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May 19, 2022

B.N.T.U. Comes Out Against Bullying and Abuse of Teachers

Senator Elena Smith

Hard on the heels of a statement issued by the Belize National Teachers Union on Wednesday, a press conference was held this morning to address the issue involving Joanna Ysaguirre. She is the primary school teacher from St. Luke Methodist who went viral earlier this week when she posted a live testimony of an ordeal she was experiencing with the administration and management of that institution. The emotional account of what has been taking place under the headship of the principal has raised the ire of many, and today B.N.T.U. President, Senator Elena Smith shared her initial reaction to what she saw on Monday night.


Senator Elena Smith, President, B.N.T.U.

“The teacher couldn’t take anymore and she, I guess that was her way of venting, you know, releasing some of what she was experiencing. [It was] one of pain because we understand fully that our teachers do go through these things and many of them do so but they say nothing and, you know, that may be for fear of losing a job, for any other repercussions that might come with them speaking out. So it was really and truly a painful testimony to listen to, really and truly. After listening to that, actually I cried with her. I mean, you actually shed tears with that teacher just to hear because you know that it’s the truth. Unfortunately, it’s the truth that many people try to hide.”


Keishia Smith

Keishia Smith, Secretary General, B.N.T.U.

“The issue of the lunch hour, teachers are entitled to an hour lunch period and within that lunch period they should be able to do whatever they feel they need to do for that time. The management, however, or the administration can ask the teacher and this is the discussion I had with the principal and vice principal at the onset of this issue that if you are going to infringe on a teacher time, you have to get that teacher’s permission, you have to get that buy in. And these teachers were only getting correspondences telling them that this is the new norm for them. And so I tried to get both principal and vice principal to have a sit-down with the teachers, you know, ask me for my time, don’t just take my time away from me because you’re taking away my rightful time.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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