Classes were disrupted at Delille Academy in Dangriga. Correspondent Harry Arzu stopped by the campus to get the details.
HARRY ARZU REPORTING
“Many teachers and most of the students from Delille Academy here in Dangriga are up in arms over a teacher who was terminated and has not been paid for services rendered to the school. The students who are out of their classrooms today are in solidarity with their Spanish teacher whose services were terminated after his teaching provisional license expired. They are also in support of other teachers and are in opposition to the administration. The students who are protesting on the campus with placards are demanding for the removal of their principal. Clearly there are a number of challenges that are facing the secondary school including a rift between most of the teachers and administration where the students are caught in the middle. Love News visited the school and spoke with the teacher in question Timothy Lewis, a board member and a teacher at Delille Academy, Denise Henry.”
“I was handed a letter of termination but I have worked for the entire month of April and I haven’t been paid as yet as everybody else on February. My teacher’s license had expired since the 19th of March but I did not receive that letter until the 24th of April. During that entire time I was on staff doing my job and last week Friday I was not paid like everyone else. So apparently the students are rallying their support for me because they are saying that since I already worked I should be paid like everybody else.”
“As the staff rep and member of the board I was informed of what was happening to Mr. Lewis yesterday, I think the principal approached him and asked him to leave the campus and informed him as well that he was not going to be paid for April. I was very shocked because as a member of the board I was not aware of anything happening to Mr. Lewis but immediately I remembered a situation we had where the principal allowed a teacher to remain in the classroom for 12 months and this teacher was not approved by the Teaching Service Commission and as a member of the board I was privileged to find out that the school paid for 12 months 100% of this teacher’s pay so I found it very unfair to Mr. Lewis.”
HARRY ARZU REPORTING
“According to reports from other board members there are also issues of concern related to lack of proper accountability for the school’s finances, delay of auditing discipline among others. Reports say that the protest will continue tomorrow. A senior member of the administration says that the commotion is all about the termination of Mr. Lewis. Delille Academy started out as an outreach program to young females of Dangriga who were not in high school. It was initiated by the sisters of the Holy Family under the visionary guidance and dedication of Sister Judith Barr Young in 1987, the school was then known as Christian Youth Enrichment. The curriculum in September of 1989 consisted of English Language, basic math, Spanish, Belizean History, music, Christian living and sewing. The enrollment was about 15 students then; basically it consisted primarily of informal classes including counseling. At present Delille has a population of 375 students.”