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Another side has emerged in the saga involving the alleged transfer of a student at the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK), which has led to a lawsuit.

A source familiar with the proceedings at the meeting of the Association of Secondary School Principals (ASSP) on Tuesday, said principals were told that contrary to reports, the student was never suspended or given a zero on a quiz.

The source, who requested anonymity due to not being authorised to speak to the media about the issue, said the student had a number of “yellow cards”, each representing a disciplinary infraction at the Catholic school.

The source said that in response to a written comment by her teacher that the student’s work was “untidy”, the student wrote that the work was as untidy as a certain part of the female teacher’s body that had not been washed for days.

“… the student has quite a number of yellow cards,” the source told I-Witness News, adding that the situation came to a point where it was no longer tolerable.

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A “parental conference” involving the Ministry of Education (MOE), the principal of SJCK, Calma Balcombe, and the student’s parent was held, and a decision was reached to transfer the student to the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia, the source said.

I-Witness News understands that the issue was discussed and a decision was reached to transfer the Student to Emmanuel Mespo, but that the transfer be deferred to the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, rather than in the middle of the last school year.

“That is why the school (SJCK) is so upset,” the source said of the school, where teachers walked out on Monday after the student turned up to class.

A court ordered last Friday that the student return to classes at the SJCK “with immediate effect”, until the disposal of a lawsuit filed by lawyer Jomo Thomas on behalf of the student’s mother.

The source told I-Witness News that in keeping with the agreement reached in March, the student was, in July, given a report card and a letter of transfer addressed to the principal of Emmanuel Mespo.

“She is technically a student of the Emmanuel High School Mespo, having been transferred there in July,” the source told I-Witness News, adding that transfers do not take place without the approval of the MOE.

“When the teachers turned up and saw the child, given the history and knowing how the matter was resolved, they became upset and walked off the job,” the source said.

“People need to ask why would people in a school that is normally so conservative … just get up and walk off the job,” the source further told I-Witness News.

The source further said that while some educators have questions about the MOE’s transfer policy, the SJCK is a private institution and can determine if they want they child there or not.

The source said that transfers are generally made to protect the remaining students.

Asked about consideration for protecting students at the school to which a student is being transferred, the source said: “That is a topic for another story.”

The source told I-Witness News that transfers have included moving a student with “homosexual tendencies” from a same-sex school to a co-ed institution and transferring to another school a student who had struck a teacher.

“When the thing is so grave, it is difficult to have the child and the teacher on the same compound. We are dealing with human beings,” the source said of the physical assault on the teacher.

Meanwhile, the Principals Association, in a release issued Wednesday, said that the administrators of all secondary schools in the country “have expressed their firm support of the procedures followed by Ms. Calma Balcombe, Principal of the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown in her interaction with a former student of the SJCK”.

The release further said that the principals “unanimously agree” that Balcombe took “the requisite disciplinary action in response to the student’s misconduct”.

The association further said it is “satisfied” that Balcombe “appropriately informed the student’s parent of the decisions taken in response to the student’s unacceptable behaviour”.

21 replies on “SJCK student said work was as ‘untidy’ as female teacher’s body part not washed for days — source”

  1. Where are all the comments of those persons who said they were in favor of the lawyer’s decisions? I’d really like to see if they would remain true to their arrogance after reading this.

  2. Yes the comment by the student was very disrespectful and deserves disciplinary action…a suspension is quite in order…but I must say for a “problematic” kid…she seems to be quite a smart child…if the information is correct…to be 14 and going to form 4, well that’s says a lot about the kid.

    Now, the last time I checked, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a nation of laws…so if the Courts make a ruling that says the student be allowed back into the school, then the school should respect the courts ruling…if they are so angered by the ruling, then appeal the decision and let the system resolved this issue. But all this drama of teachers walking out of classes over one kid, is beyond the pale. The only teacher who should refused teaching this kid, is the teacher that was disrespected…

    …Let me try to wrap my head around this, students are transfer for “homosexual tendencies?”..WTF…so sending him or her to a co-ed would somehow diminish these tendencies? Maybe the kids are just “experimenting” and may not truly homosexuals? Are puritans running our schools?…lawd hav mercy.

    1. the school has rules n if the child is consistently rude u expect them to keep her? You know the amount of students who were given transfer letters n expelled and there parents never run and brought law suits upon the school. when a yellow card is given that means it is a warning she got so much warning and she didnt adhere to it so a different action was taken. Come on to much of our young children are to ill-disciplined and if the parents not disciplining them at home when they go to school they need to be disciplined. SJCK is not no fly by night or no mamby pamby school they have standards n they strive to instill moral values in their young ladies but clearly the young lady like she wasnt interested in what they had to teach her.

