Students of the East End Primary school were met with locked gates this morning (9 November) when they turned up for classes today, as parents joined together to protest the absence of a full time teacher for the 5th grade class for the last three weeks.
After the main teacher was sent on leave, the substitute teacher, who is also teaching the third grade class and parents say the current set up just isn’t cutting it.
“It is unfair on the students, just to have assistant teachers there and not a qualified teacher ,” said PTA President for East End Primary, Joy Vernon.
Foe three weeks, the fifth grade class at East End Primary has been without a permanent teacher, due to an on-going investigation involving the RCIPS. But for the PTA President and parent school must go on.
“We want a qualified teacher in the class room, we are giving them 48 hrs to expedite the investigation to either have the teacher back and if they cannot have the teacher back we’re demanding a qualified teacher to be here,” said Mrs. Vernon.
The investigation is ongoing and is said to involve an inappropriate behavior allegation, the schools third grade teacher is assigned to the class, but parent Joy Boucher said that change is impacting her son.
“He is going to be penalyzed in a way that he is not able to do the classes that he is spposed to do because the teacher that is the prime teacher for that class is now having to teach year fives” said Ms. Boucher.
“And the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the ministry and the department of education to ensure that our children are properly resourced, the schools are properly resourced,” said MLA for East End, Hon. Arden McLean.
Mr. McLean was responding to the parents action as he received their petition for the education ministry.
“Which we have been talking about for years, that the school is under resourced and no one pays attention, I trust that this now gets their attention,” said Mr. McLean.
Director for Education Services, Lyneth Monteith was on scene at the protest, she introduced a new teacher to fill the gap.
“As of today, Mrs. Bell will be there in the class room with the assistant teacher and we will continue to see where we can find, ” said Director for Education Services, Lyneth Monteith.
Parents rejected the announcement, vowing to keep their kids away from school. As for the kids, they tried to keep the school spirit alive.
“Is it fair upon our students? No it isn’t fair upon them and that’s why we are here to demand a qualified teacher,” said Mrs. Vernon.
Mrs. Monteith said she is still working on finding a permanent teacher for the class. This afternoon the ministry issued a statement on the staffing situation saying:
“Following the initiation of an investigation by the R.C.I.P.S, a teacher at East End Primary School was placed on the 17th of October. The Investigation was a a result of a child protection referral alleging inappropriate behavior by the teacher. The teacher has been temporarily relocated to the Department of Education Services, which enables the class to receive indirect educational support from the teacher though the provision of planning and monitoring of classwork. The principal has made arrangements to facilitate the teaching of the class by using internal staffing.”