Some people at the Alexandra School are going all out to bring down Principal Jeff Broomes.
There was an environment of polarisation and war in some instances, teacher Mario Lashley told the Commission of Enquiry investigating the school’s administration and management today.
The teacher, who began working at the St. Peter school a few months before the January 2011 strike by more than two dozen teachers there, was one of two members of the teaching staff giving evidence today, both of whom spoke positively about Broomes and his contribution to the school.
Lashley, with his evidence led by commission senior counsel Milton Pierce, said most of the time he felt in the middle of it all, and had even annoyed some teachers who were unsuccessful in getting him to join the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union.
The witness did not agree with the strike action taken and said that he could not think of any circumstance in which he would take such action, mainly because he believed the students would always be the ones most hurt.
“…People would ask are you pro-Broomes? I would not give a yes and no answer because I am not at school to take sides, I am at school to do my job,” he told Commissioner Frederick Waterman.
Lashley also said the fact he did not agree with any plan to separate the principal from the school he has headed since 2002 did not mean he agreed with everything Broomes said or did.
He was also unhappy with the way some teachers related to the principal and spoke about him, especially some senior teachers, who did not hide their feelings when huddling in the staff room in small groups.
“Even at lunch time you know when something is up when you see certain people coming together and having their little meeting and things like that and you could very well see yourself as collateral damage,” he said.
“My impression really is that this is a war and there is this fear that they are trying to bring down the principal…but a work place should not be like that,..that is undermining. I connect those dots, that is my opinion…(to) make the system look as if it is failing under his management, that is a better way of putting it.”
The teacher said he had no intention to “strike on children”, saying the January 2012 action “in many ways” affected the children.
“I don’t think that things should come to that stage when you take such an action. To ask what they could have done instead? I may not be able to tell you,” he said. (SC)