President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Ann Redman.

President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Ann Redman.

Self defence training needed

ALL teachers require training on how to handle challenging children.

That’s the view of President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Ann Redman. She expressed this belief in an interview with The Barbados Advocate yesterday afternoon, as she reflected on news reports about the preliminary recommendations of the Board of Management of the Ellerslie Secondary School, in relation to the incident involving the 14-year-old student and her female teacher, on the school’s premises last month.

One of those recommendations is that the teacher receive such training, and while suggesting that the training should be extended to all in the teaching service, the union boss went a step further, proposing that teachers in this country should receive self defence training as well.

“Increasingly, given the reality of what is happening in far too many of our schools, all teachers in the system need that training. They also need training in self defence, as is done in some parts of the USA.

“Equally important the students and their parents need to be sensitised as to the Code of Discipline for students, so that it is clear to all what is expected of children in terms of respect, appropriate behaviour and discipline in the classroom,” she said.

The BSTU president’s comments came as she indicated the Union is yet to receive official word from the school’s board on the outcome of the two disciplinary meetings held earlier this month regarding the issue. Nevertheless, noting that she understands the student has been removed from the school, she expressed the Union’s satisfaction with the decision.

She made the point while noting that the BSTU has recommended that the 14-year-old receive counselling, given her history at the school and the most recent incident.

Meanwhile, she explained that a misinterpretation of comments made by the Ellerslie Secondary School teacher is likely behind the Board of Management’s recommendation that the teacher be transferred, as she made it clear the teacher has no desire to part ways with the educational facility.

“She responded to a question from the Board as to her level of comfort at returning to the classroom in short order, in a manner that they obviously interpreted as requesting a transfer from the school,” she said.

Meanwhile, the veteran educator used the opportunity to urge the media, parents and other persons, when seeking advice on children’s rights and advocacy, to do so from persons qualified, trained and recognised in that field, as to do otherwise could have a negative the situation.

“We need to seek assistance, where that assistance is deemed necessary from persons who can bring an informed and helpful perspective to the parties involved,” she maintained. (JRT)

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