Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw has made it clear that she has no plans to intervene in a matter at a private secondary school, which has been accused of discriminating against a transgender
According to reports, the mother of the student has launched an online petition after the school insisted that the boy, who identifies as female, must wear the male school uniform.
However, this morning Bradshaw told Barbados TODAY that the school, being privately run, was well within its right to set its policy, providing that they do not run counter to Barbados’ laws.
“You are referring to a private institution and while we register these schools, they mainly regulate themselves. We can’t go in and regulate them but we expect that our private institutions respect our laws, they would be fair in its application and they not pursue discriminatory practices towards any student or any individual.
“I expect that in the fullness of time that the school will comment on the issue at hand and that they would find a resolution to that issue,” said Bradshaw.
The Minister, who appeared to have conducted some level of investigation into the matter, suggested that based on what she has been told, the school has made efforts to accommodate the student in question. She also pointed out that parents had the right to decide whether or not they wanted their child to attend the institution.
“My information tells me that they have been more than accommodating in relation to the issue and they are well within their rights to be able to make a determination in terms of their policies at the school and persons are free either to pay for their students to go there or not. I think this is a matter that the school is dealing with and out of respect, I will allow them to be able to deal with that in the public further,” she explained.
It was reported that the mother, a Canadian citizen plans to move the child to a school that would allow the wearing of the female uniform, but not before taking the fight online, garnering 200 signatures as of yesterday.
“My daughter was forced to wear a male uniform for the entire duration of the last school year. On top of that, she was constantly referred to as a boy by some of the local teachers and she felt singled out and embarrassed,” she complained in another section of the press.
However, when asked if the Ministry of Education was prepared to grapple with the sensitive issue, should it rear its head in the public school system, Bradshaw noted that this was not the immediate focus, as the issue has not presented itself. She made it clear that her ministry would not shy away from the issue if it ever arises.
“My focus is on dealing with the public schools and so far that issue has not arisen in the same manner within the public schools so we have not had to confront it in the same way that they are obviously having to grapple with it. We will deal with it when that time comes,” she stressed.