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

A judge on Monday lifted the injunction that allowed a 14-year-old student to continue her education at St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) until a lawsuit her mother filed against the school is heard on Nov. 15.

Justice Gertel Thom gave the order but told the parties that she will give the reasons for her decision in a written judgement.

The developments on Monday were the latest in the legal acrobatics surrounding the Form 4 student, who is said to have written a rude note about a female teacher in March.

Reports are that the student was transferred to the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia (EHSM) in July.

However, lawyer Jomo Thomas, acting on behalf of the girl’s mother, sued the principal of the school, Calma Balcombe, two Ministry of Education (MOE) officials, and the MOE itself.

Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle ruled on Sept. 20 that the student continues classes at SJCK until the lawsuit is heard.

Justice Wesley James upheld the injunction on Friday against an application by Attorney-General Judith Jones-Morgan that it be overturned.

But Thom on Monday lifted the application.

Earlier on Monday, students at the SJCK, armed with placards, took to the schoolyard in protest as they made it known that they do not want the 14-year-old as a schoolmate at the Catholic school.

Students protest at SJCK on Monday.
Students protest at SJCK on Monday.

“I understand the ruling because based on the orchestrated events of today at the school, I think the judge would have been hard-pressed to rule otherwise,” Thomas told I-Witness News of Thom’s ruling.

“I speak with scientific certainty when I say it was orchestrated,” he said when quizzed.

“There was a court ruling on Friday and because the ruling went against them, the lawyers filed for another action and they decided to make the school environment inhospitable for that child,” he further told I-Witness News.

On Sept. 23, the first school day after the judge ordered that the student remains at SJCK, teacher walked off the job in protest and stayed away from the classroom the following day.

They returned to classes on Sept. 25th and placed the student in a form said to be differnt from the one to which she was reportedly assigned in July — the end of the last school year.

Lawyer Jomo Thomas (IWN file photo)
Lawyer Jomo Thomas (IWN file photo)

“You have got to remember when they first ordered the child into school on the 23rd, rather than obeying the court order, the principal, teachers and certain members of the parent-teachers association had a meeting planned and closed the school down,” Thomas told I-Witness News.

He further said that the student went to class at SJCK every school day between Sept. 25 and Oct. 4 (last Friday).

“But on the 4th [of October], when the court ruled against the administration, they decided that they are gong to make the school inhospitable,” Thomas said.

“What is unfortunate, they used children between the ages of 11 and 15 to carry out an act which is immoral and all of those teachers and all of those adults who engaged in that kind of action against a 14-year-old girl should be ashamed of themselves,” he said of the protest earlier on Monday.

Tjomas told I-Witness News that he has not spoken to his client on the question of appealing the ruling today.

“As it stands now, that (EMHS) is where she is transferred to. I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said when asked if the student will attend classes at EHSM.

21 replies on “Judge rules that student must leave Convent until lawsuit is heard”

      1. One small straw breaks the camels back. For every action there is a reaction that is unpredictable. The young lady erred,then she must face the consequences of her error. The law has taken precedent here in the handling of this case. Let us all now see the law at work. Life is funny when all the marbles are not in one bag.

  1. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Careful now, tiptoe around the fowl-mouthed little girl, she might tell who what smell stink.

  2. In my opinion the parents and the lawyer have ruined the life of this child by making the matter public. The girls life is now in the public domain which means she will be identified for ever as the girl who wrote a disgustingly graphic note to her teacher.

    I also believe the lawyer should be reprimanded by the court for making this matter public, its a disgrace.

    Perhaps even the girl should seek compensation from the lawyer.

    1. Exactly so and then persons including the lawyer himself wants to blame the school. When you play with fire expect at some point that you will get burnt. If a child is well trained from the home then the school would not have these issues to deal with but parents fail to do this and expect the school to do it for them and when a matter arises blame begins. But where and when did it all start. Another underlying issue to think about is what would have triggered this child’s action from the beginning. Didn’t the mother realize that something was wrong as a lecturer of psychology at that. This is more then a shame.

  3. This child need help! Can someone refer her to marion house etc for professional help? Too much pressure on her regardless of what she has done. Most serious things happen in SVG and we don’t behave like this. Help the child get some help people.

    1. At least something with some sense. The lawyer should have advised the mother on sending the child to the school that she was transferred to and not play with the child’s future in this way.

  4. Teachers and adults should be ashamed of action against 14 year old?…Jomo, you are really on something. So, tell me now, what should that 14 year old (although I think what came out of her mouth is beyond 14 years) be ashamed of. You are “glorifying” this “woman” who clearly has a dirty mouth and needs to be disciplined – send her to Boot Camp for 6 months before putting her back in the classroom in any school. I am surt that will smarten her up in that she will learn that there are consequences to action and that one must think before they talk.

  5. Watching Hard says:

    No one is glorifying anyone Anita. Its quite simple. No one is denying that what the kid did was disrespectful. From what I’ve read, she had already been punished for her actions. The real issue is whether the reaction of the school and the cheerleaders of the school is proportionate to what the kid did. I say the move the transfer her is way overboard.

  6. The entire situation seems to be spiraling out of control. On a rare occasion I am in agreement with Jomo that the use of the rest of the school population to hound that student out of the school is absolutely disgraceful. Has anyone bothered to think of the psychological impact this situation will have on that student/individual for the rest of their life?
    What the student said/did was of course inappropriate and disrespectful. While that event might have been the proverbial straw in the school that broke the camel’s back. Simply taking the problem and landing it on another school does not solve the problem. Are we as a nation so based that the only satisfaction we can get from the situation is her complete and total humiliation? Do we no longer provide counselling in SVG for troubled youths?
    How is that young lady ever to hold her head up with any dignity in the society after being so publicly ostracized……..SHE IS ONLY 14 YEARS OLD!!!
    This situation should have been handled in private without the involvement of the law court Surely the wise leaders of the school must somewhere in their infinite wisdom have known this is not the way to handle the problem of a child. Is it simply a case that pride of all parties have gotten in the way and positions have become so entrenched…and unfortunately political that no one wants to be seen as blinking first to reach a compromise?
    While I have no claim to what the perfect solution should’ve been,the way the matter has been dealt with on all sides was very unprofessional. Everyone came away a loser or with a hollow victory at best. Sadly the biggest casualty is the public lynching of a child.

