The presence of the students sparked protest at SJCK in October 2013. (Internet photo)

Classes at St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) were on Monday disrupted for the second time in as many weeks.

However, unlike two Mondays ago, when teachers walked off the job, it was the educators who were left in the classroom at the Catholic school.

Students at the all-female school used placards to make it clear that they no longer counted among their numbers a student who was reportedly expelled last July.

Teachers walk outside SJCK on Monday as students protest. (Internet photo)
Teachers walk outside SJCK on Monday as students protest. (Internet photo)

And the school’s principal, Calma Balcombe relished the support she was receiving from her charges.

Flanked by officials from the Ministry of Education and various principals from across the country, Balcombe said she was elated by the support she has received.

Two weeks ago, teachers at SJCK walked off the job in protest of the presence of the 14-year-old Form 4 student after a court order that she return to classes pending the outcome of a lawsuit.

Jomo Thomas, lawyer for the student’s mother, and Attorney-General Judith Jones-Morgan, were expected to appear in court again this afternoon (Monday) for yet another hearing in the ongoing saga about where the student should continue her education.

The lawyers were in court on Friday, when Justice Wesley James ordered that the child remains in school and granted Thomas Judith Jones-Morgan seven days within which to file a claim form.

The judge also gave the claimants 28 days within which to respond and scheduled hearing of the substantive matter for Nov. 15.

The ruling came as the judge heard an application by the Attorney-General asking the court to overturn an earlier ruling by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle that the student continue her education at SJCK pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The student was allegedly expelled from SJCK and assigned to Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia in July after writing in a workbook a rude comment about a teacher in March.

A teacher sits in a classroom while students protest at SJCK on Monday. (Photo: Z.S. Lewis/Facebook)
A teacher sits in a classroom while students protest at SJCK on Monday. (Photo: Z.S. Lewis/Facebook)

Thomas filed a lawsuit against the school’s principal, two Ministry of Education (MOE) officials, and the MOE itself.

The Attorney-General and Thomas are said to have addressed the court extensively on Friday.

However, within a few hours of the court order, the Attorney-General filed another application, asking that the court set side both the orders of Bruce-Lyle and James, respectively.

Both sides were then summoned back to court on Friday for a hearing today.

A third judge, Justice Gertel Thom, was expected to hear the application today.

21 replies on “Students protest, call for schoolmate to leave SJCK”

  1. The question here is, Why is the Attorney general even involve in this thing? Doesn’t she have anything better to do. Andit seems to me that these children are being used by adults in an issue that seems to have more going on behind the scenes, than what we know. Is this another one of the persons in power, over using their power?

    This thing doesn’t make any sense, and until all the facts come out, as to why the Attorney General is involved in issues of a secondary school, we will not know the motive behind all of this. Who is the puppeteer and who are the puppets?

  2. I am compel to comment on this ongoing saga, only to say for God’s sake where is our morals and ethics in this society. The school has disciplined a pupil for what anyone will consider unbecoming behavior, so why can’t the court system allow the school to fulfill its mandate. Finally, the court system has to be very very mindful of the precedence it sets for delinquent students.

  3. So glad the students had their say. Who in the kitchen feels the heat. No one wants to go to school in an environment in which they are not free to be themselves. Imagine faculty and staff walking around as if on egg shells because of one student. ONE STUDENT AND HER MOTHER. No student or parent has the right to hold a school hostage.

    Big up all my Convent Girls. We know what our school stands for and we are not afraid to defend it.

  4. Blane,

    A lawsuit was brought against the MOE and by extension the Govt. Who do you think should represent the MOE?

    Read big man

  5. Really an entire school of students don’t want this young lady in their school because of a “comment” she wrote..Like the person above me stated there is more to this than we know and these students are being used as pawns…there are seriously worse things to kick a student out of school for..I myself and insure plenty of other people including these students who are protesting have written/states horrible things about the people who educated us…especially those that we disliked the most…clearly there are lots of people here who have nothing better to do…this matter should not have gone beyond the young lady, her parents/guardians, school administrators and any hired legal aides..

  6. It was my hope that the kid would find some solace in going back to the school and being among her peers…but I underestimated the level callousness within the PTA and Administrators.

