Anglican priest Rev. Charles Morris has roundly condemned the “public posturing” of self-styled child rights advocate Shelly Ross, amid ongoing controversy surrounding a recent violent attack involving a student and teacher at the Ellerslie Secondary School.
“It is a bad precedent because she is not availing herself of any facts,” Morris told Barbados TODAY, adding that as a teacher, he found Ross’ utterances to be quite worrying.
“If we follow closely what Miss Shelly Ross did last week without any facts, without listening to any interview or anything, she came to a conclusion that the teacher was wrong and the child was right and the poor child this and the poor child the next,” the outspoken Morris, who is a senior teacher at the Combermere School, complained.
“Adding to that, how can you base your conclusion on no sort of evidence, castigating teachers? I thought that we act on rationale, on reason, on these kinds of things, but to just posture like this does not augur well for any kind of relationship in Barbados,” the educator added.
In a scathing attack on Ross, who has been lobbying for the transfer, to another school, of a female Ellerslie teacher, who allegedly was attacked by a third form student, Morris questioned Ross’ credentials for speaking on such matters.
“I wonder what qualifications she would have to make her a child advocate. This is concerning me as a teacher and as one who always looks out for the best interest of students. She has no grounds to be calling for the teacher to be removed,” Morris contended.
He charged that Ross had not spoken to both sides in either the Ellerslie issue or the “wrapper controversy” at Springer Memorial that resulted in a female student being transferred.
“The thing at Springer Memorial, she was there. Ask Miss Ross what happened at Springer Memorial? She does not know apart from what was reported. Did she go to sit down and talk to the principal? Did she talk to any of the teachers at Springer Memorial? Did she talk to principal or any teachers or students at Ellerslie?
“You don’t come to a conclusion based on one side of a story,” Morris contended. “The teacher does not recall Shelly Ross speaking to her. I don’t know if the teacher was dazed from the cuff that she got, but the teacher does not recall speaking to a Miss Shelly Ross.”
Morris said the situation has now resulted in students taking “an attitude that they can do teachers anything and get away with it.
“I had an experience last week at school where . . . I told this guy to go to his class. I asked him what class does he have now and he said he did not know and I said, ‘two terms and two weeks and you do not know what class you have at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays?’ . . . and the opinion was expressed that they can do teachers anything now and they can get away.”
“That is what is happening in our country and that’s the feeling among the students as well, that they can do things to teachers and get away with it because everybody ‘pun’ their side. Now this is setting a dangerous precedent here in Barbados where teachers can no longer discipline students,” Morris warned.
In further questioning the involvement of Ross in the recent controversy, he asked: “Is this the same Shelly Ross who came to Combermere in 1998 and presented herself as a business woman? I can’t say that it is.
“I am wondering if it is the Shelly Ross whose daughter was dismissed from St Winifred’s School. If it is the same Shelly Ross of 1998, then she could contact me.
“Tell her to return to Combermere School at any time and I will be willing to talk to her and have a discussion on advocacy and children’s issues. We can discuss things like respect for authority,” Morris said.
Efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach Ross were unsuccessful.