Jamie Lee Usher Seeking Legal Options Following Her Termination from Belize High School

Jamie Lee Usher Seeking Legal Options Following Her Termination from Belize High School

The administration at the Belize High School has refused to comment on the recent termination of its principal, Jamie Lee Usher.  The news came as a shock yesterday afternoon as Usher has been at the institution for the past 13 years, and has been at the helm of the school’s milestones and recognition.  As we indicated, her letter of dismissal yesterday gave no basis for the termination.  A timeline sent to us, however, indicates that she has been targeted since November last year.  It is a lengthy list of events that led to this point, but to encapsulate, we can tell you that the Board of Directors had reportedly embarked on a micro-management of sorts; dictating who can and cannot travel for the upcoming regional and international competitions that Usher had organized and led for years.  Usher took a stand against this, saying that it is important to understand that the delegation must have certain requirements and experience.  In addition to this, the Board of Directors had called for a meeting back in November, but later postponed the meeting, and uninvited her to the next. By December, the Board voted for Usher to be terminated with eight of the ten votes against her.  Usher requested a meeting with the Board where she was presented with a letter, purportedly from several teachers with allegations against her.  According to Usher, the signatures had no names attached, and she was unable to verify who her accusers were.  Later in December, she sent a letter to the Board which was leaked to the faculty and staff.  The contents of the letter reportedly created a distressed environment, and had even led to one head of department taking away the cell phones of teachers to verify that they were not communicating with Usher.  In January, Usher was forced to seek legal counsel, and her attorney had subsequently written to the board, citing unfair treatment towards her from the Board.  Other than an acknowledgment of receipt, the school did not respond to the attorney.  The school did, however, issue a release today, confirming Usher’s termination, and indicating that Majiba Sharp will be holding over until a replacement is found.  Usher’s husband, Minister of Public Service, Henry Charles Usher, was out at the school yesterday afternoon, lending support to his wife as she packed up her stuff.  Meanwhile, the United Women’s Group, UWG, an arm of the People’s United Party, has registered its support and solidarity with Jamie Lee Usher.  In its release, the group says that such an incident is a chilling reminder of the challenges faced by women in leadership.  Usher has been dubbed a trailblazer in STEM Education, and a visionary leader that propelled Belize High School to international fame, and a standard of excellence.  The release further notes, quote, “The news of Usher’s termination has deeply saddened and angered the members of the United Women’s Group, who recognize the systemic barriers and biases that often hinder women’s advancement in leadership positions We call upon the BHS administration to provide transparency regarding the circumstances surrounding Usher’s termination and to ensure that fair and equitable treatment is afforded to all employees, regardless of gender.”  End of quote.  Love News understands that Usher is seeking legal counsel on the way forward.

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