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Feb 21, 2011

Sadie Vernon High’s dilemma between Admin and Teachers not resolved

Although a good education was the focus of all involved in Friday’s dispute at Sadie Vernon High, the teachers and the administration clearly have not found a suitable middle ground in working towards that goal. Over three hundred students were sent home while the teachers complained of several injustices including the firing of two teachers.  Today, the Board of Management sent a scathing release citing its rights in the handbooks of policies to “institute disciplinary measures against any teacher or other member of staff for using without proper authorization the property or facilities of the school. Blatant disrespect for the school’s managing authority was exhibited by those who initiated and/or participated in Friday’s activity.” The students are back in the classrooms, but according to a teacher, there is a virtual go-slow at the institution. News Five Jose Sanchez found out more.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Sadie Vernon High School students were sent home promptly at 10:30 am on Friday while teachers met with the media to discuss problems that have festered with the administration.

Sophia Gillett Trapp

Sophia Gillett Trapp, Teacher, Sadie Vernon High School

“Don’t violate our principles. We stand for fairness. That’s all we’re asking for and let Sadie Vernon be a better place.”

The board of Directors held a meeting on Saturday which was attended by Kendis Ferguson, the staff representative, as well as by Darrell Humes, the President of the Parent Teacher Association.

Darrell Humes, President, P.T.A., Sadie Vernon High School

Darrell Humes

“The Chairperson of the Board decided to send the children home because they were left unattended when the teachers went into the press conference and to avoid any problems; you know, having eleven classes without any adult supervision. In the best interest of the children, she thought it was best that they go home.”

Jose Sanchez

“Today is Monday, it appears that classes are back on as normal. The school seems pretty quiet.”

Darrell Humes

“Well it’s quiet right now, but from what I understand the teachers are in their class and they have a sit in. I don’t think they are doing anything according to what I understand. I haven’t gone into any classroom and looked at the situation, but my understanding is that they are sitting in today and tomorrow they are planning to come in, they won’t go into the classroom and on Wednesday, they won’t come to classes any at all. That’s the understanding that I have.”

In addition to the firing of two colleagues, on Friday the teachers outlined three important concerns that need to be remedied at Sadie Vernon.

German Tzul, Teacher, Sadie Vernon High School

German Tzul

“One of them being the restoration of integrity of the school—we want to restore the integrity of the school. It’s not really teachers against the principal, teachers against the vice-principal, teachers against the board; our goal is to achieve a bigger objective which is the integrity of the school. That’s one of it. The second one is the upliftment of the standards here at the school. What will we get with that? We will get better successes in our students, better achievement. And the last one; we want to rebuild the image of Sadie Vernon. A lot of people out there will think of Sadie Vernon as a troubled school or making reference to the students or even to the children. We want to change all that image, but how can that happen? Even if it means a change of administration, we will fully embrace that. I think that is the first step to achieve all of our objectives. It is something collective and we stand in unity and this is no petty talk like before. We will stand and nobody will come with any false promises that we will do this or go back to your classroom and we’re gonna work things out. No! We are sick and tired of that because dismissing somebody is a very, very serious situation. People even comparing the dismissal of somebody to the loss of a human being, of a friend, you know, when somebody dies, it is the same pain somebody goes through when you lose your job. So we’re taking this very seriously and we will not stop. We are unstoppable, we’re gonna work this thing together and we will reap our benefits at the end of the day with the assistance of the union, of course, and the mediation of the Ministry of Education.”

But the P.T.A. president says that parents are also willing to play hardball and could take their kids out of the school.

