Principal Jeff Broomes is a school bully. And his chief victim was Margo Clarke, head of the Alexandra School’s English Department for 16 years, seven of them under his leadership.
Clarke, who retired in 2009, leveled that charge against her “So that is why I said and I believe that he can be classified as a
former boss today while giving evidence at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra.
She said Broomes traumatised and terrorised her and allegedly told people “he hated me”.
Clarke, who a previous witness, the principal’s former secretary Betty Williams, testified had contemplated striking Broomes with “a piece of two-by-four” after a heated exchange, told the commission: “Mr. (Jeff) Broomes proceeded from September 2002 to target me, that’s the only way I can put it. It reached the stage that I was of the view that I was the only one that was being targeted.
“He had all kinds of problems with me, he claimed that I didn’t do my work, that I didn’t hand in the schemes of work, that I didn’t hand in this, that I didn’t hand in that and the torment went on for all of term one and continued into term two of school year 2002 to three.
workplace bully, because bullies continue to try to traumatise and terrorise those who are their victims and I was really and in truth his victim.”
She added: “It was not easy working at the Alexandra School as head of the English Department under Mr. Broomes, it was not at all.”
Clarke said in her evidence that all of this eventually prompted her to retire in 2009, earlier than she had intended.
“I had reached the stage at Alexandra that the principal exhibited great hostility towards me. It reached the stage that he even said to people that he hated me and I was very uncomfortable in that environment, my health began to be affected so I thought it was in my best interest, if I wanted to maintain a satisfactory level of emotional, physical, spiritual and mental well being to leave the Alexandra School,” she said
The witness also told Commissioner Frederick Waterman that
contrary to what some people had suggested, she and other “Alexandra old girls”, former students who became longstanding
teachers, were not against Broomes when he got the job in 2002. “When Mr. Broomes was appointed principal, did you welcome his appointment?” commission senior counsel Milton Pierce asked her.
“I certainly did. I joined with other staff members, especially Mrs. (Amaida) Greaves and we planned a welcome reception, we welcomed him with open arms,” she said. “It has been said that we did not want changes and we did not want a male principal, nothing could be further from the truth.
“We had already had a male principal, Mr. Erwin Brathwaite for eight years before Mr. Broomes arrived, so therefore it is not correct to say that we did not want change and we did not want a male principal. We accepted whoever was sent, there must be changes so we could not determine who should be sent.” Clarke, who taught at Alexandra from September 1980, also said
things were much better under previous principals, including Brathwaite.
“It was very good, we called ourselves a family, we lived harmoniously. If there were anything that needed to be discussed we were allowed to discuss them, and share ideas, and if any problems arose solutions were sought,” she said. (SC)