AX challenge

Teachers' Union files legal papers contesting school transfers

The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) is taking Government to court over the transfer of 18 teachers from the Alexandra Secondary School last year following a Commission of Inquiry into the dispute between the union and then principal Jeff Broomes.

President of the BSTU Mary Anne Redman disclosed today that the legal papers have been filed as “the next logical step”.

BSTU president Mary Anne Redman.
BSTU president Mary Anne Redman.

“It was done very recently because we had to make sure that we had exhausted the process at every level before we took it to the courts,” she told Barbados TODAY.

However, she declined to give any further details.

The legal action comes a year and a half after the teachers were moved from the St Peter institution and reassigned to other secondary schools across the system in January 2013, following the Frederick Waterman-led commission.

That commission had recommended Broomes’ transfer and he was sent to head the Parkinson Memorial School. Now he is again in the hot seat as he faces complaints similar to those that surfaced at the Alexandra School.

A group of teachers has alleged lack of communication between Broomes and his deputy Maxine Mayers and that he unilaterally made changes to the curriculum and timetables.

However, the principal insisted in an interview with Barbados TODAY that his changes were driven by a desire to assist students who need remedial assistance – those who enter the school with 30 per cent or less in the Barbados Secondary School’s Entrance Examination – and he is focused on his students and unfazed by the opposition.

“They want the one remedial class to be treated like everybody else. Then those children go right through school to fourth and fifth form and then be put out without getting any assistance.

“More than 60 percent of the students left school every year without a single certificate. Parkinson is a better school than that. It has a greater legacy than that . . . If I am to be crucified for doing what is in the best interest of helping people’s children, crucify me because I will not bend on that; never will!” Broomes insisted, adding that he “has difficulty with people objecting to mentorship where we are helping children”.

Defending his plan for those who need assistance, he said he would not allow the complaints and accusations to stress him or put a stumbling block in the way of progress.

“I guess that some people must have problems with helping children through mediation and mentorship, which to my mind is driving progressive education forward worldwide. I don’t know of it being anything but my duty and that of teachers,” he said.

“You have a class of 26 children, 23 or 24 may be doing well and the other two or three may be . . . struggling. I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking these weak ones out and having a teacher assigned to helping them with that little small group instruction,” Broomes added.

As for the accusations brought by the teachers at the school by their trade union representative, the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Broomes said he was copied in on a letter sent to the Chief Education Officer and he has already sent a response.

However, he noted: “There is absolutely nothing that did not come at the same time last year with the same issues and that were addressed by the Chief Education Officer who came to the school and they went through the same thing.”


5 Responses to AX challenge

  1. Gregston Griffith
    Gregston Griffith August 20, 2014 at 1:19 am

    MARY AMRY why don’t u spent more time in the class room and stop allowing the tax payer of Bdos to pay u for doing nothing but running about if u have a problem with Jeff call him and mek up and st op dragging the teachers and children into this confusion. Mr Broome I am with u for the changes u are making don’t allowed the distractor to get into your way

  2. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte August 20, 2014 at 6:29 am

    money to fight the issue in court could be best use to retool and update the members on the change tends in the delivery of education so our young minds could benefit in this changing world.

  3. nanci August 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    if Mr broomes is trying to help those kids who need special ed services, why are the teachers objecting, he seem to be a good person, who is trying to help kids learn and gain some knowledge through education. Barbados focus more on the kids from the older secondary schools, but the kids who pass for the lower secondary schools, the teachers and the educational system dont care about. Kids as young as 14 years old already finish school, and what will they do, they cant get a job, and most of them can scarcely read. All they do all day is cause havoc in the neighborhood and get in trouble. I think barbados should revamp the educational system so it can work for all children, whether they are early learners or late learners, but I think Mr broomes is doing a really good thing.

  4. nanci August 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I think mr broomes plan should be an islandwide educational plan, and that is to have struggling students have individual help. Some kids dont learn that fast, but its not that the kids are not smart, it only means the kids that are struggling need that extra push, and thats what mr broomes is trying to do. Even if these slow kids dont get any certificates in high school, they will have that foundation to continue their education after they left school. There are many adults today who didnt gain 5 or 6 o levels in school, but after school that one teacher that helped and believed in them, is what made those kids determine to continue their education, and I think thats what Mr broomes is trying to accomplish, so I love him for that. Some people teach, but some teachers are real teachers and love their job.

  5. Jerome Brathwaite August 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Lol. These comments are amusing! I love how you guys make assumptions about people based on what you read in a paper.

    It is always teachers that are portrayed in the media to be horrible persons, yet teaching is one of the professions where you spend parts of your salary to improve things for students. The same students that curse you, that threaten you. You beg them to pay attention in class and do homework but they skip classes, gamble at lunch time and do as they feel like and then parents come to the school cursing and assaulting people.

    For many in the lower economic bracket school has become daycare services for parents, who buy brand name bags, shoes and cell phones for students yet those students don’t come with a pencil or pen to write with.

    Some students behave well and work hard, but then these are the ones bullied against in school. Not the ones that give trouble. You guys really need to think before you make general comments on education, teachers and school children in Barbados.

    Why is it that in Trinidad and Guyana those students perform better than banana students at CXC? They pay for education and know its value, in Barbados it is free and too many young people waste the opportunity and YOUR money!!! Then later want to cry and want people feel for them when they went school and give hell! That is why students leave school at 14 no other reason.

    The children that give trouble in neighbour hoods do not give trouble because of lack of education. It comes from lack of good parenting and discipline. How many children are awake on their cell phone at 10/11pm? Or watching TV? Or on the Internet?
    They arrive at school late and then somehow magically teachers and Principals are at fault for enforcing rules! Surely this island has gone mad!!!

    Before y’all quick to judge people, you should find out first hand what it is like to be a teacher. Go talk to a teacher and stop believing everything you read in a newspaper.


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