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Aug 31, 2009

School year reopens, but not for Mahogany Heights students

Story PictureIt is the first day of the new primary school year. Approximately seventy thousand students registered for classes around the country. But for at least fifteen students from Mahogany Heights who headed to the primary school in the La Democracia community, things did not go well. The Ministry of Education promised earlier this year that the students from Standard three upwards would be transferred to the La Democracia Government School. But this morning, parents say they were turned back and had to trek back home in the downpour. News Five’s Duane Moody headed west and found out what happened.

Duane Moody, Reporting
Irate parents gathered at this small wooden structure that was inaugurated today as the Anglican Primary School. They were vocal about their disappointment in the education system. And according to Village Councillor, Ena Willoughby, the Ministry needs to address this matter.

Dedra Meyers, Parent
“Mahogany Heights people are a fool, a bunch of idiots. And dah so we decided to bring fi we kids cross in the harsh shower of rain with our kids, wet up from La Democracia to Mahogany Heights this morning.”

Duane Moody
“What is that distance and how many of you guys were actually out there?”

Dedra Meyers
“It was how many parents? About fifteen parents and a good amount of students.”

Ena Willoughby, Councillor, Mahogany Heights Village Council
“I asked her to let me see the principal from the school, and she said that she was busy. Well that understandable, right? I was explaining to her that the kids from Standard two to standard six should be over Democracia and from infant one to standard one was suppose to go here. And, so therefore, we had this back and forth thing. And she said she no know nothing about that and as far as she know the school at La Democracia suppose to remain the same.”

But Principal, Delmar Garcia, says that the students from Mahogany Heights were welcomed as his directive from the ministry was to accommodate them.

Delmar Garcia, Principal, La Democracia Government School
“The parents over from Mahogany Heights came over here with the students, I was busy in the office and I think I was not even given an opportunity to deal with the situation. I think these people were not even here for ten minutes and when I was able to come out, they had already left. This school is open for anybody and I am still waiting for these people to come and register the students so they can come any minute and I didn’t deny any registration towards any of these kids.”

Carol Babb, Deputy, Chief Education Officer, M.O.E.
“Children from infant one to standard two will remain here at mahogany heights, children from standard three to six will go to Democracia. After leaving here, Mister Lopez and I will have a meeting with the staff at Democracia and they will welcome the students tomorrow morning. The children are welcomed there. The teachers will welcome them, will treat them fairly—parents have nothing to worry about.”

Deputy Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb says that the registration process for both La Democracia and Mahogany Heights Primary Schools will resume tomorrow. And while that is that, we also found the condition at the school in Mahogany Heights, to be less than adequate. Babb says otherwise.

Duane Moody
“Is it adequate for a school here in this area?”

Carol Babb
“Yes, it is adequate because it’s only about forty children from what we were counting a while.”

Duane Moody
“From infant one to standard one?”

Carol Babb
“To standard two. It’s adequate and if we see that there are more students, then we will bring another building along, but it’s adequate for right now. And we are accessing the situation—we will do it on a daily basis. Mister Lopez will keep in touch with the manager of the Anglican school and with the chairperson.”

And the second of the three buildings for the school arrived shortly before two this afternoon. Duane Moody Reporting for News Five.

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