  7. Patrick Ferrari says:

    The SJCK child student was pornographically rude. Look at the actions of the parents and that would explain why she IS that way. That is not tantamount to child abuse. IT IS CHILD ABUSE.

    And as Mr Binose said, if the lawyer sided with the parents then he is part of the problem because sure as ass, he is not solving anything.

    The tiniest amount of decency would have solved this minor routine problem of rudeness.
    But trust a lawyer to f-k it up.

  8. Children get transferred all the time from many schools Most times the parents realize that the school is just following rules and that the transfer is a consequence of some continuous problem. This girl has been behaving badly for so long and they decided that she should lose her privilege to attend the school . What is the huge deal???. She was assigned a different school The parent should just let the child go to a different school and stop trying to act like she is running the school… Stay Strong SJCK. Everyone knows this school is a beacon when it comes to discipline, Dont let any ill-mannered student and short-sighted lawyer ruin this…Good going Justice Thom

  9. This whole saga was blown out of proportion. I do believe that the lawyer and parent has gone really too far in bringing a lawsuit against the institution and the Heads. When I was growing up as a child, I could not pass an elderly, teachers, nurses etc. without say a good morning.if I do and they tell my parents, like it or not I would have gotten the rod of correction. These days respect has gone out of the doors and I blame it on the men and woman who are so pose to be respected in this country. let me remind you – do we remember when a child carried a cellphone in to an examination room at one of our prestigious school – do we remember the rant and rage – The “respected” parent was even asking for the removal of the principal. Could you believe this – so here we as parents our children can do no wrong. We condone the wrongs of our children. I am a parent and I still remember the Scripture that says “Train up a child in the way he/she should go: and when he/she is old, he/she will not depart from it” Prov. 22:6.
    To the parent of this child you now need to seek psychological and emotional help for this child. ACT FAST before its too late!!!

  10. What a waste of law school….This lawyer knows very well or is just ignoring the facts just like the mother. One single comment is making headline and taking the lead for a student’s transfer….anyone with some common sense would know that these things does not happen just like that. I could be quite certain that the mother knew of the transfer well before hand but just like how she is training her child, she refused to accept. If another school that she would have liked to go had accepted her then I am certain again that this would not have gone this far. The mother started this “war” and dragged her child into it…she has the same power to end it and accept the ministry’s transfer and be quiet. Rules are rules and should everywhere be respected. When you go into someone’s house you do not go into fridge, or bedroom or any private space unless you know that you are welcomed to do so or if the person gave you the permission. You have to be told. In other houses it may not matter. Some has a rule that there is prayer before every meal….at their house you must pray before eating whether you want to or not so why can’t a school with rules, when broken administer the punishment. Why should a mother condone her child in ill-discipline. What sort of example is that. The lawyer is just as bad in presenting a matter like that before the court and not expect a reaction. Present ALL the facts not what you think the facts are or 10% of it…100%. All or nothing and then realize it was not worth it and the only one that the mother is punishing is her child and the lawyer is pushing more wood in the fire to make a greater flame with his behavior. Who is to blame…it is not a blame game. Those who started it could end it the same way. If you love your child train your child in the right way…when a wrong is done, say it is wrong, just as when a right is done.

  11. I agree with some of the contributors here, this entire issue has been blown out of proportion. That being said, every parent has a right to seek proper representation for their child. Time to place the child in a private school. What about seeking a scholarship regionally? All is not lost for this young lady. It is of no use having her attending this school because of the [psychological] harm that was done to her regardless of what she did. What the school is encouraging is called “BULLYING”. An people stop using the bible to justify right or wrong because it is subjective. It is just a matter of time for some people to blame the government or Dr. Gonsalves for this situation. Time to move on.. shame on the reaction of the leaders at the school, it speaks for itself. Jomo stepped up to assist legally, someone else should step in and assist this young lady in healing.
    To the parents of this young lady I would say, success does not depend which school you attend, she has already proven that with her academics, build on that.
    In years to come this young lady given the lessons learned will accomplish her goals.

  12. The lawyer should know that when he brought such matter to court it will have national implications. Moreover, a decision in favour of the parent will sent a negative message to current and future students (in all schools within territory) that one can disrespect the teachers and get away with it. Why? Because mom or dad can hire a lawyer and sue….. this is a slippery slope and i hope that for the good of the territory that the student stays where she is being transferred. I attended SMSS back in the 80’s and when we were out of order we got beaten (and the school back then were predominantly boys). Some of us were even suspended. This situation isn’t new. The principal’s decision back then was final no matter how stringent it may have been. It worked out well for many of us as it produced many outstanding leaders who are essential to the territory and other countries around the globe.

  13. Eric Balcombe says:

    The best decision the court can make now is to seek counselling for both the mother and the student after making this issue a public one. I just hope she takes the courts advise and go to her new school and try to learn from her mistakes.

  14. My real worry is the damage that Jomo Thomas may of sustained from the fall out over this matter. Do you not think he should have counselling as well?

    He has obviously been seriously affected because he has what I call the calleveryoneamoron syndrome.

    I think Gonslaves would be a great counsellor for Thomas, he could give him some of the same advice as he would give himself.

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