Some of his teaching staff portrayed him as a tyrant and their tormentor in chief.
As far as former Alexandra School teacher Carl Padmore was concerned, however, Principal Jeff Broomes was a humanitarian driven to tears by a student who was virtually past the point of no return.
Padmore gave this account of the principal’s tenure at the Alexandra Achool, a period he said shifted between heaven and hell.
What he was sure of, though, was that Broomes was not the villain some said he was, especially the way he cared for students.
“Because I am aware that this session is being viewed at least by tomorrow all over the world I would not call the student’s name, but if we were in camera I would. The student was in 3A 6 and I said to Mr. Broomes ‘I want help with this student’ because this student is at the end and all I am hearing from this student is negativity,” Padmore told the commission this afternoon at its hearing at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
“We worked together to ensure that this student was still in school. I must tell you though, there was some friction between that student and Mr. Broomes and he only cried because the student thought that Mr. Broomes hated him. That student right now has a good job because Mr. Broomes sat with him and we found a way to help that student.
“He (Broomes) cried because he didn’t want to lose that child and that sticks with me even up to now. Red Plastic Bag came down by the school and had a chat with that child, we went to those extremes.
“This particular class to me it was a special class because in this class you had 90 per cent of those students stopping down, so much so that they called themselves lower fourth because they saw themselves that way,” he added. While he did not report shedding any tears, Padmore said he experienced “scorching hostility” at Alexandra from some members of the staff.
“There were days that down there felt like heaven, but other days if there was ever in my mind a picture of hell sometimes down there felt that way. If hell is ever like how some of those days were I don’t ever even want to smell it,” he said. Despite the challenges there, he said the principal tried to have good relations with everyone at Alexandra.
“My personal observation is that Mr. Broomes sought to build a good relationship across the board…, including with ancillary staff,” the witness testified.
“He was always in my personal view looking after students, teachers, strangers. We have seen this, at least I have seen this.” Padmore also said his relationship with Broomes did not suffer even though they often disagreed on issues.
“We disagreed in terms of some projects I wanted to do. I also had other ideas for the school in general and we disagreed on timing, the place for it, how it should be done, we disagreed on the external companies and individuals that should be involved, and so we disagreed many times,” he noted. (SC)