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Parents plan protest outside Teaching Commission

Friday, November 17, 2017
Claims of child molestation at Sando Methodist:
Latoya Leston-Williams with her nine-month-old baby as she protest outside the San Fernando Methodist Primary School, yesterday. Latoya has a daughter that attends the school and is doing the SEA exam next year.

Protesting parents of pupils attending the San Fernando Methodist School are prepared to take their protests outside the doors of the Teaching Service Commission if a school official accused of child molestation is not removed.

The parents staged another round of protests outside the school demanding that the official be removed from the school.

The official who was never tried before the courts because the alleged victim and her parents migrated abroad, was reinstated last week, some three years after the alleged incident occurred.

Braving a heavy downpour, president of the PTA Daren Medford told the media that they were dissatisfied with the way the Ministry was handling the matter.

“We supposed to meet with the Minister and we hoping that they will take a decision about this. They saying that they are not responsible but we have decided that we will send a petition and even if we have to protest at the doors of the Teaching Service Commission we will,” Medford said.

Saying the ministry had taken a hands-off approach, Medford called on the chairman of the commission to act expeditiously on the matter.

Another parent, La Toya Leston-Williams, said she was not comfortable sending her daughter to the school.

“It is unfair to her that she has to attend classes in an environment like this. It is not right. We want something to be done now,” Leston-Williams said as she clutched her nine-month-old daughter Khloe Williams.

Glenda Modeste-Edwards, a former teacher, claimed the school official in question was promoted ahead of her because of connections he had within the ministry.

“I don’t know if this is the same situation playing off here and that was why he was reinstated but I worked with him and when I leant of the problems I came to support because we need justice,” Modeste-Edwards said.

In a statement, Garcia advised protesting parents that the removal of a teacher at the school is the responsibility of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).

Reiterating that the responsibilities of the ministry and that of the TSC differ, Garcia said the PTA must adhere to the Concordat of 1960 which indicates that “The right of appointment, retention, promotion, transfer and dismissal of teachers in Primary Schools will rest with the Public Service Commission.

He said the Teaching Service Commission, established under Service Commissions, was in charge of the matter.

Garcia promised that he will continue to aid all stakeholders in any way possible and will give support in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Constitution, the Education Act and the Concordat of T&T.


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