Monday signals the return of students to the classroom countrywide. For those students at the Maya Mopan Primary School in the Stann Creek District, they may be getting an extra week break. The village alcalde, Constancio Teul, says it has to do with a stand off between parents and the school principal. Love News understands that there was recently a change in school hours and that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Constancio Teul – Alcalde of Maya Mopan: “The original time was from 8:30 to 3:30 but he gave the parents a note that the time will change from 8 to 3 so the few parents who were there that were there who were informed they didn’t say anything at the time and if this has happened for the past three years but within those three years parents have had concerns with the timing because for the preschoolers to begin at 8 and the parents are saying let’s go back to 8:30 which is a better time for us and the principal had a meeting with him but he made that change already. The only person that can make that change is the General Manager so I spoke to the General Manager at the time and he said to let me write a letter and have the parents sign it so it doesn’t look like it’s the Alcalde doing this by himself so I did that and the time still did not change until the we the parents made a protest when they did not send their children to school for one day and the local manger came and intervened and then it was changed because we did that, then it was changed to 8:30 to 3:30. We want the Ministry to come now and having a meeting with us now, that is what we are demanding because we wrote a letter to the manager and he is not meeting with the parents.”
Teul says the change in time had to do with accommodating the teachers who commute to school daily. Ciani Gonzalez is a teacher at the Maya Mopan Primary School; she told Love News that the school had reverted back to the normal hours and that there are other reasons why the situation has gotten to this point.
Gianni Gonzalez Teacher: “They boycotted the harvest and everything, we met with Mr. Walter Garbutt and the PTA and then after that meeting the principal changed back the time, he sent a note back to the parent to change the time to 8:30 to 3:30. First we started at eight and we ended at three because we didn’t have any bus going into the village to drop the teachers off, the bus that we get from the town dropped us at the George Town Junction. Just this September a bus started to go back and pick the students up and take them to George Town and that is the bus that when it goes in and picks up the students we take that bus to go in, when the bus comes out to drop the students that is what we use to go the junction to catch our commuting teachers bus.”
We contacted the Ministry of Education but they told us that they are not aware of the situation. We will keep following this story.