The Ministry of Education said that there is a zero tolerance policy for matters involving the misconduct of those within the profession, and in light of the recent matter in which a vice principal was arrested and charged for sexual abuse it has invoked Clause 132 of the Education Act.
That section speaks about reporting of misconduct by those in the profession and the role of the Chief Education Officer. According to the legislation, the Chief Education Officer must keep a record of all reports of misconduct made against teachers by principals, Boards of Management, or members of the public.
It also explained that the Chief Education Officer must in writing inform a teacher of any report of misconduct against the teacher, and warn him or her of the possible consequences of a further report of misconduct; on a second or subsequent report of misconduct against a teacher, the Chief Education Officer must report the matter to the Public Service Commission on a complaint with a view to disciplinary action.
The requirement for a warning does not apply to misconduct of the kind described in section 130(k) and such misconduct must be reported to the Public Service Commission on its first occurrence. That section says that a teacher convicted of any criminal offence involving dishonesty, fraud or moral turpitude, or is convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine, is guilty of misconduct.
The Ministry said in a statement that the care of the nation’s children is its uppermost priority, and in wake of recent reports from the Grand Anse RC School, the Ministry has embarked upon a series of external and internal administrative and pastoral actions.
“Collaborative efforts with the Royal Grenada Police, the Child Protection Authority, the Ministry of Social Development and the Catholic Education Board of Management will continue to ensure the security and safety of the students and teachers of Grand Anse RC and all other schools,” said the statement.
Vice-Principal Devon Francique of the Grand Anse RC school was recently charged for sexually abusing a seven-year old. He was placed on $25,000 bail with a line of other conditions which includes the surrender of all travel documents and an order restraining him from coming within 100 meters of the school as well as communicating with victim. Under Public Service regulations he will be suspended until the outcome of the case. If he is found guilty he will be fired and lose all benefits for his years of service, and if not convicted he will have to be reinstated to the post.
By Linda Straker