Proprietor of Mae’s Schools, Stacey
French, has officially apologised to student Joshua Chacon and his parents.
Chacon, who is of Amerindian heritage, was reportedly evicted from the school during a recent Culture Day activity after he showed up in his indigenous attire, which the Mae’s administration deemed to be inappropriate. As a result the school attracted protests and criticism from members of the wider public for ethnic and cultural discrimination.
Yesterday the leadership of the school met with officials of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Cohesion to resolve the matter concerning the child which occurred on Friday May 25th, 2018 at the school.
Ms. French apologised to the parents of the child, Ms. Karen Small and Mr. Jason Chacon, in the presence of the officials.
This was done in the boardroom of the Ministry of Education’s Brickdam office following a meeting with the parents.
While making her apology, Ms. French stated that ultimately what is important is protecting children. Both parents accepted the apology given, while Mr. Chacon went further to state that he would like to see more traction to bring awareness to culture in Guyana.
Also present at the engagement was Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson, Deputy Chief Education Officer (Admin), Ingrid Trotman, Ministry of Education’s Legal Officer, Kelly-ann Payne-Hercules, Private School Coordinator within the Ministry of Education, Doodmattie Singh, Programme Coordinator – Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport, Sharon Patterson and Administrator of Mae’s Schools, Lucinda Mc Curdy.
Hutson stated that to begin resolving the issue, an apology is necessary as well as psycho-social support for the child. Meanwhile, Ms. Patterson supported the need for psycho-social support and pledged her Department’s willingness to also work with the teachers and staff of the school to ensure they have a better understanding of diversities and to enhance their capabilities to deal with such.
The following is a statement issued by Mae’s Schools:
“Diversity in education and the creation of educational opportunities for students from diverse cultural backgrounds constitutes the bedrock of Mae’s Schools.
As an educational institution we are defined by the belief that a multiplicity of ideas and beliefs, cultures and cultural values enrich the learning experience of our students.
We hold deeply the view that respect for and celebration of the several cultures which make up our country creates a diverse, dynamic environment for our students.
On the day of May 25, 2018 there was a most unfortunate and deeply regrettable incident at our school.
We recognize that this event created trauma for the student, his family and the community.
We deeply regret the incident, and offer our most sincere and profound apologies to the student and his family for the hurt and pain which he suffered as a result.
We recognize also that various aspects of the event have been mischaracterized and misrepresented in the media
.It was not our intention to hurt, disrespect or degrade such an important part of the beautiful cultural mosaic which constitutes Guyana.
Our primary focus and concern was, and remains, that the unintentional hurt and pain caused by this event be addressed in a manner which not only repairs any damage caused, but reconfirms our commitment to cultural diversity and its importance in the dynamic educational environment at Mae’s.
We have engaged and will continue to engage those institutions in our society which are dedicated to protecting and promoting indigenous culture as an integral part of our educational experience.
We will continue to strive to provide increased educational opportunities to students from all cultures in an environment of creative dynamic learning, underpinned by discipline and rules.”
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