Lawyer and senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party, Jomo Thomas is representing the Teachers’ Union in the cases against the government. (IWN file photo)

This is the question that lawyer Jomo Thomas is asking regarding the student who was reportedly expelled from the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) because of “misconduct”.

“This is a Catholic institution. What happened to the New Testament notion of redemption and forgiveness and second chance? That is precisely the teaching of Jesus Christ. So, if this was a more secular school, I could have seen — and I wouldn’t have agreed — but I probably could have understood,” Thomas told I-Witness News on Wednesday.

The student’s mother is contesting the transfer of the student to the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia and the court last week ordered that the student continues her education at the SJCK until a lawsuit is heard.

Teachers at SJCK walked out of the school on Monday when the student turned up to class and stayed away on Tuesday also.

The student is said to have attended classes at SJCK on Wednesday and the school’s PTA met on Thursday to discuss the situation, even as the Principal Association have supported the action by principal at the SJCK, Calma Balcombe.

But while Thomas spoke of Christian virtues of forgiveness, he added, “it might be precisely because the school is a religious school that there is this notion that what happened is such a moral outrage,” said Thomas, who is representing the student’s mother in a lawsuit against the school principal, the Ministry of Education and two education officials.

“I think it was a bad thing what the child did. The child was punished for it and the child should be allowed to get an education in a setting that is pleasing to the child and is in keeping with the laws,” Thomas said.

I-Witness News understands that the decision to expel the student came after the student, in response to a written comment by a female teacher that the student’s work was “untidy”, wrote that the work was as untidy as a part of the teacher’s body that had not been washed for days.

Thomas was last week sworn in as a senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party.

He said that some persons have accused him of playing politics with the case, even as others have said that he should not take the case. (Thomas was involved in the case before he was asked to be a senator)

“Why not do the case?” he said.

“Let’s test all the issues in court and let the court pronounce, so we would know what we can do and what we can’t do. I don’t see why the entire education machinery is being mobilised against this young girl, and, worst of all, I don’t see any politics,” he said.

Thomas said people have been sending him electronic messages saying that the case is “a purely political case”.

“I don’t know where the politics came from in the case. All that is being asserted here is an attempt to protect the life chances of a young child, who is essentially under threat because there was an act that was done.

“Clearly, it was an act of indiscretion, clearly an act deserving discipline. … The school disciplined the child, the school suspended the child for two days, the school, in my mind, illegally refused to give a child a grade on an exam which she had done, because the student was not found cheating or anything like that, for them to withhold the grade from her,” he said during the interview on Wednesday.

However, a source briefed on the meeting of principals on Tuesday, said they were told that the student was never suspended or given zero.

The source said that the principal, the Ministry of Education and the student’s mother agreed to the transfer to Emmanuel Mespo.

He further stated that the “incident” for which the student was “disciplined” occurred during the second term of the last school year.

“I also heard some stories that the teachers may not want to interact with this child, but the student was disciplined in the second term. The same teachers who are the school now, presumably most of them, would have interacted with that student after the discipline in term three,” he said.

“It was an uneventful third term, except the student doing what she needed to do to ensure that she passed and was promoted to Form 4S,” he said.

He further told I-Witness News that persons are not giving any reasons why they are saying it is a political case.

In filing the lawsuit, the Government senator is acting on behalf of a client against officials of the government of which he is now a part.

“But that is not how it is being played. … But the point is that three of the four defendants are public officials and the ministry itself,” he said.

9 replies on “What about the Christian notion of forgiveness? — Convent case lawyer”

  1. Before the values that you mention can be applied, the person needs to be sorry for what they did.

    But how about the Marxist values, that is what we are all watching. ‘Own the government’ ‘own the jobs’ ‘own the schools’ but not this school thank God.

    If she publicly apologises forgive her sins, but she must be moved to another school. What she wrote about that teacher must not go unrecognised. It makes the whole of the teaching staffs positions untenable.

    The parents should also apologise, because its their upbringing that has spoilt the child.

    You can forgive anyone, that doesn’t mean that the needn’t be punished.

    Its a matter of knowing right from wrong, and that includes you Sanger.

  2. Mr Jomo, forgiveness is not a ‘notion’. It is very strange that you label forgiveness as a ‘notion ‘ – a whimsical Nancy story which people believe.
    Forgiveness is a universal principle, not a notion.
    It seems therefore that you do not know that forgiveness is based on the principle of confession.
    Did the student show remorse and correct the offence?
    Did the student ask for forgiveness? If no confession of wrong is made then how is the school at fault?
    You and your client can’t have their cake and eat it.

