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Apr 17, 2018

Gwen Liz Teachers Sit Out; B.N.T.U. Comes to Aid

Approximately twenty teachers of Gwen Lizarraga High School this morning staged a sit-out from classes in continuing fallout over the appointment of members of the school’s board of governors. While from the outside it appeared as though things looked normal, the protesting teachers, we are told, remained inside the staff room rather than teach class. The school’s acting principal is said to have nominated former representative on the board for the Belize City Council Alifa Elrington to the seat vacated by the community representative, despite vociferous objections by the teachers following a meeting on Monday. While no teachers would appear on the record and we were barred from the compound, information we have received is that there are questions concerning financial expenditure by members of the board and a general state of unhappiness with affairs at the school dating back to the removal of Doctor Lorna McKay as principal last year. The Belize National Teachers’ Union has been kept informed of events and according to first vice president Luke Palacio, the teachers have a point.

 

Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, First Vice President, Belize National Teachers’ Union

“I was asked to accompany the executive secretary here, Mrs. Keesha Young, to discuss a situation here at Gwen Liz in which an appointment is being made, or recommended to be made of the Board of Governors of this institution, in total violation of the Education Rules, in particular the Handbook of Policies for School Services and Procedures, which first came out in the year 2000. That particular section about how board members are appointed has not been amended, and so that is a bone of contention here at Gwen Liz. The teachers will be better able to speak for themselves, but they have indicated to us that this violation has been going on for quite some time. And so because of that I think they have realized that if we continue to have our own Ministry people violate the Education Rules that should govern how education is to be carried out, then we definitely have a problem. And I believe the stance they are taking is in order.”

 

Complaints have also been made about the appointment of the acting principal herself as the advertisement for applications for the post offered a limited window for anyone to apply.

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