Parent cries Injustice at a Private School in GB

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Monday May 31st 2010

Dear Editor,
My daughter is a 12th grade student at a private school on Grand Bahama. I am writing this letter because of an incident that occurred between my daughter and the Vice Principle at that school on Thursday January 7th 2010.

The Vice principle asked my daughter what she intended to do with her life after she graduated. My daughter went on to explain what her intentions were; after which, the Vice Principle told my daughter; she never joined any of the clubs provided at the school and when she graduate’s she would have nothing on her transcript which is essential and it plays a major role for employment or college.

My daughter begun to give her reason for not joining any of the clubs when the Vice Principle told her; she never joined nothing, she never donates to nothing, she never takes part in nothing so she might as well call her ‘Nothing’ because she don’t do nothing. My daughter said; this was said to her in front of the entire commerce class and the teacher that was conducting the class.

My daughter came home on numerous occasions complaining about the Vice principle’s treatment of her and I would always tell her she will be out of there soon and she must grin and bear it until such time as she graduate’s but this time the Vice principle was way out of line. I was going to let it go but it kept bothering me then I made an appointment to see the Principle at 10.30 am on Monday February 8th 2010, which was exactly one month since the incident happened.

During the appointment l explained the behavior of the Vice principle toward my daughter to the Principle who sent for the Vice principle who swore she never told my daughter she will be nothing. She said she told my daughter she would have nothing on her transcript. At that point; I told the Principle, there is no way the Vice Principle could have said she would have nothing on her transcript and my daughter would interpret it as her saying she would be nothing and my daughter said it was the class topic for days after it happened.

After the Principle’s disappointing response to the matter, I told both the Principle and the Vice Principle; this was not the end and even though my daughter was taken out of class in the middle of her math period both the Principle and the Vice Principle kept my daughter through out the entire history period that followed drilling her to change her story but she stuck to it because she knew what was said to her.

The Principle called me on Wednesday February 10th 2010 to say she was satisfied after talking with the teacher and the students that my daughter had misinterpreted what the Vice Principle had said. I told her in spite of the teacher and the students not backing my daughter’s accusation, which I knew was due to the fear of retaliation from the Vice Principle, there was no way my daughter could have misinterpreted what the Vice Principle had said and she was not foolish enough to tell an outright lie on the Vice Principle. I told the Principle I was not pleased with the out come and I knew for a fact the Vice Principle tend to favour the boys over the girls when ever there is conflict between students and she has been mistreating students for years and there are former students who can prove she did and she continues to get away with it because no one was prepared to take the stand I am taking.

This unfair treatment toward the students has to stop. I wrote a letter to the School administrator on Monday February 15th 2010 complaining about the situation and after waiting for a reply for over a month another letter was written to the administrator threatening to go to the media after which a meeting was set for Thursday May 13th 2010 at 7. p m at his office.  At the meeting, the Vice Principle continued denying the fact that she said my daughter would be nothing and she refused to apologize and she said she never would. The administrator who in my opinion knew she was guilty, and was doing a balancing act, told the Vice Principle she did not have to apologize if she knew she didn’t say it but he would like her to apologize for being misunderstood. She told him she is not afraid of me and there was no way she would apologize in any way. I brought this injustice to the attention of the public because a Vice Principle is one who should build the esteem of the students not break it down.

