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Oct 8, 2012

Students and teachers protest at Orange Walk Technical

As Cayo residents demonstrated against crime, up north in Orange Walk Town, students, teachers and parents were protesting against the Technical High School Principal. They want the principal removed for a number of reasons but the protest this morning was prompted by the expulsion of a student. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports. 

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Hundreds of students and thirty-two teachers walked out of classes this morning and were joined by concerned parents as they staged a peaceful protest at the Orange Walk Technical High School. Among the myriad of issues, was the expulsion of a second form student who was accused of consuming alcohol after the principal saw her with a foam cup on carnival day.

 

Flor Rhaburn, Parent of Expelled Student

Flor Rhaburn

“I am here because the thirteenth of September they withdraw my daughter from school innocently by the principal, Miss Elizabeth Muschamp.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“Have they told you why?”

 

Flor Rhaburn

“Well she alleges that my daughter was drinking at the carnival on the eighth of September. She didn’t say anything until the thirteenth of September when seh call me and tell me that my daughter needs to withdraw because you see my daughter is a transfer from New Hope to Technical and you sign a probation.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So what did she actually see that made her think you were drinking?”

 

Janine Rhaburn

Janine Rhaburn, Expelled Student

“Because I was holding a cup.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And what was in the cup?”

 

Janine Rhaburn

“Chips.”

 

Flor Rhaburn

“They had chips for a little baby boy—one of my grandsons—they had chips in there and because she had the foam cup. Now when I came to her, I said Miss Elizabeth if you have proof I will withdraw my daughter, but you don’t have proof. Ih seh well I saw her.  My daughter says she was right next to her. You mean you couldn’t even say well girl I’m suspicious, let me smell what’s in you cup? Nothing. She wait until six days after to come and withdraw my daughter.”

 

Janine says she was standing next to a teacher when the principal claims she saw her drinking; that teacher has also been accused of providing the alcohol.

 

Janine Rhaburn

“I just want get back dah school cause now ih gwein fi wah month dat I deh out ah school. And di next thing is I mi deh wid wa teacher from right yah da Technical and she di seh dat she si di teacher pour wah drink eena wah cup fi me.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So has there been any action against that teacher or has that teacher said anything?”

 

Janine Rhaburn

“Yeah, he seh he tell her that dah noh true but she di insist and seh dat yes, she si me di drink.”

 

The other students and teachers have an entire laundry list of allegations against Principal Muschamp which were forwarded in a three page letter. They claim that she is harsh with the staff, she uses obscene language around the students, she has overloaded teachers with work, including subjects they have never taught before and that she has not been accountable with the school’s finances.

 

Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams, 2nd Form Student, Orange Walk Technical High School

“The high school is big right but the compound have lot ah animal waste right deh and ih smell bad. Fi lunch, we have to go underneath dah shed down deh, ih only got like six picnic tables and how first form and second form wah involve that? Only mostly first form wah tek dah space deh. Plus if we go more into the compound, she might give us jugs or suspension. Then the bathrooms too, we  have to get a little pass to go to the bathroom one at ah time so each teacher have two lee pass fi mek we go to the bathroom and all ah di bathrooms noh open. And right now she have her husband di work right back deh. Ih husband di do all ah di errands and everything fi di school.”

 

Sandra Tut, Parent

“What I am not agree is that this principal—last year the kids used to go home and eat, the kids that are from Orange Walk Town. But she start to say that she wants the kids eat here at the high school. But my concern is that I think that she is wrong; I think that she is supposed to give the kids that live here in Orange Walk, they should go and eat home.”

 

Flor Rhaburn

“We are supporting the teachers too because she is a very vindictive principal and she has all the teachers intimidated. But we had at least thirty-two of them out here protesting too against—that we want her to go, we want her to move from this high school. We also had the vendors here too and the vendors are protesting that they are charging too much to sell in the snack shop.”

 

Sandra Tut

Sandra Tut

“We really want this principal out of the high school. We don’t want her here and if this continues like this, if they don’t do anything about it, then parents and we expect that all the parents come and collaborate with these other parents that are here and we will strike because we don’t want her here and that’s the point, we don’t want her here.”

 

The crowd had dwindled by mid morning, but a small group of parents and students waited outside for three hours as the teachers and principal met with Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. One of the teachers, William Robinson, provided an update following that meeting.

 

William Robinson, Teacher, Orange Walk Technical High School

William Robinson

“We spoke with the Minister yes, and he guaranteed that something is going to happen. We have to realize that our students come first and we have to be responsible in the things that we do. With that in mind, what we’re going to o is we’re going to be monitoring the situation for two weeks. One of the promises is that we’re going to be having a board because right now we don’t have one. The existing board that the school has was expired; it could be that we’re facing some of these issues for that same reason. So the number one thing is that we’re going to have an established board and then whatever decisions are taken will be through that board. If things don’t go the way we want it to go, then definitely we’re going to see even more drastic measures taken by the teachers.”

