As member of the Executive Council, Commissioner Bruce Zagers said he had accepted the invitation of students of Saba Comprehensive School to come to the school on Friday and listen to their grievances. This writes The Daily Herald. The students are concerned about the dismissal of Principal Hemmie van Xanten and a quarter of all teachers by the school board.
Zagers is not the Commissioner of Education, but went to the school instead of Commissioner Chris Johnson, who is currently off-island. “I am a member of the Executive Council, and as such I accepted the invitation of the students and went to the school,” Zagers explained. Together with Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Zagers spoke with a number of students about their concerns, for instance about their final exams. “We agreed to go by the school to listen to the students under the condition that it would be done during the break period so that this would not disrupt any school time. This was communicated with the principal, who also supported our request. This was also communicated to the students, who did not object,” Zagers said. Zagers said he disagreed with reports that students did not return to class after the meeting. “This is also not true, as school continued as normal,” he said.
The Commissioner said he wanted to make it clear that the Governor and he were never informed about a planned meeting with the parents. “We were not aware that parents wanted to meet with us. “When I saw some parents, I was of the opinion that they were there to support the students, seeing that parents had also signed the petition. We left promptly because of our own initial request to have the demonstration done during the break period. “While we were leaving, the school bell rang and students returned to class shortly after this. It was not our intention to stay at the school all morning to further disrupt the students,” Commissioner Zagers stated.