Darrell Humes

“I am hopeful, I am very optimistic that the P.T.A. can play a role in getting this thing fixed. It’s obvious that the teachers, most of them—I’m not saying all because there are some people there who are willing to work and they work with the system and we can work with them, but what I am saying is that those who don’t want to work will have to go. That’s just it and we are going to push the board’s hand, we are going to push the board’s hand. Our children come to this school. Some of us might go to jail because we won’t send our children to school and the entire parent body is together on that. We just have to say when we are ready and they won’t send their kids into school and they might arrest us for not doing so, but the minister won’t want to leave an empty building here.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The release from the school’s board of management says that in regards to the firing of the two teachers, due process was followed.  It pointed out that the Ad Hoc Committee, is an official entity of the Board, and the teacher was represented by an attorney and a representative of the Belize Teachers’ Union. In reference for the second teacher, he was on probation and failed to satisfy the conditions of his initial period of probation and also committed further infractions. Nonetheless, the board conceded that the decision to fire the two teachers can be appealed within thirty days to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education. This afternoon, the B.N.T.U. had a different take. According to the union, the school management failed in carrying out its duties as stipulated in the Handbook of Policies and Procedures and it calls for the resignation of the members of the School Board.

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9 Responses for “Sadie Vernon High’s dilemma between Admin and Teachers not resolved”

  1. Disappointed says:

    I uphold what the teachers are doing. We the ordinary citizens do not have a clue what all trials and tribulations these teachers go through on a day to day basis. Not all teachers are lazy or are just teaching for the money as society views some, there are some that actually cares. Lately, how society is I give the teachers respect to remain optimistic when they attend classes. In my opinion Darrell Humes is setting no example for his child or children. What will be obtain by not sending his child to school? It is only the child that will be the loser.

  2. Justice says:

    Teachers may have isues to deal with but here they are wasting tax payers maoney to the detriment of the students. Fire them and get real role models!

  3. The Educated One says:

    @ Justice…firing them makes the sitution worst…PLEASE suggest something else. Something more thought out…PLEASE.

  4. Scooby says:

    @ Justice…..Very good idea..if you are a kindergarten student, since you are a bit more mature, please conjure a better idea. A high turn over rate at any organization spells trouble. So lets go back to the drawing board and come up with something better. Something that would make the teachers motivated and whilst creating an atmosphere of learning for our children.

  5. Earl Grey says:

    NOW would be a GOOD TIME to INTRODUCE the idea of ………SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS.


    This could be done through an agency.

  6. Justice says:

    Scooby, her the teachers are acting as if they are the children. A high turnover rate spells trouble but change is always good. Sometimes people become so comfortable in doing crap that they actually belive it is right. The way the teachers are acting is like a spolit child so treat them as such. In this day and age where people want jobs, they would be working to get one instead of trying to shirk to maintain one.

    The teachers here seem to have a track record and it has been adopted by the students. You see how Belize is, do we want another set of unruly individuals to be entering the society wheh they graduate. Action must be taken and obviously the teachers want their way or no wa at all. I maintain , fire them and introdce new teachers who are willing to do just that.

    I know of well respected school, not in Belize where a similar situation happened and peiple and parents opposed the idea as like you they felt it was too frastic, You know what, today the school is beter off without those that wanted to run the school their way and not to the student’s benefit.

    Like you guesse, i am more mature and have amassed a welth of experience so I know why I say these things. Look beyond the horizon.

  7. Dream says:

    We live in a society in which values and morals are lost, teachers are trying to restore that which some parent fail to provide. The focus should be on motivating the teachers and helping them to help our childre. Lets get real crime rate is high because some parents forget to be parents. School is the only place that can save some of our children. Give the teachers a break. Too much authorities in an institution can destroy it and some people on the board are only there to protect their personal interest. take Ecumenical for example dictatorship is clear as administration does not value staff.

  8. Dream says:

    I admire teachers as they struggle and fight for students coping with some disrespectful and ungrateful administration, board and parent. Teaching is a 24 hour job and trust me teachers owe more than anybody, so the job is not all that it is cut out to be but we are there for the children. So when boards and administration disrespect teachers it cuts. Take Ecumenical they boast about CXC and adminitration treat teachers like $#!tttttttttttttt.

  9. Disgusted! says:

    While I uderstand the plight of these dedicated teachers, some of these student are beyond reform and should be left to suffer the concequences of their behaviors rather than having parents and teachers wasting resources to try and educate them. I say this based on observation of some their social lives. Go to B.T.L. Park, Palm Island or Club Next on any given wkend and see for yourselves!!!

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