Linden teachers protest over unruly students

Teachers from Linden yesterday took to the streets to protest the unruly and disrespectful behaviour of their students and said they will maintain similar lines of action until they receive justice, even as ministry officials say children need to be more responsible.

Yesterday teachers of the Wisburg Secondary School, Linden, congregated in front of the school before beginning their march to Amelia’s Ward and then to the Wisroc Bus Park.

Though the protest started out with teachers from Wisburg, it quickly grew as teachers from schools all over Linden turned out to show their solidarity as well as to protest similar issues.

The President, Colin Bynoe, and Chairman of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), as well as a representative of the Regional Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) report engaged the teachers at the end of their protest. From all indications the teachers are livid at the way they are currently treated at the hands of students. It is this frustration that grew and eventually manifested itself in the actions seen yesterday.

One teacher in particular said that though displeasure at the growing delinquency and misbehaviour of students has existed for some time, the events which took place at the school on February 4th were “the last straw.”

Last month Michelle Richards, a 25 year old teacher at the Wisburg Secondary School was rushed to the Mackenzie Hospital after a falling table top fractured her skull. The incident was reportedly orchestrated by the fourth form students the teacher was about to teach because of past altercations.

One of Richards’ colleagues informed Stabroek News yesterday that the young teacher still suffers from fevers and headaches, and that she may be considering leaving the profession.

The protesting teachers were allegedly told by Bynoe that all of Richards’ medical expenses would be footed by the Ministry of Education.

After Richards’ incident the teachers had indicated that if sufficient actions were not taken to address the ongoing situation at the school, a strike was imminent.

The teacher said that two or three weeks prior to the first trap, another failed attempt was made against another teacher. She explained that while teaching a class, a teacher noticed that a student was on his phone. Upon realizing this, the teacher reportedly asked the student for their math book and was told by the student that he did not have one. The teacher then proceeded to lament the student’s persistent bad behaviour before leaving the class to go make a complaint. Before the teacher could get to the office, two students exited the class and convinced the teacher to go back to the class room. However, while returning to her class room the teacher was stopped by another teacher who discovered the plot.

The other teacher, whose office is close to the class room, reportedly became curious after the usually noisy classroom became quiet. Upon realizing this, the teacher was said to have investigated the surroundings of the class room, during which the trap, similar to the one which injured Richards, was discovered.

“These children are remorseless, we can’t beat them and they tell you that to your face. When we were marching and said that we wanted justice they came out skinning their teeth, asking `yall want justice nuh?’ They’re remorseless”, the teacher said last evening.
The GTU officers reportedly told the teachers that on their visits to various schools they have seen many notices informing children of the rights they possess, but nothing about the responsibilities that come with those rights.

The teachers have stated that they are prepared to maintain industrial action until a serious decision is taken to address their matter.

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