Nearly a week after a “very cordial” meeting to resolve a dispute surrounding a 14-year-old student, the matter remains hanging with no signs of a resolution.
Elicia Weekes, the mother of the pupil at the centre of the wrapper controversy at Springer Memorial School, along with her lawyer Steve Straughn and child advocate Shelley Ross met last Friday with Minister of Education Ronald Jones on the future the child’s education.
Following two hours of talks Straughn reported that they had agreed to work in the girl’s best interest and structures were being put in place to ensure her return to school.
The teen has not attended classes for nine weeks, and this afternoon her mother said there had been no word from the Ministry of Education since last week’s meeting.
“I am upset but all I can do now is wait. Of course I am not pleased at all. How can any mother be pleased at all? Remember the Minister is not on the island, so for right now it is a matter of waiting,” Weekes told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
There have been suggestions of a number of schools in St Michael to which the fourth form student could be transferred. However, Weekes has denied that any such proposals were made during last Friday’s meeting.
In a recent post on Barbados TODAY’s Facebook page, Ross appeared to indicate that the parent had requested that her daughter be transferred to one of two schools.
“There has been lots of comments about transferring her to a school other than Ellerslie. We would accept The St Michael School or even Foundation, to which the answer was that she did not get the marks for either school in the Common Entrance,” Ross stated in the post.
“However Springer Memorial transferred a child to Queen’s College who did not get the marks for QC – but ask the question – who is her father?”
The student was suspended for refusing to pick up a wrapper after she was ordered to do so by a teacher and the principal.
At the end of her suspension she was kept away from class and put to sit on a bench as punishment for continuing to refuse to pick up litter, her mother claimed.
Prior to last week’s meeting, Weekes refused transfers to Daryl Jordan Secondary School and Elerslie Secondary School, citing personal reasons.
Though he did not make direct reference to the matter, Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave’s comments yesterday to St Elizabeth Primary School students suggested that he was not in agreement with the teenager.
Delivering remarks during the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations, Sir Elliott advised the students to respect themselves and their teachers and to love their school.
“You should obey reasonable orders. Do not say, ‘my mother didn’t send me to school to pick up this or that’.
“Young ladies, do not try to become adults before you are adults. I want you all to make the best of your school days. You cannot expect to make any serious advancements in life without a good education. Set goals and achieve them by laudable means,” the Governor General added. (AH)