Classes ended abruptly today at the St Leonard’s Boys’ School, after more than 30 of the 70 teachers at the Government-run institution called in sick, in apparent protest over the dismissal of a clerk typist.
It was just yesterday that President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman served notice during a news conference at the union’s Belleville, St Michael headquarters of possible protest action in support of the terminated worker, and today the union seemingly delivered on its threat.
After more than a third of the teaching staff failed to show up for work, school was dismissed today at noon – just after lunch – instead of the customary 2 p.m. However, up to 1:30 p.m. several students were still milling around the school compound, waiting to be picked up, as parents were seemingly caught off guard by the early closure.
When approached by Barbados TODAY, Principal Joseph Maynard refused to comment on the situation.
And in the absence of an official comment from Redman, another union official warned that today’s action was just the “first stand” against the school’s board of management, the principal and the Ministry of Education.
The source explained that the clerk typist at the centre of the dispute had been employed at the Richmond Gap institution for three years before she was “unfairly dismissed” on August 31, 2017.
The official also said that over 40 members of staff had written on her behalf calling for her reinstatement. However, the school board has had at least two meetings without addressing the dismissal.
“We as a union and we as the teachers of St Leonard’s Boys’ School will not take it and this is our first stance of action, so they better fly right and do what is right to that woman,” the union spokesman said, while insisting that there was no legitimate reason for the termination.
“She is an excellent worker . . . . She goes above and beyond the call of duty day after day,” the teacher stressed.
The source, who did not want to be identified, also suggested that under Maynard’s leadership, the school was in disarray.
“The leadership skills are very poor and it is chaos. That entire school is chaos,” the source said, while disclosing that the timetable for the new term had only been finalized this week.
“This is week three and the timetables should have been done at the end of last term and because of all the nonsense going on, as a manager and as a leader, the timetables were only fully constructed by the end of this week,” the teacher complained.