Parents: They think they can push us around
Emotions ran high as Victor Scott School parents protested Government’s decision to relocate popular principal Valerie Williams.
“It is not political,” Education Minister Dame Jennifer Smith told a packed hall at the school last night. About 200 parents attended the Parent Teacher Association meeting.
Dame Jennifer was describing the shuffling of four school principals as a matter of personnel and training. Ms Williams, who joined Victor Scott in 2009, is to be transferred in the coming school year to East End Primary.
The Minister’s remarks came after parents threatened to pull their children from Victor Scott if Government acts on the transfer.
One parent pleaded with Government “not to uproot the tree before it has a chance to grow”. Another walked out of the hall saying, “She’s already made her decision.” The meeting lasted close to two hours.
“It’s not hostility, it’s just passion,” said PTA President Azuhaa Coleman. “I do believe that the Minister listened to us, and will think carefully about her decision.”
She added: “We need to hear reason as to why this is taking place. And our input needs to be heard.”
Some of last night’s comments from parents cast Victor Scott School as the underdog school in a disadvantaged community.
“We’re easy fall guys for them,” one mother told the assembly. “They think they can push Victor Scott around.”
Addressing the Minister, a father called out, to applause: “Why are you going to fix something that’s not broken?”
Another audience member told
The Royal Gazette: “I think parents are just fed up with disregard for the students. They got the school working, and now people want to see consistency. In a small community, the children should get to know their school principal. Mrs Williams is hands-on and knows their names, which is what they need in a school like this. It’s a style that works for this school.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Coleman stressed that she wanted to work with the Ministry.
“I’m sure the Minister can reconsider; I know she is taking it all in,” she said.
However, she said she would be meeting with other parent-teacher groups starting today, with the intention of organising marches if Government insists on the transfer.
Asked if many parents would transfer their children in protest, she said: “I know for a fact that I will if Ms Williams is transferred. I will take my daughter out of the school. Otherwise it will be the third principal she’s had.”
She said the PTA’s next move would be to send the Minister a letter and petition, and to liaise with other groups.
Dame Jennifer declined to comment.
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