      1. Yellow cards are not given because of trivial matters. This young lady received several yellow cards, meaning she was warned more than once that if she failed to abide by the school rules she would be kicked out. Maybe because the new principal is not a nun we are failing to remember that SJCK is still very much ‘sister school’. The school is still an institution governed by the Sisters of St Joseph’s of Cluny who are responsible to the Roman Catholic church to ensure that the schools world wide abide by the laws of the church. Students are informed of the school rules which are not based only on academics but strongly governs the behaviour of children on and off the school’s compound.Had the child and her mother apologized and shown remorse for her actions the matter would not have gotten this far. When a person is wronged and the aggressor shows no remorse that person lives in fear of repeated offences and worse offences. It was agreed by all involved that the child would attend the EHS. The question begs if this mother is convinced her child is not treated properly at the SJCK why try to keep her there? If however, the mother realizes that the rules of the institution would probably help to shape her child into a better person then she needs to humble herself and approach the instituion for forgiveness. This incident could ruin classroom dynamics in SVG. Students will now believe it is their right to address teachers in any manner they wish and soon teachers would behave like robots in the classroom- teach and leave. A child who has been given multiple warnings of expulsion, who has been suspended not just once, who has disrespected all authority figures at the St Joseph’s Convent without showing remorse should not be allowed to call herself a student of a Convent. The local, regional and international reputation of these Cluny schools are at stake.

    2. puritans only when it comes to homosexuality.
      there is no room for that but the more they suppress it its the more it grows.
      idk what to say.
      suspension is def in order that the full extent to which I believe it should go.
      blown way out of proportion.
      they strict to enforce laws only when they could ride the political waves
      and that’s both parties

  3. I agree with most of what Teacherfang said. If this account is accurate, then the student definitely should have faced disciplinary measures. The question is, thought, just what those measures should be. While students get transferred routinely for various reasons, I often wonder about the school that inherits these students. The behavioural problems usually have not been fixed and the students just move through the system with the problems in tow. The powers that be need to draft other options for dealing with students who continually show serious misconduct – perhaps a school with a focus on behavioural reform in addition to the regular curriculum.

    Where I disagree with Teacherfang is that I believe the entire faculty ought to take a united stance in whatever the action chosen. My rationale is that if a student has disciplinary problems that are evident with different teachers, then all are affected. Also, if there is gross misconduct involving one teacher, the student has in essence disrespected the entire faculty.

    The transferring of students to coed schools because of ‘homosexual tendencies’ is ridiculous. What is the rationale? Is there a fear that the student will have a relationship with another student of the same sex? Is the student’s tendencies going to change because they are not sharing a class with students of the opposite sex? Does this mean that in their entire daily experience, the child was not exposed to the opposite sex because he/she attended a same-sex school? Its laughable to think that some would consider these viable reasons. Further, if a student is being transferred for such a reason, that is where I would see a more legitimate reason for a lawsuit – on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

    I do think many of our schools are run by ‘puritans’. Schools are places to learn, debate, think, question and grow, yet, it seems like many schools are governed by the religious dogma of one Faith and are unwilling to embrace many of the differences that come with the realities of life – whether it be differences in religions (or a lack thereof), differences in sexuality, differences in customs etc.

  4. What’s wrong with this “Teacherfang” person. He/she must be ill-disciplined too. Like every other profession, teachers support teachers when supporting is in place. Do you expect a child being so disrespectful, any teacher would want to be part of that child (intelligent or not)? I believe that even that child’s parent is afraid of her mouth.

  5. Discipline has to rule the day and no kid should disrespect a teacher and get away with it. The mother is to be blamed here. She has no control over her daughter. Why didn’t she take some action when the yellow cards were issued to her daughter?
    I don’t think any school should admit her until she has changed her ways and apologize to her teacher and the other students in her class. They have to realize that every action has some reaction.

  6. “The only teacher who should refused teaching this kid, is the teacher that was disrespected… ”

    Today it is this child and this teacher, who would it be next when students are shown that they could be repeatedly disrespectful to teachers because the law would be on their side?

    When a student could throw a weapon at a teacher in a classroom and not be rebuked by the parent what would they do next to that teacher?

  7. Now learning exactly what she wrote about the teacher, the parents should be fined, because the bahaviour of the child is a direct refelection of the characture of the parents.

    Then knowing what the child wrote these parents brought her back to the school and got a pigmy lawyer to thump the judges table in chambers.

    They are probably ULP, ‘own the school’.

  8. My question is, if the student had already been punished by suspension and if there were no further disciplinary infractions during the term and she performed well academically, why hand down a second punishment? Was transfer something that had been discussed previously with the student and her parent? Was it something that had been initially discussed as part of the punishment for the original disciplinary infraction.

    Why do teachers always have to act so damn emotionally? Why the disproportionate reaction to an obviously talented child? And as Jomo asked, where is the Christian forgiveness? Why punish someone twice for the same thing? Most importantly why is a public institution, a religious institution, refusing to act in accordance with an order of the courts of the country? These people seriously need to have their heads checked.

