what he considered to be an extremely simple matter.

The embattled student has reportedly been kept out of classes since the last school term with Principal Pauline Benjamin insisting on a course of discipline, which both the girl and her mother Elecia Weekes disagree with.

Today, Jones described the matter as “prolonged agony”, while noting that the parent was contending, based on legal advice, that she should take her daughter back to school.

He however pointed out that “you can be educated at any school in Barbados if you want to be educated. But the child should not be seen as a pawn, power struggle or in the games that you sometimes see being played out.

“I don’t know the parent. I have not met the parent, but if I had to offer advice, if part of your initial complaint was that the child was not being educated, your first option is to get that child into a classroom where productive learning is taking place,” the minister said.

He stressed that a student’s education was important, while warning that “there cannot be an undermining of the school by stakeholders, including parents, students, teachers, leaders of the community”.

Jones, who believes the entire matter has been blown out of proportion, said: “I mean a piece of paper? This is absolutely remarkable that a piece of paper has now multiplied into something that everybody is focusing on and having comment on,

“I have picked up paper as a teacher and I didn’t put it there. I have taken the broom and swept my classroom as a teacher.”

The former teacher of 27 years also said he had seen instances where parents and grandparents had brought hostility to schools and years later, he had seen several of those children getting into trouble with the law because the right ethics and values of life were not instilled in them.

“I have seen it. I can call youngsters who have had to go to the Government Industrial School and then some of them migrated to the adult prison because families and parents show them a totally different direction which does not make sense. The children have been molded into certain levels of adult behaviour,” he said. (AH)

18 Responses to Embattled 14-year-old offered transfer to Ellerslie

  1. Observer February 3, 2016 at 9:09 am

    That is why this girl is so damn rude her mother is ridiculous she should home school her

  2. Shelly Ross February 3, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Clearly we need a Minister of Education.

    Yesterday in parliament there was mention about Languages in schools….you know who did not have a word to say…..

    The Minister of Education ……

    But he can have a lot to say about gay rights and about pants down by ya back side….

    He is not capable of dealing with the issues that are confronting our children every day in schools across the island.

    This is a case of child abuse and bullying and it is common in our schools.

    I am disgusted that the Minister can turn this into a ‘bad parent, rude child issue’ when there is no fact that can substantiate such.

    I cannot believe that our children rights are so blatantly ignored in this country.

  3. Bobo February 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Shelly Ross i quite agree with you –Tap into ”Naked Departure” there you will find why R Jones (psychotic pervert) focus is on Gays.

  4. Jeffrey C February 3, 2016 at 9:53 am

    The girl so mother said that her son had a “bad experience” at Ellerslie school? The common denominator for problem behaviour seems to be the home.

  5. Concerned Parent February 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I am in tears at the rubbish that is being touted by Minister Jones and persons I thought to be right thinking adults concerning this situation.

    Why I am in tears, this student has beliefs as to her role and responsibility as a student and instead of acknowledging this strength in character and shaping this child in the right direction she is being bullied, and portrayed as a bad child, and what the principal is doing is trying to break this child, this is wrong. We have young women who are not strong enough to stand up to their peers and as a result are using drugs, and carrying guns for their male associates, here you have a young lady who exhibits strong characteristics, that should be managed, shaped encouraged and disciplined when necessary not bullied. Why is this child being treated as though she has committed a crime.

    This situation reminds me of Rosa Parks, a woman who had a belief system and felt she should not give up her seat to the whites and as a result was treated unfairly, this current situation is a form of modern day slavery. Students in the school system are bullied more by their teachers than their peers and more parents should speak out about the situations in schools, but they are afraid to, because their children would suffer the consequences.

    Is the minister aware that there is no soap for children to wash their hands at the school, when this child picks up this trash that everyone steps on, lord knows what was on it, then has to eat lunch without washing her hands properly, let those persons who are supplied with gloves, do the job they are paid to do and stop liming under the trees and in the staff quarters.

