Disciplinary action is being taken against a female teacher of the Tranquillity Government Primary School, heard in a viral voice recording berating and threatening her students.
In the interim, the teacher has been pulled from classes and the school’s principal has made arrangements for her to operate from the staff room.
This was confirmed by Education Minister Anthony Garcia this morning.
Garcia said the affected students, said to be traumatised by the teacher’s rants, are being given counselling by members of the Ministry’s Student Support Services Division.
In the recording, done by a pupil, the teacher is heard saying:
“I warn allyuh. Tell them stay away from me with their ghetto behaviour. This school is like the worst thing. Just how the parents disgusting, the children disgusting. And tell them I say. I have flicking court clothes.”
“And doh watch me so (name called) because you sickening. Your mother have one of the worst attitudes. And everybody warn me about you. The whole school…how you go have she around you, she does thief, she does this, she does that. Ah say she know what time a day with me….ah will kill she. So doh watch me with the side of your eye with your dunce self.”
“Same thing…look…I ent talk five minutes about allyuh disgusting, ghetto parents and miss come to complain that a parent send a bad letter. Nasty set of parents. All of them should just hang themselves. All they know is to sit down and write letter. Why the hell they don’t go and find a work and mine allyuh instead of sitting down and harassing teacher and have time to write letter. They had time to write the flicking letter, they have time to help allyuh do the homework and make sure allyuh learn? Allyuh eh even know allyuh damn tables. Allyuh don’t know nothing. Let them send any (letter) for me. I will make allyuh sit down and eat it. Be prepared to eat it and swallow it. Because I want suspension. I want to go home for five years with pay and when I come back after five years is time for me to retire and relax my life.”
Garcia told the media this morning that within a day or two the Teaching Service Commission is expected to issue the accused teacher a letter ordering her to cease and desist from reporting for duty.
“That cease to report for duty letter will be given to the teacher as soon as we compile all the information. In fact, at this stage, I have been told that all the information that is necessary has already been compiled and it will be sent to the Teaching Service Commission by today,” he said.
Officials of the Ministry of Education, including Garcia, chief education officer Harrilal Seecharan and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education Lenor Baptiste-Simmons, visited the school in Port of Spain this morning to get first-hand information regarding the voice note and other problems at the school.
Garcia said reports coming out of the school has left Ministry officials “very concerned and very disturbed.”
“Because it seems to us that apart from the rants of that teachers, there is a general feeling of indiscipline among not only students but teaching staff. It has been made clear to us that some teachers don’t seem to be able to conform to the regular standards of good performance. We have been told about late coming, we have been told about absences, we have been told about a general lethargy in terms of the performance of some members of staff,” he said.
He acknowledged that it is not some often that he will publicly criticise teachers, but Ministry officials have been left with a “painful feeling in our stomachs” about what has been transpiring at the school.
He said, for example, the school has a history of corporal punishment being administered to students, so much so that members of staff have been asked to give reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.
“And the reason for this is because of violation of the rule that there should be no corporal punishment,” Garcia said.
He went on:
“We have also been told that it is the practice of some teachers to have private lessons on the school compound, which is contrary to the regulations of the Ministry of Education and it’s even in the Education Act, because the Education Act would say that no teacher must charge for any service that he or she is giving to our students.”
Garcia said the Ministry will be meeting with the director of school supervision and the school supervisors to ensure that some of these shortcomings are corrected as soon as possible.
“The Tranquillity Government Primary School was once a beacon where all schools are concerned. Something has gone wrong and when that question was asked the immediate answer was leadership. And if the problem is one of leadership then that has to be corrected,” he stressed.