Linden student debarred from exams over refusal to apologise to teacher

A Linden parent is calling for action in an incident where her child, a student of Wisburg Secondary School, was denied the opportunity to complete end-of-year exams because she refused to apologise to a teacher.

The child, whose bicycle went missing from the school on June 20, had been told that the teacher in question had taken the cycle and left it at a location in One Mile Wismar. The bike was subsequently recovered.

The student’s mother said she had instructed her daughter to make a complaint to the school’s head after a number of students alleged that a male teacher had “borrowed” the bicycle. She said her child told her that the headmistress sent her to confront the teacher, which she did not do. Instead, the child and her mother made a report at the Wisroc Police Station. The police officer on duty made contact with the school and advised the parent to return to the school to deal with the matter.

The woman said that a senior teacher was instructed to deal with the issue and in a confrontation the accused teacher denied taking the bike. The students, who claimed initially that they were eyewitnesses, then denied naming the teacher.

The parent said the senior teacher then began to address a football matter with the male teacher, which she interrupted, pressing for a resolution of her daughter’s issue. There was an exchange of words then between the parent and the senior teacher. On the advice of the police, the matter was reported to the Regional Schools’ Welfare Department.

The next day, the disturbed mother said, her daughter was called out of her end-of-term examination by the head teacher and told that she could not continue unless she apologized to the teacher. Follow-ing the instructions of her mother, the child did not apologize. She returned to school the following day and was again summoned again to the head teacher’s office and instructed to write an apology. When she refused, the mother said, “the head mistress sent her home and told her not to return until she writes the apology.” The mother was at the school uplifting the uniform voucher and was summoned to a meeting with the head teacher and other senior members of staff. She said she informed the school’s head that procedures were breached since a written document should have been sent to her indicating the decision taken by the school.

She said that if the school did not follow the correct procedure her daughter would continue to attend school without the apology letter. To date the parent has not been furnished with the document and the child continued attending school as normal. However, she was barred from entering exam sessions and was repeatedly escorted out of the school.

The angry parent alleged that her daughter has also been a victim of several forms of abuse from other teachers and her bicycle wheels were repeatedly punctured and slashed at school.

Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo, who heads the Regional Education Com-mittee, said he was informed of the matter a few days ago and has since engaged the relevant education officer. He said he expects a report today.

“And not only a report, but what actions would be taken to ensure that the child would have been given the opportunity, as she so rightly deserves, to take her class examinations,” Mingo said. He expressed the view that there is no correlation between the two issues — the bicycle and being barred from the examinations — though they both would have occurred at the school.

He added subsequent to the report a course of action would be decided.

Over the years the school has been grappling with several issues of indiscipline by students including, the use of weapons in violent encounters by students. Several interventions were made by the Department of Education, which have had some effect.

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