Springer wrapper row unfortunate, says Paul

Government MP James Paul has added his voice to the national debate surrounding a 14-year-old student who was recently expelled from the Springer Memorial School for refusing to pick up a wrapper as ordered by both her teacher and the school’s principal.

So far, the student has missed out on nine weeks of learning, after she was initially barred from re-entering the classroom, and then ordered off the school compound last week.

The Ministry of Education has offered to transfer the student to the Ellerslie Secondary School but the girl’s mother, Elecia Weekes, who met with Minister of Education Ronald Jones on Friday, has refused to accept the offer, claiming that it puts her child at a disadvantage.

Up to late this afternoon, Weekes said she was still awaiting word from Jones, who had promised to work on a solution to the impasse.

However, addressing a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Christ Church South meeting last night, Paul took issue with the parent’s handling of the matter, which he described as “unfortunate”.

“As a father, as a human being, if my child came home and told me, ‘daddy my teacher asked me to pick up a sweetie paper’, I would tell him, ‘go and pick it up’,” Paul stated.

“What we [parents] don’t understand is that we’re doing . . . tremendous psychological damage to our children when we pick up fire rage on certain issues, because [of] the long term consequences to that child, the character of the child,” he added.

Reflecting on traditional Barbadian education values, Paul noted that in the past schools were criticized for making students scrub their desks, but, he said, students were taught a “very relevant” lesson on maintaining a healthy school environment.

Paul also suggested that another important lesson which parents must teach their children was that “life is not fair” while calling for the current debacle, which has been playing out in the press, to be settled in private.

“It does not do justice to the child . . . it does not do justice to the parent either.

“It is sad, because when something like that comes to the forefront of national attention in the way it has, it [begs] us to look at ourselves as a country and ask, ‘where are we going in this year of [50th anniversary] independence; what are the things that we need to forget; what are the things that we need to maintain and what are the things we need to grab on to that we are not doing now?’” Paul added.

12 Responses to Springer wrapper row unfortunate, says Paul

  1. Nikolaos Yarde
    Nikolaos Yarde February 16, 2016 at 4:19 am

    talk about flogging a dead horse

  2. Shelly Ross February 16, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Mr. Paul, notwithstanding the fact that the teacher/school/ministry would treat you child differetly, the mother only stepped in after she allowed her daughter three sets of punishment and the only thing that this child did was to stand up against a bully of a teacher and for her rights.

    What bothers me about you politicians is that out of one corner of your mouths you want to impress the general public that you are so interested in them and out of the other side, it is ‘party politics and what is in it for me’.

    You Ministers do not even send your children to certain schools and some of your children are as rude as one can get.

    I therefore hope that the public understands that your take on this is not in the interest of the child, but in the interest of votes.

    Just on a note of interest – They insisted on send her to Ellerslie but refused a request for St. Michael or Foundation and comments made were that the child did not get the marks for either in the Common Entrance.

    Did the young lady who was transferred to Queen’s College from the same Springer get the marks for QC. No she did not? But who is her father?

    Guess some of us just have the wrong last names.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine February 16, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Though I do not hold much interest these days for what comes out of a politician’s mouth, what Mr. Paul stated is absolutely correct. Regardless if you perceived the teachers at the centre of this debacle as bullies, those bullies represented the authority of the school. And, if you want to understand what would possibly could cause teachers to become ”bullyish” in their behaviours at their respective schools, you just need to visit the school environment and view the behaviours of the islands many wayward children. Even if some teachers and authority figures are deserving of the worse criticism and scant respect ever, they are the authority. It means that those who are subordinate must bite the bullet and keep tongues cheek, at times, if they do not want their destinies to go down an uncomfortable road with a scat spraddled future. The child’s stance was obnoxious and the mother’s handling was pernicious. The punishment was suited to the child’s behaviour. The length of time away from school obviously lied in the hands of the mother who decided to put up a stance instead simply resolving the matter by having her daughter apologise for the incident.

    • Kevin February 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Didnt you read the article that the mother now wants her daughter to remain at Springer because any transfer would be too costly for her in terms of uniforms etc… ?

    • Coralita February 16, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      I agree with you. The Teacher is a bully. If it was James Paul child the teacher would not have called them out of the class to pick up garbage.

      I thought all along the wrapper was in the classroom until the child spoke up for the first time and said the teacher called her outside of the class to pick up the wrapper that somebody dropped outside, who knows where the heck the wrapper came from. The teacher could have dropped it on purpose for all I know.

      These politicians sicken me. Not one damn vote you people aint getting from me next election.

  3. Sheldine Dyall February 16, 2016 at 10:33 am

    The child was rude to the teacher yes, if it was my child I would make her apologies to the teacher. But to punished her so long preventing her from an education is very harsh , to taunt her and make her pick up paper was very humiliated for a week , The headteacher, the counsellor, the ministry have fail this child.

  4. Anthony February 16, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    The student should have picked up the wrapper. What harm is there in picking up a piece of paper???
    Picking a piece of paper in your home regardless of who put it there is fine…the school is their other home.

    Is picking up a piece of papers worse than missing 8/9 weeks of school???

    The student and her mother think so.

    We must look at the Big picture.

  5. Stephen February 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    When this row first surfaced, i heard that the child at the centre of the dispute knew that the wrapper was dropped by another child who habitually dropped litter and was never called to task for it, and she refused to pick up behind someone else. She felt the child should have been made to pick up her own garbage on principle.

    If this is true, I am siding with the affected child and her mother as there must be fairness to all, and one should be careful about which parent (or teacher) is failing which child. On the other hand, if it was a simple matter of a teacher asking the affected child to pick up a bit of litter, I believe she should have complied, as children need to understand the concept of shared responsibility to keep their surroundings clean. A bit of civics would be in order.

    To those who would judge, let us not forget that truth is absolute and cannot be varied, only ones perception of what is true is variable and this is influenced by what they are told or what they deduce from the evidence presented. To those who were there and know the truth about the circumstances, be reasonable.

  6. Sophia February 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    The child was not expelled from the school. Her mother requested a transfer and wanted, like her daughter, to tell the authorities what she will and will not do. If a transfer to a school of her choice was granted how would she find the money for uniform, as she’s claiming is a problem now. This has gone on long because this mother wants it to go on long. The ministry has done his part, the principal and teachers… What’s the part of the parent? The child? She wants her to remain at the school…go help her pick up the garbage.

  7. Tony Waterman February 17, 2016 at 12:19 am

    @Shelly Ross!!! how did you, with all that was.is going on miss the fact that the “MOTHER” is an IDIOT/FOOL/IMBICILE either one or all three, she must be aware that her Daughter needs to be in school as her Exams are coming up soon. This whole affair has NOTHJING to do with That Student, this is all about the MOTHER thinking that she has Power.
    I just hope that if that young lady Fails and realises what could have been, that she does not turn on the Mother and blame her for her misfortune.
    They Insisted on sending her to Ellerslie, because that was the ALTERNATE School Liste on her 11 Plus Form at the Ministry, what in my opinion is really happening here, is that the Mother wants her Daughter put into SMS or Foundation one of the ORIGINAL Secondary Schools, why am i thinking so??? she claims that going to Ellerslie will cost her money for new Uniforms, well!!! wont the same thing happen if the Child is sent to SMS or Foundation????

  8. dave February 17, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Where is the Father in this matter ?? You may ask but the question should be if the mother has ran the Father. The mother’s action and words make her sound quite misguided

  9. Roger Gibbons February 18, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Well said Tony Waterman the young lady should’ve taken up the wrapper, these people take the same stupid attitude into the workplace. The mother is a jackass-cart.


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