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Rastafarian father prepared to face his fate

courtThe Rastafarian father who is before the court with his partner for refusing to send their children to school, said he would accept whatever punishment handed down when he returns to court on Friday.

Last month Ijui Jah and his partner Isartes Ibre were found guilty of breaching Section 41 of the Education Act on the grounds that there was no record of the children attending formal classes.

The children have since been placed in the custody of their paternal grandmother. However, the couple insisted that their son and daughter were being homeschooled.

“I leave it up to the magistrate. I am prepared for anything. If he say I guilty I am prepared to go to prison and serve the time and come out and get on with things,” he told Barbados TODAY at the end of a meeting last night hosted by the African Heritage Foundation.

The meeting, which was held at the Israel Lovell Foundation to discuss the family’s plight, heard messages of solidarity and support from members of the Rastafarian and Muslim communities.

A defiant Ijui Jah told the packed hall of the Israel Lovell Foundation that he would not back down from his decision not to register his children in the public school system, claiming he was following his religion.

He also insisted that he did not approve of the current school environment, claiming there was deviance, including sexual activity, illegal drugs and bullying.

Those present were equally resolute in their support for the family, saying the parents had a right to homeschool their children if they wished to.

Gender Specialist Danielle Toppin shared her experience with the gathering, saying she had homeschooled her daughter in Jamaica from age two to five. It was done through the Ministry of Education in Kingston, using the standard education curriculum.

A number of proposals were also put forward during the three-hour meeting, in an effort to resolve the matter.

The recommendations included petitioning the Ministry of Education to have the children returned to their parents, and for a change in the law so that the decision on homeschooling did not rest solely with the Ministry of Education.

Another suggestion was for all Rastafarian families to pull their children out of school until the matter was resolved.

“I think a large statement could be made if all Rastafari family pulled their children out of school . . . we gather in Queen’s Park with whoever can be there and have sessions with the children at school at the park,” one member of the audience told the meeting.

However, while he welcomed the suggestion, Ijui Jah said he did not want them to take any decision with which they were not comfortable, especially as there may be implications for the wider community.

One member of the Muslim community, Abdul Rahman, also offered to host the children at his school, the Muhammad University of Islam, until the issue was settled. He maintained that while the family must respect the system under which they live, they must also be willing to stand up for their beliefs.

Another individual also called for a petition against the Child Care Board, branding the institution “unsuitable” to make any decision on the welfare of the children.

Ijui Jah told the meeting that he and his partner, who remained silent throughout the proceedings, were willing to work with the Ministry of Education to resolve the matter.

The African Heritage Foundation is to draft a paper stating that the removal of the children from the custody of their parents and any moves to incarcerate the parents were not acceptable to the community.

A working committee is to be established to examine guidelines for homeschooling. That committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday at Pelican Village to discuss their plans.

7 Responses to Rastafarian father prepared to face his fate

  1. Brien King
    Brien King October 5, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Was the law made for man or man made for the law ? If the court imprisoned these parents for the right to raise their kids in a environment that they approve of, there will be repercussions from a lot of people who don’t agree to this utter foolishness.

  2. Nikita Watson
    Nikita Watson October 5, 2016 at 2:39 am

    This justice systems is a bear joke ,what about the w*it* pll and politician that does break every section in your laws that was made for black’s ,who will try them this is madness and it getting out of hand ,,,couple years back a hole woman left a baby in a bag on a beach where is she ,a lil boy hang he self in d north where is his Justice ,what about d lil boy that he mother tek he and pelt he on d ground and then carry he by d fadda fa he to get blame, I could go on but it just does to show it seem like wanna have a vendetta against these humans with dreads locks ,when I look at them all I see is my brothers and sister wanna need to stop this madness and stop Persecuting we one another d other race already doing it and we doing it to it hard on a black man can’t catch a break . one more thing before I go where d children advocate cause she always got something to say o shoot I forget he got dreads so he gine get throw under the bus .keep strong my brother and sister don’t give up nor in to this system it was made against us nor for us

  3. Hal Austin October 5, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Apart from the old vindictive Barbadian social values at play, why has this case reached this level? Where were the educational social workers, why didn’t they visit the family to find out if there was a problem? Why didn’t the school write to the parents warning them of the consequences if they did not send their children to school?
    Why didn’t anyone check to see if the children were ill?
    This is more about administrative incompetence than of parental failure.
    Are the parents going to be legally represented in court?

  4. Ras Selwin
    Ras Selwin October 5, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Some of dem in government want locking up first to set d example

  5. Ejd October 5, 2016 at 9:36 am

    The parents seem more rational than those offering advice.

  6. Nyah October 5, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Most families in this religion including myself have home school their children from ages 2-5 without the solicited permission from Ministry of Education unless the need for daycare arises since the law states there is no need to be registered in a school environment until the aged of 5.

    • Coralita October 6, 2016 at 12:08 am

      As far as I know, the legal age for a child to be enrolled in the school system is age 5. Hence, no one from the ministry of education will question your child being at home between age 2-5. The wicket becomes sticky when your child is not enrolled in school after age 5 and you have not formally requested of the ministry of education to home school your child.

      As stated by the minister, parents from any religion can make a request to the ministry to home school their children. The parents are given a curriculum which they are expected to follow and they are visited routinely by someone from the ministry to ensure that they are following the curriculum. I think this is important because if these children want to go on to tertiary education they would have covered the foundation to propel them forward.

      These parents need to work with the ministry to resolve this matter. I honestly don’t think that their children should be taken away from them. As mentioned by other bloggers, this appears to be the only error made by the parents, otherwise they seem to be good parents. I trust that all parties will put the children’s interest first.


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