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BUT official: Someone should have been charged over Springer incident

A top official of the umbrella Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) said today someone should have been held criminally responsible for the recent imbroglio at Springer Memorial Secondary School that led to a 14-year-old student being absent from the classroom for over two months.

Addressing a large gathering of teachers in Queen’s Park, BUT Public Relations Officer Dwane Goddard made direct reference to the Springer incident, as he sought to chastise Minister of Education Ronald Jones over his refusal to give the union a hearing.

Goddard noted the student, who was barred from re-entering the classroom after she refused a teacher’s order to pick up a wrapper, should have been suspended for a maximum of 20 days.

“So when you have anything past that, somebody should be charged,” the BUT spokesman told the gathering.

“But no, rather than charging somebody, we end up sending [the student] to a private school that somebody got to pay for, and the Minister met with them on a Sunday and we only want to meet with him for [an] hour or two,” Goddard said to cheers from BUT members.

However, the union spokesman sought to make it clear that the problem of violence and indiscipline in schools runs much deeper than either the Springer Memorial incident or the other well-publicized incident which occurred last month at Ellerslie Secondary involving a teacher and a student, even though he described these incidents as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

While making a veiled reference to the Ellerslie episode, in which a student reportedly spat on and kicked a teacher, Goddard called for changes to be made to the country’s education laws, which he said were created in the 1960’s and 70’s and were now “irrelevant”.

“In those days a student would not dare spit on a teacher. They would swallow the spit and go home and they better not tell the parents anything because they would get another set [of punishment].

“So we need to have our legislation updated. And I talk about things like parents being fined $50 when they don’t send their children to school. Those sorts of things want changing, people,” said Goddard.

In addition, the educator suggested that if authorities here were not aware of how to fix the issues, they should seek best practices from other jurisdictions, including Argentina.

“They do not deal with the issues at hand. That is what is bothering me. We keep talking about each child matters, but how can they matter if all we do is transfer them and let the behaviours continue? We don’t address the behaviour,” he said.

“We cannot afford to keep transferring the problem. I strongly suggest that we sit down with members of the Barbados Defence Force and look at a system of boot camp in Barbados. And not one like the Edna Nicholls [Centre] or that school up there by Erdiston [for deviant children], because those are an expensive waste of time,” he added.

During his presentation, which was interspersed with music, including calypsonian John King’s popular song, How Many More, Goddard also highlighted violent incidents in which students lost their lives.

He asked: “How many more? How many more do we need to see cut down in the prime of their lives before we take action?

“I sincerely hope that those people at the riverside [Ministry of Education] are not waiting on one of us to be killed before they take action . . . So are we wrong for fearing for our lives? I think not. If we don’t stand for something we will fall for everything,” he said.

The union official also criticized Jones for speaking in Parliament yesterday on issues relating to health, instead of the current problems facing his ministry.

“I want our goodly minister to leave that to the Ministry of Health and attend to the people who he is responsible for,” Goddard suggested.

As for Government’s controversial plan to allow cell phone use in both primary and secondary schools, which Jones has said could be implemented as early as September, the teachers’ spokesman warned that it would do more harm than good.

Goddard said implementing such a policy meant students would use the mobile devices for personal use instead of learning, which for him translates into more work for teachers and greater indiscipline in the schools.

“One of the things that disgusts me is that I thought teachers were stakeholders in education . . . Somebody has been asking about teachers’ views on the cell phone policy. I don’t know what they ask for it for, because our views are that they really should not even do it. But every week you hear the minister promising that it is coming. We hear that it is coming and that is going to bring more violence, you hear,” warned Goddard.

He pointed out that “much of the nonsense” teachers were currently dealing with in schools ends up on cell phones, arguing that based on the devices that were already in the school system, one out of every ten children is doing something “productive” with the devices, while the other nine are doing “counterproductive stuff”.

“They are taking sexual videos [and] they are YouTubing when they should be listening to you teaching. They are doing all sorts of other things. So all of a sudden now our jobs have another job description come September, because . . . we have to be inspecting what goes on on these devices. And don’t be fooled, colleagues, the children know how to use them better than you,” Goddard said. (MM)

12 Responses to BUT official: Someone should have been charged over Springer incident

  1. Mark Fenty
    Mark Fenty May 5, 2016 at 4:11 am

    I believe that we are bigger than this as an nation and that the recent incident involving the 14 year old student, was just a preclude to the juggernaut of far greater problems which existed in this academic profession. I think the time is now that we put petty squabbling aside and be about the business of education our young people. We have alluded to the fact that the indiscipline of young people continues to pose great difficulty for educators, but have fallen short of acknowledging the fact that the pendulum swings in both directions.