Derek B. Russell-Sr
Freeport Grand Bahama

  • Right now, this is all hearsay. What all of things that are going down on these school premises these day, this isn’t very hard for me to be able to believe something like this could have occurred, but before I can form a personal option, I need to get the facts. Personally, I think it is well and good that you are making the public aware of what you believe is happening at your daughter’s school and the support that you are showing for your child. What you failed to mention though, is what type of child you know your daughter to be. Do think she is capable of concocting up a story like this about the Vice Principal and what do you think would be her motive? What is her reasons for not participating in the school activities? Have you ever considered moving her to another school? If in fact it did go down the way she told you it happened, those teachers and office administrators might hold it against her for exposing them and you don’t know if they are petty enough to try and make things difficult for her at school. This is probably the reason why, the other children wont confirm her story, they don’t want to be in sort of mix up, where things might get nasty around school. We have some mess up people in these school system, when some of them are not molesting the children, they are sitting down and talking bad about them, telling them they will never amount to anything, when they are suppose to be encouraging the children and pushing them to excel and be all that they could be. The truth is, a lot of them see it as only an occupation. I remembered, when I was in school some of my teachers used to brag all the time to the whole class, “if you learn, you learn, either way I still getting a pay cheque.” The only thing I could suggest to you is to continue to support your daughter and let her know that people will think or say things about her, but they don’t have the power to determine her future. It is all up to her and the decisions she makes in her life, that will determine whether or not she amount to anything. Also, try to get her to participate in school activities, unless she has a valid reason as to why she is not able to do so, like maybe she has a medical condition for instance. Whatever the valid reason is, you need to inform the school so they would be aware of it. Love your child, but at the same time let her know you don’t have time to be tolerating foolishness and you don’t condone rude behaviour.

  • sylvia baker

    Dear Parent:

    As a teacher, I appreciate your support of your child and your willingness to pursue justice.

    I have witnessed similar examples of teachers and principals demeaning students and have written letters of protest all the way up to the minister of education without any obvious success.

    If more parents were willing to step forward, we would see improvement in the system of education.

    Nevertheless, your child will benefit from the positive example you’ve provided.

    Sylvia Baker

  • John did you read your response first before you press sent. I try not to take side when am only hearing one side of the story because you end up with egg on your face. There are so many things happening in our school today that are very disturbing. I find myself saying where is the Mr. Thompson from Hawksbill High who got to the bottom of the matter before it became a story. Don’t get me wrong Hawksbill had it share of problems but the teachers knew who he was as well as the student. As parents and teacher we need to learn how to speak to our children and try to work things out in the classroom. At the end of the day we want the best for the children of this nation. Lets build up our kids and not tear them down, what we see today is our responsibility. Pray my people

  • John Rolle

    I do believe the parent ought to encourage his child to participate rather than attacking the teacher, because it is desired that students not only acquire knowledge but also contribute to the community in which they exist.

    Secondly, I do believe the parent could have benefited from an additional year of schooling or a dictionary, such that he learn that although homonyms sounds alike they have different meanings. “Principle” means a basic truth, however “Principal” means an educator who has administrative authority.

    It is unfortunate that as a parent the first thing he seeks to do is to attack the school and demand and apology, without thought of the message he is inadvertently sending to his daughter.

    The only message I got from this is:
    1. NO one can say nothing to you.
    2. Don’t be a nation builder or community minded student, rather just flow through school without any direction.
    3. Daddy will always fight your battle, rather than encourage you to do the right thing, and look at the issue, rather than focus on the noise.
    4. Illiteracy is standardized, and respect for authorities is now negotiated.

    I will encourage parents to wake up, and be careful of the seeds they sow, because when you reap the fruit it may not be so sweet.

  • John

    I do believe the parent ought to encourage his child to participate rather than attacking the teacher, because it is desired that students not only acquire knowledge but also contribute to the community in which they exist.

    Secondly, I do believe the parent could have benefited from an additional year of schooling or a dictionary, such that he learn that although homonyms sounds alike they have different meanings. “Principle” means a basic truth, however “Principal” means an educator who has administrative authority.

    It is unfortunate that as a parent the first thing he seeks to do is to attack the school and demand and apology, without thought of the message he is inadvertently sending to his daughter.

    The only message I got from this is:
    1. NO one can say nothing to you.
    2. Don’t be a nation builder or community minded student, rather just flow through school without any direction.
    3. Daddy will always fight your battle, rather than encourage you to do the right thing, and look at the issue, rather than focus on the noise.
    4. Illiteracy is standardized, and respect for authorities is now negotiated.

    I will encourage parents to wake up, and be careful of the seeds they sow, because when you reap the fruit it may not be so sweet.