The Daily Herald writes that concerned parents protesting Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) board’s decision to fire the principal and a quarter of teachers are angered by the lack of answers from any officials. Parents showed up at school at the appointed time on Friday morning, only to see Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and Commissioner of Education Bruce Zagers leave and to find out no school board members had showed up to meet them.
Parents Christalle Diane Klaber, Patricia Nation and Janet Wilson-Hassell said students entering their exams of the Caribbean Examinations Council CXC are placed under tremendous stress by these decisions that target the very teachers their children said helped most with their preparations. A student reportedly suffered epileptic seizures because of stress and confusion caused by this situation. One teacher, allegedly pressured by a disgruntled board member, reportedly had to take medical leave due to a heart condition acerbated under this circumstance.
Parents and students believe a board member had pressured this dismissed teacher for failing to favourably evaluate her child. Nation asked why SCS board had not called parents into a meeting to justify their actions. “We have children in this school, it is our business to know,” she said, in requesting accountability. Thus far, she had only been told “to mind my own business.” Klaber wants the stipulation in the employment contract allowing the board to fire teachers without justification to be struck as illegal and that any decision should be postponed until after student exams.
The parents also question the qualifications of the three board members and request proof that the board has evaluated the affected teachers on their performance. The justification for the decision to dismiss teachers must be made public, they argue.
In strong language, parent Wilson-Hassell lamented that a SCS board member, who in the recent past allegedly posted nude pictures of herself online, pictures which were also distributed to students, was not reprimanded but is now allowed to make decisions that affect the future of Saba’s youth. She argued that individuals that distribute pornographic materials to children should have no moral standing to evaluate and fire good teachers respected by teachers and parents.
The parents questioned the judgment of officials who appointed the current SCS board members with no parental input. Contacted by The Daily Herald, the school board failed to respond to questions.
I would just like to clarify that no one was “fired,” they were informed that their contracts would not be extended or renewed for the coming school year. I think saying that the teachers and Principal were fired is quite offensive to them.
As much as parents think it would be a good idea to inform teachers that they will not be rehired, it would be very short notice. Informing teachers in June that their contracts will not be renewed would not give them much time to find a new job, nor give the school board adequate time to search for a new teacher.
“The parents questioned the judgment of officials who appointed the current SCS board members with no parental input.” Perhaps they should ask the Principal, since he was on the school’s past task force which helped to form the present school board.