  2. Observer May 5, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I’m a little concern it looks like the students are running the school system in barbados, with absolutely no respect for authority that’s a shame

  3. Donna May 5, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Well said, Mr. Fenty. I have nothing to add.

  4. jacob donawa May 5, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Maybe just maybe people need to examine the way they are teaching the youth? people need to let go of these antiquated and outdated ideas. A bootcamp by the defense force? really??? Maybe punishment is not always the bestand only solution. This idea of viewing the student population like the enemy has been going on for to long. If you are not able to connect to the student body with your teaching you need to look at what you are teaching, how you are teaching it and building a better and more understanding relationship between students and teachers.

  5. Meakai May 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

    What I find interesting is the former Springer student is now attending a private school, presumably at taxpayer’s expense.

    Well, well, well. Only in BIM.

  6. Sandra basc May 5, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Well said Mr Fenty and Mr Donawa.

    All the time teachers are spending away from the classroom should be spent constructively instead of bashing and giving the MOE ultimatums or trying to get a child expel. Teachers have been doing wrong to childrern for ages we do not hear the Unions speak out against these.

    Case in fact a boy at an older secondary school who was attacked by a teacher and was expelled because of a prior incident. Ms Redman would know of this.

    We keep hearing about teachers fearing for their lives, what about the children’s fear of not receiving an education and we know that most days teachers are not in the classrooms.

    Maybe the Union should look into that as well, especially when a teacher is out sick. We don’t see another teacher giving the disadvantage forms any assignments to do.

    But when the children get bored and disruptive they are labeled as bad.

    Come on teachers be the better persons here. Give your students something good to remember you by.

  7. maxjustina May 5, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Yahoveh’s spirit of Wisdom would help us if only we would intercede to Him and ask that He infuses us but are we at the spiritual level where we are ready to have that spirit infused in us?

    The spirit of Wisdom answereth all things. Wisdom would have informed us individually and collectively that:

    Our children are invaded by spiritul beings (fallen angels) easily because of their immaturity and lack of knowledge of Yahoveh.

    Demonic forces enter our children according to the pictures that they watch, the games they play on the devices, the thoughts of anger and disrespect that have become a major part of their personality; the demonic forces that enter them from the negative thoughts of their mothers (generally against the fathers) while the child is in the womb; at birth – according to the individual attitude of both or either of their parents (rejection or acceptance); ancestral spirits that want to use the body of the newborn; word curses of parents or other adults on the children; covenants made on the lives of children even before they come into existence, etc.

    What we need are pastors and priests who would take authority and do as Yeshua Hamachiah has admonished them to do – “set the captives free” (found in gospel of Mark). We keep fooling ourselves with other reasons for the showcasing of such behaviour by our children and adults (very aggressive). Denying that the answer to this situation lies in us asking Yahoveh to infuse us with His spirit of Wisdom, will not alleviate the problem. Are you in a spiritual position that the spirit of Wisdom can enter and take up abode in you in order that you can assist our children whom we expect to the strict guardians of our Barbadian heritage? Do your part to this end.

    When you want to take over a strong man’s house you first have to bind him up. If our children are bound up then we would be easy game for others to take over our house. Save our children for in doing so, we would not be at the mercy of all strangers when we reach old age.

    • allison archer May 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      its not only about demons influencing our children, that is just part of the truth.
      mankind actually believe people could dwell on earth in love and peace without knowing their Creator impossible.
      the root cause is society has turn their backs on Jesus Christ, mankind refuse to obey Him, so the breakdown is clearly seen in the youth, parents, grandparents, leaders, at every level as the doctrine of the Living God is not being taught to the next generation

  8. Valarie May 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    The things we do before without think we don’t do it now i might do it but another parent is not going to do it we need to get to the root of things

  9. 3rdsun May 5, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    BUT official: Someone should have been charged over Springer incident. Just as long as it’s not someone from the BUT.

  10. Sherlock Holmes. May 5, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Charged for what? And please state who that someone is that should be charged?Could that someone be a teacher?what would be the offence enlighten me dear chap.i am a little puzzled.

  11. dave May 5, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    “They do not deal with the issues at hand. That is what is bothering me. We keep talking about each child matters, but how can they matter if all we do is transfer them and let the behaviours continue? We don’t address the behaviour,” he said.

    We have a big bunch of lazy dont carish people as leaders in this country from the top to the middle . Many of the issues are not dealt with because a lot of the officials have family and friends that transgress so that they cannot insist on calling a spade a spade and deal with the issues and punish those who should be punished because they would end up punishing some of their own friends , fraternal brothers/sisters and supporters. We need a group of impartial persons to administer things. It is said that a Policeman must swear to arrest even his mother. But in reality if you transgress and you have -a ‘name’ and connections , you can make a call and quash things. This crap needs to stop.

    The teachers would have to give the MOE ultimatums –because this Government is the worst and they play more poilitcis than anybody else that is why they have a problem with Red shirts. Jones , Husbands and Karen Best use the Union as a stepping stone and they would have done so all the while being ASSOCIATED with the DLP because of their subsequent actions of running for political Office in the case of Jones and Husbands


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