EDUCATION Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday described the teacher who stands accused of verbal and physical abuse of her students at the Tranquillity Government Primary School, as a “threat to students” and as such, a “cease to report for work” order will be issued to her.
Apart from the Ministry investigating incidents in which the teacher was secretly recorded by some students as she went on her verbal tirade and also when she shared licks, the Teaching Service Commission is also investigating and is expected to take further disciplinary action.
Garcia held a press conference after he toured Tranquillity Govt Primary and met with the school’s staff members. He said that all relevant information pertaining to the teacher and her actions, will be sent to the Commission sometime today.
The teacher has since been reassigned to another post in the school’s administrative section. After the information is sent to the Commission, Newsday was told, a letter ordering the teacher to cease from duty will be issued. Garcia said he hadn’t spoken to the teacher because this could interfere with the ministry’s ongoing investigation.
“If that is the type of behaviour being carried out by a teacher, then we can consider her to be a threat to the safety of our children and to those who operate in this school on a daily basis,” Garcia said yesterday.
Newsday exclusively reported last Friday, that a teacher had been recorded verbally abusing students in the classroom. She was also recorded beating children in contravention of long-standing rules on corporal punishment.
A parent sent five voice-notes recorded by her son, to Newsday.
The parent said students have been complaining for three years but the allegations were tossed aside by the school’s administration being too absurd to be believed.
The teacher is heard in the recordings, using racist remarks, abusing individual student, telling them they should jump in front of a moving bus and also that she is hoping to be suspended since she can receive her fall pay and then retire with a pension.
Following the Newsday story, five officers from the ministry’s support services division moved in to provide counselling to the students. Garcia said he was “disappointed” to know the matter wasn’t brought to the attention of the ministry much earlier as it was clear, “Some of the things recently exposed have been going on for some time without our knowledge.”
“It seems to us, apart from the rants from the teacher, there is a feeling of indiscipline amongst not only students but the teaching staff. Staff members revealed there are issues of tardiness in performance and violation of the ministry’s regulations.”
Garcia said he was left with “a painful feeling in my stomach” at what transpired at this school. “The school has a history of corporal punishment being administered to our students so much so that two members of staff are faced with Regulations 90 where they have been asked to give reasons why disciplinary actions shouldn’t be taken against them.”
He said teachers were secretly hosting private lessons, for money, on the school compound which is against the rules of the ministry.
The ministry will be meeting with the schools supervisor in the near future to address these issues and make recommendations to fix the current leadership problem at the school.
Officials of the Child Protection Unit told Newsday they will not comment on the matter because of the sensitive stage their investigations have reached.
Efforts to reach the teacher, over the course of two days, have failed as called to her cellphone went unanswered and WhatsApp messages were not returned.
TTUTA vice-president Kyrla Robinson-Thomas has called for a thorough investigation and for “the chips to fall where they may.”
She said the ministry can only make recommendations and it is up to the Teaching Service Commission to take disciplinary action if it deems this course necessary.