    The heartless heathens have managed to coerced and corrupted the minds of these kids, all for the sake of protecting their ambition and pride. These kids, in their mistaken believe have joined a “jihad” against their fellow student, and thereby becoming pawns in a game of pride and prejudice. These kids, like the teachers before them, should have never been allowed to get so intimately involved in a situation that has absolutely no bearing on their learning or well being at the school. But when those misguided teachers orchestrated the “JIHAD” against the kid…everything else was set in motion.

    I was given the distinct impression, that society protects and shelter its most vulnerable members but having seen the way in which this kid has been made to feel like persona non grate; I am second guessing this perception I have of society, namely our Vincy society. How emotionally distraught must this kid feel, seeing her own fellow students, rallying against her. When you are a kid, you expect other kids to be in your corner, when the adults “just don’t understand.”

    It has now become untenable for the kid to remain at Convent. I was steadfastly defending the kid to stick it out and try to remain at the school. But given that such utter hatred has been allowed to fester and now permeates throughout the school and the wider society, it has become imperative that the kid be immediately withdrawn from the school, if for no other reason, for her personal safety. Its regrettable that this incident between a teacher and a student has escalated to the point of having innocent kids being inserted in the middle of a situation that’s being worked through in a court of law. There is absolutely no reason for these kids to be outside the classroom making a mockery of themselves. The PTA, TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR USING, NO, ABUSING THESE KIDS FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GRATIFICATION AND AMBITION.

    1. So let’s see here.
      “Society protects and shelters its most vulnerable members”
      So we can infer therefore that a 14 year old who commits multiple acts of ill discipline, disrespect and total disregard for authority and who is asked to leave an institution in which it was a privilege for her to sit (not a right) and refuses to do so, is one of our most vulnerable members,
      A parent who condones her daughters behavior and seeks to use the court to batter said institution into submitting to her will is one of our most vulnerable members.
      These two individuals are two of our most vulnerable members and need to be sheltered and protected.
      So we can infer further that the inmates at her Majesty’s Prison at Bell Isle and in Kingstown are our most vulnerable members and they are being sheltered and protected.
      I could be wrong but I don’t think our most vulnerable members are the ones who break laws and disregard rules. But that is just me.

  7. All this bacchanal because a student wrote something bad about a teacher? Steups… Little children please put down those placards and get back to your classes, and teachers stop influencing the children to protest on your behalf. A student expelled for writing something bad about a teacher?? This is the most retarded thing I’ve heard all day.

  8. So a Ministry and its officials are being sued and someone wants to know why the Attorney General is involved lol. That question must have been a joke. Until any of you have sat in a classroom and have a missile thrown at you, say nothing.

    Get the facts about a situation before you start spewing ignorance.

  9. John,
    I am not talking about the methods. What I am saying is that the student and her mother have every right to go to the courts to seek redress for an outcome that they seem was unfair and it seem the Law agreed with them.

    SVG has become a place where the small man is walked on and trampled all too often and everyone turns a blind eye for fear of association.It is just common sense to know that something is going on behind the scene. The attorney general is seeking to appeal a court decision, and what is she going to do if the courts side with the parents again, Appeal a decision that was already appealed?

    The attorney general should have had the common sense to advise the school and by extension the ministry of education to settle this matter and return to school. But we all know SVG is now a place where common sense is uncommon. And it came out today that Jomo Thomas also realized that there is something going on, and these are his words.

    “I think the real problem here is that the school administrators have so poisoned the atmosphere at the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown against this young child,” Thomas told I-Witness News on Monday.

    “And more importantly, it is not just the child, but the mother; because, for them, how dare this mother stand up for her child, because what they (the school) have relished and lived on over all those years, a child transgresses and the parent comes to the school and insults and brutalises the child,”

    That’s what thomas said. So there you have it, it’s actually amazes me how backwards people in SVG has become, what happen to forgiveness?? Isn’t this suppose to be a christian school?? Have anyone ever thought about how this whole thing is affecting the child? And what about the teacher, was she mean to the child, because we all know that some teachers are not saints and only have there jobs because of who they know or because they have friends in high places.

    You can accept things at face value John. But something just doesn’t add up.

  10. This is pretty disgusting on the part of the students and the teachers.
    This highlight the amount of brainwashing that goes on in our schools. So many followers and no true leaders.

