MOE still investigating alleged slapping incident

“Frustrated parent says she may move child to another school

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Almost one month after the irate parent of an 11th-grade student at the Anatol Rodgers High School alleged that her daughter was slapped by the principal on Nov. 6, Education Director Marcellus Taylor said the incident is still being investigated and there are protocols in place to address such matters.

“We have protocols in place and we expect everybody; the administrators, students, everyone involved in the schools, to follow whatever our rules and our protocols are,” Taylor told Eyewitness News on Monday.

“I would say from time-to-time things happen in a school environment on both ends; on the end of a student, on the end of a teacher or on the end of administration that may not be exactly what we want it to be, but you have to investigate these matters because on the face of it, things may not be as it sounds or as it seems, so we don’t want to rush to judgment with anything and we want to let the investigation play out.

“At the end of the day we will examine the facts and we will make decisions based on what people’s intent was, and you can be assured that the Department would be fair in our judgement.”

Asked why the Ministry was taking so long to investigate the alleged slapping incident, Taylor said, “We have to work with the resources that we have.

“We have other things going on here [at the Ministry of Education] and when a matter like that comes up, while it may be important to the individuals involved – and we are not minimizing that it is not important to them – we also have other matters that are important to other people and we can only work within the confines of the resources that we have,” Taylor said.

“I don’t have 15 directors of education to dispatch every time we have a problem, I do not, so in the school management division we have two or three persons who support us with that kind of work and in a lot of cases it is not even their main portfolio assignment but, you know, we do it because we want to support what happens at schools.

“We want to support administrators and we also want to make sure that when there are matters that arise when people feel aggrieved, that we can [address] it and we can do it fairly and do it properly.”

Taylor said the investigation into the alleged slapping incident will examine all sides, and not only what may have happened, but also intent.

“Anything could have happened but there might be reasons why it may have happened…We would have to know the details before we make a judgement and that is the same thing that happens in the court of law. You have an end result but you also have intent,” Taylor said.

Meanwhile, Shakeia Thompson, the student’s mother also spoke to Eyewitness News on Monday.

Thompson expressed that she is fed-up that there has been no resolve almost one month since the alleged slapping occurred on the school’s campus.

“As a matter of fact, I reached out to the police today myself and they told me that they would give me a call back like they always do and they don’t even have the decency to call back and say something,” Thompson claimed.

The parent said at this point she is really “frustrated” and “disappointed”.

Thompson said having taken her complaint to the media, with the hope of getting some immediate feedback, she is saddened that nobody reached out to her.

“We only feel these things when it’s our children,” Thompson lamented. “To me, it’s like nobody is being sympathetic … It’s like they are trying to sweep it under the rug as if they want me to go away. That is how I feel at this point and anybody who is a parent should not allow that to happen.

“This is my child here, and no matter where I go it seems as if I am not getting any results. It is coming to a point [where] it is getting on my last nerve. I go to the police, it is a turnaround. I go to the school, it’s a turnaround. It’s like, ok it happen and what?

“Today is the third of December and nothing.”

Thompson said since the Nov. 6 incident, her daughter’s name has only been “dragged through the mud” on social media.

“I was like, ‘wow’. I was looking for the public to help or to say this is wrong but persons said my daughter should have gotten stomped from the principal or he should have kicked her out of the school and let her work to Wendy’s. All children are not horrible,” Thompson said.

The mother maintained that whatever happened on the school’s campus on Nov. 6, she believes that her daughter was the victim.

“My thing is why was that his reaction as a principal,” Thompson asked. “I still don’t get it, and nobody is answering or acknowledging me.”

Thompson admitted that having to wait almost one month later for answers, she and her husband have considered moving her daughter to another institution.

“If I could move her I will. At the same time I am not trying to affect her, but then she has to deal with these people every day so if I could I will move her because like I said, no one is doing nothing but she has to be amongst these people every day.

“I understand that they are trying to be politically correct, but at the end of the day show some kind of sympathy, something,” Thompson stressed.

In an earlier interview with Eyewitness News, Thompson called for the removal of the school’s principal after he allegedly slapped her daughter following an altercation with other students on Nov. 6.

According to Thompson, her daughter was allegedly being bullied by a group of girls at the school since she was in 10th grade.

Thompson said when her daughter moved on to grade 11, the alleged bullying continued and involved a group of eight girls.

These girls, the mother claimed, would surround her child on the field, corner her in the bathroom and they would also call her names.

On Nov. 6, the mother claimed that a group of boys had to intervene so as to prevent the eight girls from allegedly attacking her daughter, but the alleged bullying did not stop there.

“She went into her Math class where two of [the eight] girls were in the class at the time, and the other six were in other classrooms.

“The lady [one of the two girls] said something to her at the time and I think it died down, but when she [the daughter] was sitting down, the young lady assaulted her from the back. She pulled her hair and slammed her down on the ground,” the parent claimed.

“It [the fight] was broken up between other students and the teachers. After that she was escorted downstairs into the main office where she saw the girl that was attacking her from grade 10…who had also assaulted her in the class [earlier that day] and she charged back after the girl.

“Now, according to my daughter, after that the principal of Anatol Rodgers came out of the office and he slapped my daughter,” the parent alleged.

Since the Nov. 6 incident, Thompson said despite meeting with the principal, contacting education officials, and reporting the matter to the police, she is fed up with the slowness of all parties to respond and address the alleged slapping incident.

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