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Apr 29, 2005

A.C.C. students walk out of classes

Story PictureIn the course of this week we have reported on several occasions that the teachers strike has been largely ineffective as the vast majority of the nation’s educators have reported to work. But while on the surface the school system has returned to normal, a closer look at certain institutions reveal that in many classrooms it’s anything but education as usual. Today I visited one Belize City school and found a restless student body that was tired of hanging around.

?Students please return to the classrooms. You are being asked to please return to the classroom.?

?Why? Why? We nuh going no way.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
This morning a large number of students at Anglican Cathedral College walked out of their classrooms despite repeated pleas by their teachers to return to school.

The young men and women say they decided to take action in protest of what happened to their Vice Principal Patrick Faber. On Thursday evening, Faber was arrested by Belmopan police following a scuffle he had with authorities outside the University of Belize campus. The students also complained of water outages at A.C.C., and that although teachers have reported to work, there is very little teaching going on due to sympathy for the strike.

Pastor Novelo, A.C.C. Student
?I mean some of them want to teach, while some are strong behind the unions and demonstrating for the future, for us, because we are going to be the future. So with them not teaching us, there won?t be a future.?

Royann Riverol, A.C.C. Student
?Nothing the happen right now with the whole school. From the week start we noh the do no work and the teacher just sit down there and do nothing, just watch we and that?s it. And we get sick and tired of it and we have to stand up fi we rights.?

Amelia Sutherland, A.C.C. Student
?I nuh mind sacrificing my education because I got my percentage from my ma… my ma wah back me up a hundred percent.?

Most of the students who walked out of school are from the third and forth form classes. Once outside the compound, they did their best to urge the rest of the student body to leave.

Adrianna Hernandez, A.C.C. Student
?A lot of them afraid because well the teachers are telling them they can?t do it. But we di try mek them know that it?s their own will, dah we wah live. They can?t tell us what to do.?

Amelia Sutherland, A.C.C. Student
?We want the first and second formers to come out because by next year third formers gone; we gone, dah they wah deh yah. So we di tell them mek they come out because they will be the future prefect and fourth formers. Mek them come and learn from we the third and fourth formers weh deh yah. But they no di understand.?

Jacqueline Woods
Why are you out of the classroom?

Dyke Sutherland, A.C.C. Student
?Well, I am just seeing everybody outside and I don?t know. Apparently they really want to go on strike because they can?t tolerate, especially what they did to our Vice Principal, so most of them are really riled up.?

Jacqueline Woods
?What did they do to your vice principal??

Dyke Sutherland, A.C.C. Student
?Well Mr. Faber, they caught him in Belmopan, they beat him, they slap him, so he is pissed off. Of course his students are also pissed off. The fourth formers are worrying about exams, but so what? Everybody is standing up for our vice principal.?

Jacqueline Woods
?How long are you students willing to stay out of the classroom??

Pastor Novelo, A.C.C. Student
?Well I mean we have exams next week Tuesday, so that we have to come for. So for today, I have been talking to a few teachers and they say that it?s your right to stand up, so that?s what we are doing.?

Principal Ismael Requena refused to speak to us about the situation despite our repeated attempts to see him. However, Administrator of the Anglican Diocese, Reverend Lloyd Neal did go to the school and speak to the students. It is not sure what was discussed, but we were told that classes have been suspended until next week Tuesday.

Monday, it will be recalled, is a public holiday… labour day.

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