Alumni calls for HM to be sent on admin leave

first_imgBHS sex scandal…Divisional commander says yet to receive MoE fileThe Bishops’ High School Alumni Association on Monday called for Head Mistress Winifred Ellis to be sent on administrative leave to facilitate an independent investigation into her actions while addressing the allegation of sexual misconduct by economics teacher Coen Jackson.Bishops’ High School Head Mistress Winifred Ellis“It cannot be stressed enough that we do not feel confident that the children who have been made to feel unsafe or traumatised will now come forward and report these (incidents) in their current environment. It is troubling that the students did not feel comfortable confiding in any of the teachers at BHS,” the Alumni Association said.It noted that it is for this very reason that the headmistress should be sent on administrative leave, and a thorough and independent investigation of this matter concluded before a decision is made about her return. “We quite simply do not think that the Ministry of Education has gone far enough,” the association said.The Education Ministry on Friday concluded their investigation and found Ellis culpable of breaching the regulations under the Education Act 39:01 section 35: “Inappropriate behaviour by teachers in school”, which made her liable to a first warning. The committee has since recommended that Ellis be reprimanded and be made to offer an apology to the students and teachers at the institution. It also recommended that the ministry offer training and support to teachers on how to deal with children and sexual issues, in addition to providing counselling to students after they do so request.In relation to Jackson, the committee handed over its investigation file to the Police for further investigation. Jackson is being accused of abusing his position of trust as a teacher when he began grooming female students for sexual activities after they would have attained the age of 16 — the legal age of consent. Jackson has vehemently denied the accusations, but did admit to having sexual relations with two former students who are both in their early 20s.Meanwhile, ‘A’ Division Commander Marlon Chapman told Guyana Times that the Education Ministry did not send a file to him; rather, they gave the okay to proceed with a criminal investigation. He noted that the investigation is in progress, and the Police are building their case.The Alumni Association commended the ministry for their swift actions but noted that their immediate concern is the student body. The statement related that the alumni associations, in conjunction with concerned members with expertise in psychology, child welfare, social work and law, are actively working to ensure that this never happens again. In addition, they have made recommendations with regard to harassment, sexual abuse and bullying.last_img read more