    Let us be fair, I am recommending that at 2:45 each class cleans and sweep their class room, and dismiss some of the janitors, and the other ancillary staff that are responsible for the grounds also clean the bathrooms. This suggestion would not be accepted by the powers that be.

    If this child’s parent was affluent with a Caucasian skin colour and a surname like Goddard, Parris Williams or DeSouza she would have not been ask to walk around a school and pick up garbage.

    As for Mr. Jones, the worst speaking Minister of Education in the history of Barbados, I am so embarrassed whenever he speaks. I believe it is time for the Prime Minister of Barbados to control the persons that represents this country and his cabinet, and in most cases delegate a public relations practitioner to speak to the public on behalf of his ministers.

  6. Patty Cake February 3, 2016 at 10:53 am

    This matter needs to be dealt with in its entirety since the child is losing hours of vital instruction. I really hope an agreement is reached very soon

  7. Monica Wilson February 3, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Ths has gone completely out of contol. The minister should be ashamed to say he does not know the student or parent. There shou, d have been an intervention long ago. I agree with Shelly Ross. We need a Minister of Education.

  8. Priscilla February 3, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Are you people serious? When has it become the accepted norm to disobey and disrespect an adult? We teach our children about keeping our country clean, isn’t the school apart of this country? What do you say to children when you validate their bad behavior? In my opinion, the child was wrong. The wrong was not in the garbage, she blatantly disobeyed and disrespected a teacher. Then, to compound the situation, her mother who should know better, patted her on the back and said, ‘It’s okay, you are not a garbage collector, but it’s okay to disobey? I went to school and we help keep our classroom clean, not because it was beneath us, but because we wanted our school to be clean and we took pride in ourselves and our surroundings. No teacher never had to ask us to tidy our classroom, or keep ourselves clean. Due to the values and morals we were taught at home, it spilled over into our schools and communities.

    The child’s mother should be charged. Instead of correcting the child for her behavior, she took an unfeigned issue and make it into something it was not. It stands to wonder what the child is allowed to get away with at home. The amazing thing about this situation is, that the same persons who side with the mother, later on in the child’s life when she is held by the law for disrespecting a police officer, will be the ones who will say, if her mother had taught her to respect authority, she won’t be how she is. Hypocrisy to the highest!

    We are calling for the Minister to solve an issue that should not have been an issue in the first place. As a result, it has created an issue for another principal and school (should the mother decide to). If every child in this society decide to take that approach and not do anything the teachers or principals say, what will happen to our schools and education system? I am all for children’s rights, but children need to be make aware with right

    It shameful when we get to the stage, where disobedience and disrespect is consider the norm. God help our children and this nation. We need to get back to the biblical foundations and moral values that have helped and nurtured Barbados in previous years.

  9. Sophia February 3, 2016 at 11:42 am

    It is amazing the number of individuals who actually think this is a wrapper issue. This is a child in an environment who looked an adult full in the face and says NO I am not doing that. There is a sad anti-teacher sentiment in this country that has nothing to do with Minister Jones. Students and their parents want to insist that a teacher one and only duty is to teach their child, no matter how that child behaves towards their teachers. Interestingly enough many of these same adults would have picked up that wrapper if placed in the same position. But we seem to think we no longer need the teachers…but all teachers should stand in solidarity here. This student nor her mother should be negotiated with. Negotiate with one, negotiate with all. Next, students will tell us they are not moving chairs to or from the hall, they are not taking a note to the office, they are not going for books from the staffroom, they are not cleaning the art room, they are not doing anything that isnt book and pen related… after all you adults are teaching them they are only there to learn from the book, teacher not needed.

  10. Rev. Winston Jones February 3, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Is this is a case of the child refusing to pick up her own litter or a case of just making this child pick up garbage? With our knowledge of microbes entering our bodies through the slightest of openings, the child cannot be forced to pick up garbage without gloves. If there was a workday then pick up the garbage, if not, why make this child into a janitor? Is the teacher who started all this going to stop on her way through the bus stand and pick up garbage and throw it into a bin? Is the principal going to do it? I wonder.

