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Feb 10, 2023

Father of Former Canaan High School Student Responds to B.N.T.U. Release; Meets with M.O.E. Officials

The father of an aggrieved former Canaan Seventh Day High School student who claims one of the teachers at the high school had sent her indecent messages has met with officials of the Ministry of Education. The father informed News Five today that he met on Thursday with the ministry officials to discuss the allegation and the course of action that follows such an allegation. The upset father also responds to a press release released by the Belize National Teachers’ Union, B.N.T.U., on Thursday. In the release, the Union stated that it in no way defends the actions of any teacher who takes lightly the sacred trust bestowed upon them in this profession. Furthermore, the Union states that it condemns any form of paedophilic behavior. The Union said that its role as a union is to represent its members on all matters that pertain to their employment to ensure that due process, as outlined in the Education Act and Rules, is adhered to by Administrations, and Management and the Ministry. But this does not mean it defends teachers culpable of misconduct or indecency. Today the father responded to the B.N.T.U. release, but first, he briefed us on how the meeting with the ministry went.

 

Voice of: Father of Former Canaan Highschool Student

Voice of: Father of Former Canaan Seventh Day Adventist High School Student

“I had a meeting yesterday with the Ministry of Education. It lasted about seventy-five minutes. Several of the team members and officers, the CEO and the Education Officer, General Manager was there in the meeting. The meeting was very productive. I was walked through the entire process of when incidents like this happens from beginning to end, who does what when, how along with the timelines. So I’m very grateful to them to meet with me and to explain that to me. I must say there is an ongoing effort by the ministry to work with the school to educate them on these process to ensure that they’re followed, that there’s accountability and to ensure that there’s no gaps or delays. As it relates to the press release, there are two main things: The first thing is the comments that Ms Smith had as it relates to “teachers cannot just be put on administrative leave just like that.” That’s wrong. Yes, they can, especially for incidents of this nature, of this gravity. So that’s erroneous, that’s wrong. The other thing is that she misspoke when she said that parents just can’t all act hastily – something to that effect, I’m paraphrasing here. But she made it seem that in this incident, the parent (me) just ran in there all willy-nilly and didn’t give a chance for due process to happen. Number one, that’s not true, number two, that’s absurd. That school had a week to act on this before I went to the media houses. They were told multiple times that I would go to the media houses should they fail to act and they did. They failed to put a teacher, with ample evidence that was provided, on administrative leave. It was not until I went to the media houses.”

 

The father also said that when he asked the ministry officials if any other matter was brought to their attention about an incident involving another teacher who was fired, their response was that, to their recollection, no report of such was made. This, he says, prompts him to question if that teacher still holds a teacher’s license.


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