~ Teacher’s complaints “out of order” ~
EBENEZER–Despite protests from teachers, the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) board will not be removing Lavern Nelson from her position as principal of the Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE) section of St. Maarten Academy.
“We are not even considering it,” Chairperson of the board Roland Duncan told The Daily Herald on Tuesday. “I discussed this with the union – we will not fire the principal, period! There are no grounds to do this,” he added.
Duncan said some of the complaints from teachers calling for the removal of Nelson from her position are “out of order” and “does not have much validity.”
Duncan had a lengthy and in-depth meeting with President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elschot and her team on the matter and he will be having a follow up meeting with the union just before the start of the new academic year in August to continue the discussions and “to see how we can further the peace.”
Elaborating on some of the complaints from teachers regarding receiving warning letters for showing up to school late, Duncan said, this is not in the best interest of students. He said teachers should be at school at least 15 minutes before starting time as they have to prepare their lessons for the day. “Their complaint about getting warning letters is distorting reality and missing the real issue of the warning. They should be there 15 minutes before school starts, (if not,) students are being deprived of precious teaching time.
“Coming work late whether one or 10 minutes is a reflection on the employee. The issue isn’t just late-coming. If school starts at 7:30am and you reach 7:31am, that isn’t the problem. Teachers have to prepare lesson plans etc. and if they reach late, students would have lost minutes of teaching time,” he said. “The issue is not that they get a warning letter because they are one minute late, the real issue is that teachers should be on time to start preparation for classes.”
The board chairperson said teachers must understand that “they cannot decide who will run the operations” at the school as this is the board’s prerogative. “If I have to seek consensus and democratically vote on who will be the new principal then they will run the school and not the board. I hope that some sense prevails.”
The principal, Duncan said, is delegated by the board to run day-to-day operations of the school. She has a management team, whom Duncan said is there to support her. The principal decides how much support she needs from the management team. “The management team cannot vote and decide that they want to be involved in everything happening. That is not their duty,” he said adding that if the board were to instruct Nelson, then it will be meddling in her duties as principal. “And the board does not intend to go down there and do this day to day.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/78707-duncan-board-will-not-remove-psve-principal