 

It was also revealed in the meeting that because there wasn’t an active board, the principal had no authority to expel to Janine, who returns to school on Tuesday. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

Following the meetings, it was agreed that a board will be fully constituted within two weeks; the new board, the principal and district education manager will meet with the staff to hear their concerns by the end of the week and based on the information coming from the meetings, the board will take appropriate action. As to the matter of the student who was asked to withdraw from school, that says the Ministry of Education, will be dealt with as a separate issue by the new board. 

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17 Responses for “Students and teachers protest at Orange Walk Technical”

  1. Rod says:

    Every aspect of life in the country is in the dirt box everything is failing with this useless incompetent impotent corrupt pm and gov enough is enough people we need to make barrow resign or be swept away for incompetence guan judas barrow guan you are not wanted do the country a favor and resign

  2. air says:

    well done Orange walk, rise up to the thug mentality of Dean Barrow , fight back , rise up, go for public stike, and kik this corrupt government out .no not in 2 or 3 yeras , the sooner you rise up the sooner you will get rid of the thugs.

  3. Voice of Reason says:

    I fail to see how any of this has anythin to do with the Primeminister. If it did, I would be the first to comment about him and his lack of action in certain area. However, this article is about an apparently inept principal, and teachers and students alike having enough of it. Please, let’s not turn it into a matter of politics. Thanks.

  4. norteno says:

    Rod and Air, what does this have to do with politics, and for your information, the OW principal comes from a line of PUP families, OW is all blue if you don’t at least have your info correct.

    belizeans want better but when someone comes in with change to make better for everyone they look at it as controlling.

    best they stay in the same $#!%%%%%%%% and stay di complain. thats what they are good for.

  5. norteno says:

    this principal has done alot for this school to upbring it, from painting, remodeling, even upgrading the students ID cards to save the school money. so for those teacher that are crying misappropriation of funds, take a look around the campus and maybe you can see what she actually doing.

    the teachers and student should help her to make the school even better. if you see goat faeces clean it then, its your school too isn’t it. do a fundraiser to get more picnic tables for lunch..

    instead of complaining do something to help.. makes me wonder about these teachers and student coming out of OW

  6. Candice says:

    I definately agree with the teachers and students of OWTHS. That principal do things to satisfy herself and does not care about the well being of the other around her. I was told of a proverb about a good man: ” A good man draws a circle amongst himself and care for those withing”. Well, she definately cannot be compared to this proverb. i hope something good happens that benefit the students.

  7. Rod says:

    Even the schools are failing under this gov. And pm

  8. Belizean Amerocan says:

    Seriously?? Why do you all always go right back to blaming the PM? I am not a fan of the PM but this has NOTHING to do with him. You all are a reflection of what is wrong with our country.

  9. air says:

    to all people who said, this has nothing to do with Dean Barrow, well guess waht it doea, here is how.
    1: he takes money from tax payers money and gives it to his own law firm or his brother law firm.
    2: he goes to Miami to eat and surf , where belizean die in poverty.
    3: he made all business community lose interest in investing in Belize.

    see above , why the thug Dean Barrow has somthing to do in extorting Belize and its people.

    The thug Dean Barrow comes from a very very poor family, that why no amount of moeny is enough for him , becouse he is poor from inside .

  10. jupiter says:

    Reminds me of the movie “MATILDA”

  11. jupiter says:

    “MATILDA”

  12. bzd2dbone says:

    Just to bring things into perspective, we have to look at the entire picture. If the majority of the teachers and students are up in arms, then it means that something is wrong. And since I have inside information, I can confirm that several things are wrong, money-wise, at the OWTHS. I will not give details as that is for the Auditors to do. But concerning the sheep feces, I don’t see why ask the students to clean the feces for sheep that belongs to the principal personally. Let her take the sheep to her house and see if she will like it….

  13. Common Sense says:

    What is more worrying – the effeminate nature of the male student interviewed. What is this, UNIBAM funded school?

  14. belizean2dabone@yahoo.com says:

    SJC next!!!! Teachers stand up against injustice, unfairness, and arrogance.

  15. beachman says:

    Awesome!! I saved 17 seconds of time by NOT reading Rod’s comment blaming the PM. If I skip Rod’s comments regularly, I will have more time for important things!

  16. Anon says:

    Some principals let it go to their heads…much like Rod and Air, which just need their own websites where they can complain to themselves over and over and over and over. No reason to read their idiotic posts ever again. Hope OWTHS sees some changes.

    How can we forget that it’s supposed to be for the students?

  17. Arm says:

    O.W technical has had a bad repute when it comes to discipline. Girls seen with uniforms with men behind trees, buses or in high grass behind school. Principal just trying to straighten up things.

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