  11. I read on this same site that the girl and her mother were aware that she was going to be transferred to Emmanuel Mespo in July since March but the mother said that the sciene programme at Emmanuel Mespo is inferior to the one at Convent and this student did a number of things before that last one, it is not just 1 thing she did and her mother do uphold her rudeness ……. So the students protesting I see nothing wrong at all at least there are students who stand for something. Futhermore I know of students expelled from SJCK to other secondary schools like West St.George and Thomas Saunders and nothing happen to them they excel the same way but her mother spare the rod and spoil the child and wants everyone else to do the same.

  12. Dexter E.M. Rose says:

    This entire issue is tragic. While I understand the right to ensure discipline it does seem here to be a lot of overreacting to situations at ever stage of the matter.
    Whatever wrong this child did it does seem she is being punished beyond what should be normally necessary. I worry about her future and the impact this would have on her.

    This is a tragedy. And lets face it, had she been transferred to a seemingly “better” school would this issue have continued? Conflict resolution is sadly failing here.
    Or I must me missing some very crucial information.
    Dexter Rose

    1. All I could tell you, my friend and colleague, Dexter, is that Mr. Garnet Edwards, your erstwhile neighbour, is now late of Stoney Ground. This is far simpler than the clarification you seek. My heart goes out to the families including those close like yours.

  13. This only goes to show how childish petty and vindictive the teachers are. How are they showing a proper role model leadership by getting a child ejected from school for such foolishness. Stuff like this will always happen no matter, its up to the individuals written about to rise above it and show it doesn’t affect them thus negating the effect it was meant to cause, but when there is kids teaching kids and to top it off with small minds what do you expect.
    Lord help the nation.

  14. I am sure a simple apology from the student and the mother could have settled this issue long ago. I haven’t seen any document stating the mother and child have asked for forgiveness. I t looks like they went to Jomo instead and that’s where the problem started. The child seems to be a product of her mother, who looked for a confrontation with the school.
    Please stop this nonsense and ask if the mother apologize for her daughter’s behavior. If she did then I can sympathize with her effort to get her kid back in school. But going to Jomo was a bad choice. It would have been easier for her to take her daughter before the principal and the teacher and beg them to forgive her daughter. I haven’t seen that in print. Instead we have folks on one side or the other of the issue. In the old days a good licking would have settled this issue and every one could have gone home.
    It’s unfortunate that this issue has taken wings and is out of control. Now folks are blaming the other students because they protested. It’s their democratic right to disagree with the position taken by the first judge. They would know more about the issue than the people – including me, who are spouting garbage. They missed school because of one student. So why shouldn’t they voice their disapproval?

    I wonder if the lack of discipline in SVG is responsible for the increase in murders on the island. The last count was 24 in such a small island. Have anybody ever thought of the effect on society when there is no discipline? Maybe we are now seeing the product – 24 murders and counting.

  15. I do not have all the facts to the story but like I have said in the past and even today, if you don’t want to abide by the rules of the school find your own, until then humble yourself and obey.

    A few comments on this blog wants to crucify the teacher but its not until you are in the same shoes as the person then you understand. I know of an incident where a particular student was repeatedly rude to members of staff who complained to the ministry about the matter, it was not until a ministry official visited the school and received a good tongue lashing from the said student that the matter was resolved.

    These things will occur and will continue to rise. The Bible does not lie. Today many do not regard the teachings of the Bible so we will have to deal with the consequences.

  16. If Emmanuel Mespo is such a downgrade, why not just upgrade this student to attend Girls High School and let the nation move beyond SJCK ?

  17. There is a tendency at times for people to OVER-THINK a situation. Sadly , I have been guilty of this in the past and maybe on this occasion as well I may be guilty of this.
    I have been examining this situation and it boggles the mind to understand. This mother , who loves her children, like I do and all of the other parents out there who do as well. This mother who wants the best for her children, like I do and all of the other parents out there. This mother is willing to put her daughter and indeed herself through all that is going on now. This parental concern is overkill, this looks to me to be possibly some kind of conscience. AND HERE COMES MY OVER-THINKING .
    I AM NOT TRYING TO CAST ASPERSIONS OR MAKE ACCUSATIONS, BUT, just perhaps – this kitty cat business written on the child’s book may not have been written by the child. I cant say who else but that would explain a lot in my mind. The conscience is a terrible thing.

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