  3. I thought this case was first about the timing of the transfer? From what I read here the case is about the actual transferring of the student.

    Let us not forget that the School is a private institution and reserves the right to admit, transfer and reject any student as they see fit.

    If this child was transfered to GHS or Thomas Saunders we would not be having this conversation.

  4. Christian values my big toe. The very sentiments I expressed in previous posts on this issue;I called them HEARTLESS HEATHENS. If these folks were so christian at SJCK, teachers wouldn’t be sacrificing other children’s learning for the sake of one child, who the COURTS ORDERED TO GO BACK TO THE SCHOOL UNTIL THINGS ARE SORTED OUT. If the Ministry Of Education have any backbone, they would DISCIPLINE ALL THE TEACHERS WHO WALKED OUT, FOR DERELICTION OF DUTY.

    Now, there are conflicting reports about whether the kid was suspended or not…I cannot see how the school not take some sort of disciplinary action for such disrespectful action on the part of the kid…so I am leaning towards the school of thought, that the kid was indeed suspended. If it turns out that no suspension was ever given…then maybe the MOE need to look into the school policies and Administration of the SJCK.

    I can’t agree more with Jomo; the thing that struck me, was how everyone seem so hell bent to through the kid under the bus. It was as though, the kid committed murder or something. No one seem not to appreciate that this kid is 14…and that 14 yr old do and say dotish things. One of the things I would have done with this kid,(not sure if this was done) is to have her make a public apology to the aggrieved teacher and staff in front of the entire school and have her acknowledge that her actions were wrong and very disrespectful…and have her make a pledge for the rest of the school year, that she would be on her best behavior and that any further ill-discipline from her would result in more suspensions or even expulsion. I would not have given her zero for any exam unless the work presented deserves it. The two days suspension would be mandatory for such action. Some aspect of public shaming can be a very effective disciplinary tool for minor teenagers.

    Jomo, I don’t agree with your politics…but I am in your corner on this issue.

  5. Teacherfang, you are out to lunch. You argument is all over the place. The child must be disciplined and must apologize to the teacher, the school and her class mates.
    An example must be set and if the bar has to be raised higher then so be it. You can’t have students disrespecting teachers and get away with it. Hell no!
    The mother doesn’t think her daughter was wrong, by taking legal action against the parties’. Hence both should be thrown under the bus. This kind of behavior should not be tolerated in schools. The student is probably a brilliant student; but it doesn’t give her the right to disrespect the person who is helping to give her a better life.
    Then Fang: You had to agree with Jomo who has used the American tactics of a lawsuit against the school principal, the Ministry of Education and two education officials. When was Jomo ever right? His latest action of joining hands with Ralph, show how wrong he is.
    And again Fang: You want to discipline teachers, because they refuse to go along with some judge who has no control or authority in such matters. This is one time it can be said, “The law is an ass”, when the judge ruled that the girl must be allowed back in school.

  6. when the woman was cort in the act and was brought to jesus did she ask forgiveness ? but jesus for give her .what i want to say here is when we call our self christian it mean we must act christlike .and to all u onesided people if it was ur child would u have want the school to forgive her.? and yes the school is private but it is not above the law .the police men who kill our sons were not transfer to work in an other department and they kill so why must this poor child be transfer .and how much time should she be punish ? yes she is rude and disrectful so she need counselling and some kinda help for her to be a better person not just in school but in life on a whole .because if she go to another school with that same rudeness she well be transfer again and when there is no more school for her to got to what do we do with her? clairly this child is seeking attention and help not by words but by action .so please save her from becoming a bigger problem not for the schools but for our country. pull me down all u all want but this is how i see it and it have nothing to do with politics .one mother cry should be all mothers cry .so tell me what do we want for this child better or worst?

  7. I think we have misunderstood SANGA, I think he is seeking forgiveness for himself.

    I just hope that his boss is not to hard on him, because he never forgives.

    Although ‘Wun-Fat-Pratt’ could consult the Obeah teachings.

  8. Jane, this is what Jesus instruct us: “Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3)

    IF somebody repent, THEN they are forgiven, get it straight. Forgiven in that whatever punishment they deserve is cancelled. Not in the sense of holding somebody in your mind.
    The command is clear from Jesus own mouth, don’t try to confuse people here.

    If Jesus forgive everybody then Hitler is forgiven and not going to hell.
    The issue is Mr Jomo’s comment on Forgiveness being a notion, and the school must set a bad example by allowing a child to disrespect a teacher, and then be wrong and strong about it. NO WAY!

    Only somebody who want to contribute to the breakdown of law, order and respect in society would argue for that.

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