In a recent survey on one of our local television stations the people meter question was, "Should teachers be suspended as soon as accusations of sexual misconduct are raised?" The survey showed that 91 per cent said yes while nine per cent said no.
Now, if one allows his emotions to take over then one is inclined to vote yes immediately. Considering teachers are people who should be trusted with the safety and welfare of our children, any hint of misconduct on the teacher's part would cause any parent to fly off in a rage. There are serious consequences here bearing down to betrayal and disappointment.
Let us take a step backward and look more soberly at this. If we read the questionnaire carefully we would see that the term "accusations" was used. This is a serious matter. Most teachers are honest and hardworking. Had we not been blessed with such a high percentage of dedicated teachers we wouldn't have the good results we get year after year in SEA, CSEC, CAPE and at the tertiary level.
We are opening up a can of worms here if we suspend teachers "just so." Have we considered students wanting to "set up" a teacher because he/she is pressuring students to do better and improve grades? What about teachers who set rigid timelines to get assignments in? Wouldn't it be convenient to get sir of miss suspended next week because a group of naughty students contrived a plan just to get sir or miss to be absent for a while? What about students who ask for special treatment, magical improvements in grades or asking the teacher to turn a blind eye to copying, forgery and plagiarism? And the goodly teacher says no because he wants to teach the student to do the right thing.
If this be so, we are putting teachers in a very precarious and dangerous predicament. One cannot just be suspended on mere accusations. Remember the rule, "Someone is innocent until and unless proven to be otherwise."
WKS HOSEIN, Chaguanas