On Monday, parents from Saint Matthew’s Government School received a letter from the school which seemed to have caught them by surprise. The letter advised them that students will not be allowed on the school compound before 8:30 am from Monday to Friday. The news that students who arrive before 8:30 will be forced to wait on the roadside until the gate is opened, caused an uproar in the community. Today, Love News spoke to the Principal of the school, Shakeyra Berry. She told us why the school will stand on the decision as unpopular as it may be.
Shakeyra Berry, Principal, St.Matthews Government Primary School: “Some teachers told me that students are on the compound very early and they are causing a lot of mischief, they are stoning each other, they are hurting each other, they are playing on the spring, there is no supervision there that early. And it’s as early as 6:45am or 7am or 7:30 and we call in at 9am; so if they are there at 7am who will be here to supervise them? Yes we do have a security guard however it’s not the responsibility of my security guard or our security guard to be supervising these children. So because of that on the 26th of June when we had our final PTA meeting we discussed within the meeting and parents were informed that because of the safety of the students we would not open the gates until 8:30am and in the handbook of policy states that teachers need to be here at 8:50am but most of my teachers are here by 8:15 or 8:20 and for that reason we came up with the plan to open the gate at 8:30.”
Principal Shakeyra Berry pulled no punches and reminded parents that the teachers are educators and not babysitters.
Shakeyra Berry, Principal, St.Matthews Government Primary School: “Within the meeting, we opened the floor for parents to comment and in that meeting they did not comment, they did not mention anything to us on how it will affect them. So we because there was a consensus we believed that it was okay for us to open the gate at 8:30; now today when Love News contact me I realized that they parents they weren’t in any agreement. However it’s not that we just came up with this idea and we just threw it out at them on Monday, we did this from the 26th of June from when school closed so if there were any concerns they could have brought it out to us or brought it up to us so that we are able to adjust any time but they did not do that. Moreover as the whole community itself it they work and they need for their children to come to school early why do they need to be here at 7 or 7:30, that’s not our concern because I believe that parents should be responsible for their children at certain times and when they are here at school they are our responsibility but it just shows that parents they want to leave their children as early as possible for us to babysit and I don’t believe that we are babysitters, I believe that e are here to educate those children.”
The school will be having a parent-teacher meeting tomorrow to discuss the issues and concerns parents might have.