  11. Samuel Morrison February 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    The louts who comment on these things really do not know what they are talking about. They wallow in filth and spread rubbish. The Minister cannot speak and meet everybody. He is the last person to whom they should speak. He would take decisions based on the research and recommendations given to him by the staff. I also guess it is good to be uncouth and indisciplined. The other unsavory comments on Minister Jones I leave alone. With some people garbage in, garbage out. Shelly Ross.

  12. Truly Speaking February 3, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    The minister should not have to know the student or her mother. The minister is there to ensure that the education act is followed by both the schools and the persons attending the schools. He also has the important role of making policies as it relates to the education system in Barbados. He’s there because he know what he’s doing no need to replace him. I think that the child needs to be more disciplined regardless of who they are. If you are at school the teachers and other adults are in charge for the time you are at the school. As a matter of fact from the time you are in that uniform and that’s the law not just something I made up. The teachers at the school are like parents. If you got a child and you had just cleaned the house went out for a minute to come back and find paper on the ground. Lord knows who put it there. You tell your child to pick it up the paper for you and the child refuse. What would you do? I totally agree with the minister. The amount of criminals they have comes from the lack of discipline and some of you parents are to blame. I have witnessed first hand as well.

  13. bajan February 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I can guarantee that if a Policeman on Swan Street asked any adult to pick up garbage off the sidewalk every single one of you would say “No. I ain’t put it there. Do it yourself. I don’t work for SSA” We would feel justified and call it standing up for our rights. But now a young girl refused to the very same thing she is ‘rude’. Bunch of hypocritical prople.

  14. Everton February 4, 2016 at 7:31 am

    In the end, only that child will suffer. Doesn’t matter if she was rude, that aspect was dealt with and she was suspended. Everyone is standing their ground and no level of meditation seems to have started. How does turning this into a political issue help the child? How does slandering the minister help the situation? None of the parties seem to want to compromise so a stalemate situation. Meanwhile that child is now heading towards repeating that form level. There is no winner here and only one loser.

  15. Fran February 4, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Sometime people in position likes to exercise it, sayings this about the teacher, who I believe should have led by example, taking up that piece of paper, news would have spread about , she would have been know as the teacher that took the paper up , a positive role model,. The next time she asked , believe me no child might refused . Just my opinion. Hope this resolve soon for the sake of the child.

  16. Marcia Clarke February 4, 2016 at 11:07 am

    The mother of the child should put a zip on her mouth and assist her child in excelling at school…wherever she goes.
    In my opinion she should remain at Springer since she has already reached fourth form there.

  17. The Gunner February 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I picked up many things that I did not drop at all my schools, and church as well….it cme from home training….my mother would say, “I did NOT ask you who put it there, I told you move it”, and it was that or take whatever she gave me…it did NOT make me foolish, yes, I was vex, but as I grew, I realise it was teaching obedience….we call ourselves christians…..just like when the prophet told the king ‘go wash in Jordan’….he said he thought he would send him to the big up places…..and it took a child to point out that if the man of God had told him to do a great thing he would have done…..what would it have taken for the child to pick up the wrapper……her education, and I am sure that wherever she is sent to finish her education, that that would be held over her head….who looses and who wins……and when applying for a job and it should be mentioned, cause we Bajans don’t forget these things….ask that question……and then answer it with honesty,…if you can find any in yourselves…..I scrubbed desks, swept floors…it was in my interest, and I was counted by ALL my teachers, including the Head teacher, that i was a model student……but where ignorance prevails, it is folly to be wise…….

    we are copying too much North American crap in this lil country, and lowering our morals..if she was in the cadets or army…she would get a worse thing to do, and a greater punishment too…..I know, I been there, done that…….

  18. Shirf February 5, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Shelly Ross need to concentrate on getting those parents with problems or problem children to attend the PTA and air their views or get help. She should start a class in parenting skills if she has the information. If she knows what should be done at the Ministry of Education get a job there and fix it.
    Everybody who had an opinion should ask what is the schools side of the story. Do you know? Well stop passing judgement until it is heard. Very disrespectful citizens.


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