The police were extremely slack in their response to the lockout of students and teachers of the East La Penitence Primary School. The lawmen ought to have done more than simply ensure that there was no disturbance of the peace; they ought to have arrested and charged those who were responsible for locking out the students and the teachers.
There can simply be no justification for the action that was taken to barring the school compound. The actions of preventing teachers and students from accessing the compound was unlawful and therefore charges ought to have been proffered.
We are dealing here with public property and the lockout of students and teachers constituted an unauthorized action on the part of those responsible. Those responsible should face the consequences of their misguided action.
There can be no excuse of not knowing who were responsible. Those responsible for the lockout made no attempt to hide their identity. They were caught on camera and openly boasted that the action would continue until the children of the father with whom there is a problem were transferred.
The government was previously forewarned about this trend of parents taking to the barricading of schools. They were warned that continuing not to take action against this unlawful action would encourage further abuses. There is no way that parents should be allowed to get away with locking out students and teachers.
This practice of parents taking things into their own hands has persisted for too long and it is time that the government put an end to this nonsense by ensuring that those responsible are punished.
The situation is analogous to a servant turning up to his or her boss’s workplace and locking the occupants out. It is not a legitimate form of protest, and neither is the action taken by the staff of President’s College who staged a sit-in.
There is no way that a private citizen is going to allow any of his servants from locking him out of his own property, and there is no way that the police ought to have allowed protesting parents to lock out students and teachers from a school. Our school children are being shortchanged. The school term is already too short with an extended vacation times.
The limited days for school are being further encroached upon, when children have to participate in all manner of events which take them outside of the classroom, and this situation is worsened by the numerous public holidays during which there is no school.
In most schools, the first and last week is usually not dedicated to doing much classroom work. And now to add insult to injury, students and teachers at one school are being locked out, and at another, the teachers are “sitting-in”, instead of proceeding on strike.
At the East La Penitence Primary School, there is a demand for the children of a father who behaved badly to be transferred. This is sheer nonsense. No child should be asked to be removed from a school because his or her parents had a confrontation with the school authorities.
How can there be a demand for students to be transferred simply because of something that the parent was alleged to have done. This is all the more reason why serious manners need to be applied against those responsible for the lockout. I wonder how those who were responsible for the physical obstruction to entry to the school, would feel if their students were transferred because of the lockout action?
The fact of the matter is that the Ministry of Education was already investigating the matter and thus there was no need at all for the actions which would no doubt have disrupted plans for the conclusion of the final term. Some of the children we are told were writing an important examination, and this now has to be rescheduled.
Over at the President’s College the teachers are sitting –in. This is not a legitimate form of protest. Based on reports in the media, it is clear that there are serious problems at that school.
However, instead of sitting-in, the teachers who are protesting this and other issues relating to their welfare, should give notice of impending industrial action and then proceed on strike.
Those teachers that are sitting-in should not be paid. If this means extended industrial action throughout the education system, then so be it. The government has to stop being “soft” with these abuses which are taking place and regardless of the consequences, should ensure that it is firm against those who lock students out, as well as those who refuse to teach by engaging in sit-ins and sick-outs.
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