    1. former student! says:

      Only persons who went there will know. Its not a public school. Yes its a Christian institution that’s y more was expected of her. Come on! If this was girls high school would u even have these questions? I went to convent never got suspended yes I misbehave I got punished but I never disrespected any teacher no matter how much I disliked them n there was a lot! So there is no excuse. She should take responsibility for her actions. Read the article again please. Slower this time.

  9. REALLY? The fact remains she is a CHILD! Her mother and /or Father should be punishing her not condoning her atrocious and unacceptable behavior with awarding her a lawyer. I’m sure on orientation day from form 1 she was told about SJCK MORALITY AND EXPECTATIONS OF HOLDING HIGHER STANDARDS WHILE ON SCHOOL COMPOUND AND SJCK’S UNIFORM! So why is the a debate on this? Shes wrong
    Most Children today have no respect for anyone or themselves. I’m disappointed in her mother!

  10. The child was expelled because after the incident she continued to disrespect the school administrators. She went beyond the principal in her disrespect. She was expelled during the last school year in a meeting in which her mother and the MOE were present. The letter she received from the principal was only ‘formalities’. Forgiveness is one thing putting up with abuse from a student who shows no remorse and a mother who does not know how to correct her child or allow her child to be corrected is another issue.

    All parents and children who are admitted to the SJCK are informed that the school stresses Christian principles and any child who does not conform has to go.

    Now if the mother thinks her child is not , and will not be treated fairly at the SJCK why is she fighting so hard to keep her there? The child was placed in a new school with a principal who is willing to welcome her the mother should be grateful. The child should learn there is good behaviour and there is bad behaviour we do not reward the latter.

    A new environment might be what she needs to turn a new page along with a psychologial analysis, because she seems to be a troubled teen and the mother needs to see her for who she is. Get the child out of the so called toxic environment and get her some help assign her to a trained psychologist.

  11. I am a former student of that school late 60s to early 70s. We were taught mostly by nuns. It was a private Catholic school, the name convent says it. Academically, it wasn’t the most, but what you lacked, they sure made up in discipline and they taught you how to be a lady, deportment, you got graded on that, you had to be clean and no foul language in school.
    If someone chose that school to send their child to, then they should know what to expect, respect both at home and outside should be taught to that child. I don’t care how intelligent someone is, if there is no respect, then it’s no use. The parents should speak to the child and have her apologize to the teacher in question, not slap a law suit against the school. Teachers stick together because they have to teach her too.
    In my days, that never happened, we use to get the strap for talking in class much less for telling off a teacher, we would have been banned from school, now it has become too public and that’s what happens. It is what it is, a religious school, if you know your rude […] pickney got a mouth on her, don’t bother send her there, it is not a school for that, it’s a convent, religious and all that, they don’t put up with ghettoness!

  12. I think some parents on radio are missing the point. They are saying the child should not be transferred but should remained and get help. After reading the story the school did have a discussion with the parent and the parent new about the decision taken. So why did run to a lawyer . She should have talk to the child and discipline her instead of trying to pressure the teachers. That parent needs her head checked out.

  13. convent girl to the bone says:

    I think the principal did the right thing. Do we have to wait until she injure or kill someone before we take her out. If the mother fells that he child is being abused wouldn’t you want your child away from that environment? I think this is far beyond the physical. I truly believe there is some evil force working here, I might be wrong but after praying about the situation it doesn’t seem right or something is not adding up.

  14. I agree with the decisions of the school for the following reasons. Firstly, both the mother and student entered a contract with the school when they indicated that they have read and understood the rules, standards and philosophies of the the institution which I am sure were outlined in the orientation booklet and which encompassed the behaviour that is expected of students that attend the school. The student’s conduct is in complete violation of this contract and as such there is no reason for her to be kept at the institution; in another circumstance there is no way the mother would have had a case and I don’t see why she is even allowed one in this situation. Your child was warned multiple times and in the final analysis drastic measures had to be taken which leads to the second reason.
    The actions of the student though aimed at one particular teacher does not have repercussions that are felt only by that teacher. Her actions are symbolic of disrespect for all persons of authority in the school and society as a whole. Also if she was not removed from the school exactly what message would be sent to the rest of society, that a school that is renowned for its high moral values and etiquette have allowed itself to be abased to such a level where its students can do and say whatever they please to persons without any form of respect?
    People need to stop being so narrow minded in the analysis of this situation and look at the bigger picture. This is not just about a student and a teacher or even a school but about the quality of students that are being created within the education system.
    Education is not just about good grades and ‘book sense’ but also about effective communication, respect for others, discipline and much more. If we loose focus of this where is the society of St. Vincent and the Grenadines heading and what will be next?

  15. What nonsense! When I was 14, I was entering 4th form. It does not mean that she is any smarter than the average smart child. It just means that she is born in the latter half of the school year. So if (like me), you’re born in August, then when you enter 4th form in September, it would be a few weeks after your birthday. Same if you were born in June, or July. In fact, aside from the September and October borns, most of the current 4th formers would be 14! What they are not, is insolent little snots with over-lawyered mummies who can’t tell their child that they are wrong.

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