The Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has reinstated Jeanne Jeffrey who was recently disciplined for breaching the corporal punishment code to her full status as a trained graduate with immediate effect with no loss of pay, but she has been barred from promotion for two years.
This is according to a letter signed by secretary to the commission Franchesca Vieira.
The letter which was copied to the Chief Education Officer, Regional Executive Officer, and Regional Education Officer, stipulated that Jeffrey has been barred from promotion for two years commencing from March 1, 2009 to February 28, 2011.
The document stated too that the teacher attached to the Berbice High School had breached the code governing corporal punishment.
When Stabroek News visited the learning institution yesterday, the reinstated teacher was back in the classroom with the same batch of students involved in the disciplinary incident. The form three students were elated at her resumption and greeted her with loud cheers and hugs.
President of the Parent-Teacher Association Ganesh Gangadin told this reporter that while the association is not too pleased that Jeffrey is being debarred from promotion over a two-year period, the body is satisfied that the disciplinary committee which comprised of Leila Ramson, Chairperson of the TSC, and others had reinstated her to her former position.
On Tuesday the Parent-Teacher Association of the Berbice High School called off the protest action planned for that day pending the outcome of a meeting scheduled with the TSC, the headmistress of the school, and the teacher who was disciplined.
PTA president Gangadin told the media that the association clearly understands that the teacher had violated the code under which she is employed by administering corporal punishment in the manner that she did. However, he noted that the PTA in collaboration with the student body and the Guyana Teachers Union supported an initiative for the teacher to be reinstated as the judgment had taken too long and the students were suffering. Consequently the protest action last week Friday according to him was an act done in haste.
He proposed to use more diplomacy should the need arise and would instead rely on the Minister of Education for any intervention.
Gangadin had noted that the teacher teaches social studies and reading in addition to marking the School-Based Assessments commonly referred to as SBAs
The teacher, he said, had apologized to the affected students along with their parents and so the matter should have been dealt with expeditiously, as consideration should have been given to the affected students who are preparing to write the regional examinations.
“While (the teacher) is the centre of this matter,” the PTA president noted, “Sir Mangra, the head of the Agriculture Department was transferred to the Vryman’s Erven Secondary School since the commencement of the school term and has not been replaced.”
According to Gangadin a meeting was held with Regional Education Officer Shafiran Bhajan who had given the commitment to replace Mangra and fast track the investigation in relation to the teacher but this has not been done.
Describing the disciplined teacher as an excellent worker based on credibility and character, and who holds the position of secretary of the PTA, the president said she should be given the opportunity to correct her error.
He concluded that the incident occurred owing to a poor welfare system in the school between teacher and students as the matter was not reported to the headmistress but to a parent.
Jeffrey was alleged to have flogged 31 students in the class, including girls, with a “bamboo rod” on their buttocks for not submitting assignments on time.
The Education Ministry has said repeatedly that corporal punishment should not be administered to students for schoolwork. Under these circumstances the teacher would then have erred.
The Region Six Regional Education Officer had received approval from the TSC to send the teacher on leave until the matter was fully investigated. Addition-ally, it was revealed that the Chief Education Officer (CEO) had written a letter advising that the teacher should return to duty but this had not found favour with the Education Ministry.