Alleged predatory teacher no longer in the classroom says Education Minister
The teacher from Canaan SDA High School accused of sexual misconduct against a student is no longer in the classroom, according to Minister of Education Francis Fonseca. Over the weekend, the Ministry of Education will be receiving the final report on its investigation into the matter. The teacher is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a female student, whose parents reported the incident to the school’s management. However, the issue was not addressed immediately and led to the child’s father meeting with representatives from the ministry. Minister Fonseca explained that the ministry is working to resolve the issue and prevent similar occurrences.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “Well the teacher is no longer in the classroom. As you said tomorrow or today may be the last day for some final reporting on the matter. So the Ministry has been engaged, the Ministry of Education has been fully engaged in the effort. The Chief and the CEO have met more than once with all the parties involved in this matter so it’s a very serious matter, we’re taking it very seriously and as soon as we get the final reports then a determination will be made but certainly as I have said consistently there is zero tolerance for that kind of behavior. There has to be zero tolerance for that type of behavior in our educational system and so at the end when we receive the final report decisions will be made. I can say to you that in my discussions with both the church management and the unions the BNTU they have made it emphatically clear that their position is that they too have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior, that they will not in any way shape or form provide protection or shield any teacher who is accused of that type of behavior. Of course they quickly add that they have to ensure that there is due process so yes everyone is entitled to due process under the law, that is a constitutional right but you know we as I have said to them many times to them we have to be very careful about the very clear, strong message that all of us together are sending to the Belizean community, to our young people, to our teachers and so I think as we speak today I think there’s a much better understanding of all of us saying in a very loud clear voice that we will not tolerate that behavior from any individual in our education system.”
Minister Fonseca further explained that the ministry is also looking into why the school’s administration did not immediately report the incident to the adequate authorities.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “You know I was the first one to be very critical of the school to say to them they should have not delayed, there should have been no delay in them bringing this matter to the attention of the Ministry of Education reporting it to us so that has to be fixed, that cannot happen again. You know but yes that you know there has to be due process. There has to be due process yes. You know with technology today you know all sorts of things can happen with text messages and other things so there has to be some process in place that provides for a proper investigation to verify and substantiate these allegations that are made. But once we are clear on what has happened then you know action must be taken decisively and we must as I said send a very strong, clear signal and message to everyone that there is no space in our education system for predatory behavior at any level.”