MOE Official Investigating Sexual Misconduct Case in Belize City High School
The Ministry of Education is looking to delve deeper into the investigation surrounding a case of sexual misconduct at Canaan SDA High School in Belize City. A parent accuses one of the male teachers of engaging in an inappropriate sexual conversation with his child. The parent appealed to the Ministry to meet with him after he had reported the incident to the school’s administration but later realized that no measures were taken. According to Education Minister, Francis Fonseca, that meeting did happen with CEO, Diane Maheia and Chief Education Officer, Yolanda Gongora, and they were able to discuss how to move forward with the investigation and the future of the education of his child.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology: “The CEO and the Chief Education Officer had a meeting with the parent on Friday and you know the parent of course expressed his very strong concerns about the case involving his child you know and repeated on the record the concerns that he has expressed publicly. The Ministry of course reported to him what has been so far and we express support or a full and thorough – you know already there’s been a preliminary investigation but you know we appreciate that more has to be done and what’s most important and I think this was very important to the parent is that we have to put in place a very clear structure that will ensure that this kind of delay in reporting the matter to the relevant authorities does not happen again. I think that’s the primary concern of the parent. He understands what has happened to his child, the allegation, and he wants to ensure that that does not happen to any other child at any other school. So you know we had a very good I think discussion with the parent and you know some of it as you said is very personal stuff so I don’t want to discuss that but of course we talked also about the future of his child in terms of her education.”
Minister Fonseca says that one of the major structural changes that will come into play has to do with the reporting process from the time an allegation is made to the school’s administration to the time it takes to reach the ministry.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology: “When an allegation is made we all have to be accountable so when an allegation is made teachers, principals, managers, the Ministry of Education all of us have to know exactly what procedures to follow when that type of allegation is made and there should be no delay in that process so that’s the process I’m talking about. The reporting process and then of course the follow up behind that what action is taken to ensure that any teacher that is deemed a threat to any student is then removed from the classroom. Of course that you know you’d have to have due process and that has to be supported by evidence.”