Protocols needed concerning school disputes, says Gibbs

There must be a standard that is acceptable to all


From day one it was not handled effectively!
This is how President of the Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Associations Inc. (BNCPTA), Shone Gibbs views the recent “wrapper controversy” at Springer Memorial School, where a 14 year old student refused to pick up a wrapper after being asked to do so by her year-head and then the principal. The school girl who made it clear that her mother had not sent her to school to pick up garbage was suspended for several weeks.
The incident which received national attention also saw the police being called in to the Government Hill, St Michael School by the parent, after her daughter was ordered off the compound by Principal, Pauline Benjamin. The child has since been transferred to a private school.
“I am of the firm view that the matter could have been solved at the level of the school, in the interest of all parties. So we need to revisit clear protocols that will help parents and teachers to navigate around issues that from time to time will manifest themselves. I am sure that most persons would agree that it went too far, too fast. There are certain issues we believe should not go to the media or be ventilated publicly, initially,” he indicated.
“A school community is like a family and there are things that happen within your family that you keep behind closed doors – you resolve those issues. I am suggesting to schools at the domestic levels – that parents, teachers, principals get involved in resolving issues at that level and if they are unable to resolve them, there must be a clear chain of protocol on who next to engage to make sure that there are resolved...”
Gibbs further revealed that parents continue to complain about how they are treated within the school system, “That is why I keep saying there has to be a protocol on how parents can engage the school, because very often parents believe that they are profiled in the school system and they are treated according to the profile.
There must be a standard that is acceptable to all,” he stressed. It must be the right of a parent to engage a school and inquire about their child, but they must also be respectful in doing so, in that you make an appointment. You make contact and seek to get permission to access the school, not just show up. You would not expect a teacher to come out of a class teaching 32 students to speak to one parent…So again the whole issue of protocols and how we engage must be the order of the day going forward. 
“I can safely say that you can look forward to a draft protocol from the Association, which will be shared with other stakeholders for their support.” 

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