Teacher under investigation at Canaan SDA High School
A male teacher at Canaan Seventh-Day Adventist High School in Belize City is in the hot seat after being accused of sexual advances on a female student. Principal Jaime Roberts confirmed to Love News this evening that the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues into the matter. Based on screenshots of conversations our newsroom has seen, a concerned parent sent an email to Love News, the National Committee for Family and Children, and the Ministry of Education on Monday, January 23 about what has been categorised by this parent as “predatory behaviour”. It is alleged that the male teacher reached out to the female student via Instagram about a week ago. The child told her parents, who screenshot the conversation. One of the parents, who wish to remain anonymous, reported the matter to the school the following day. The parent says that the school did not act but they called for the dismissal of the teacher in question. The child’s parent spoke to Love News late this evening.
Concerned Parent: “I immediately got angry which I think is the natural response, at the teacher not at the school or the establishment, at the moment. A lot went through my mind. One of the things that went through my mind over the anger and everything else was my daughter and her experiencing this at such a young and tender age really kind of made me focus on her and how she is emotionally doing and dealing with it and processing it and her thoughts on the matter. Apart from the anger directed toward the individual that sent the messages that was the main thing running through my head about her and conversing with her and making sure she’s okay. As an adult I kind of know my way to navigate around certain things so the priority was her. The school was very they listened to us, they heard our advice, they said they would look into it, very nonchalant. The response at least during the interaction seemed very lackluster. At the time we weren’t aware of some other things that came to light later on of course but we were still hopeful. We left there somewhat disappointed from the interaction but hopeful that justice would be served, that action would be taken in a timely manner and that we would be communicated with throughout the entire process and kept abreast about what is happening and so forth. The worrisome thing is that what we’ve heard from our daughter is that she is not the only student, and those were her words that she communicated to us, whose been sent messages of this sort from this particular individual.”
Following the initial report about a week ago, the parent says the school administration said or did nothing and that teacher was still in the classroom – that is, until today when the parent met with the school’s principal. He says that the school’s sluggish response is tantamount to condoning this sinister culture.
Concerned Parent: “Now my anger was not just directed toward the perpetrator of these messages, these disturbing, gross messages but it was now directed toward the administrative staff and their level of incompetence and their inability to be empathetic to – like they didn’t even fake it. It’s so gross that they didn’t even fake it and as you can see within the messages that were sent to my daughter the teacher that sent these messages make note of a previous incident that recently happened involving another teacher who had a relationship of a – at least according to the messages – of a physical nature with a student, a minor. Which I take and I think anybody with common sense and any parent takes very seriously. You know unwanted advances especially if it’s manipulative, it’s predatory in nature and it takes away the innocence of their daughter. The child is never at fault in these situations at least in my understanding. They’re an adult they can say no, they can stop it even if whoever is initiating what it’s just sickening and it seems like it’s just systemic at the school and that’s my personal opinion of course. It seems like this is something that may not necessarily be condoned but with the slowness to act or inability or failure to act indirectly you are condoning it.”
So what’s next? Will this child be pulled out of school? The parent says they are weighing legal options, including filing charges against the teacher with the Police. The child’s parent also encouraged other students to step forward.
Concerned Parent: “I am thinking about it. I’m strongly thinking about it and with each passing moment I’m moving more in that direction especially when I see the failure to act, the lack of transparency and communicating. I haven’t closed the door on Canaan High School or its administrative staff or you know the managing body or what have you that exists they’re more than welcome to communicate with me, we’re more than welcome to sit down and have a civil conversation and go through this step by step and I’m more than willing to use my expertise that come from the business world to educate them on how – I’ll even write the SOP for them because I want this fixed because if it is systemic, even if I do remove my daughter from that school then I’m not actually stopping it from happening to other children with other teachers. So yes it’s about my kid but it’s about everyone else’s kid.”
Reporter: Are you concerned that because it appears that the situation is systemic that maybe other students are at risk ?
Concerned Parent: “Definitely. A hundred percent. I believe that wholeheartedly and I would encourage every child to come forward to their parent and tell their parent what happened, have proof, have the messages, have the screenshots, if there’s a phone call, a voice message sent on WhatsApp or one of these mediums have it, do not delete it, come forward. Get justice. You deserve justice. Protect your child and educate your child as well too so that they’re not easily intimidated and persuaded, there’s nothing that these teachers can do to us they are public servants they serve us not the other way around.”
Love News has contacted the Ministry of Education for comment. We will continue to follow the story.