The BNTU condemns teacher accused of sexual misconduct
Tonight, the Belize National Teachers Union is condemning the actions of a Belize City teacher accused of sexual misconduct. As we have reported, a male teacher at Canaan Seventh-Day Adventist High School in Belize City is accused of sexual advances on a female student. The teacher allegedly reached out to the female student via Instagram and made inappropriate statements to her. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues into the matter. BNTU National President, Elena Smith, says that the union has reached out to the ministry to ensure the matter is addressed accordingly.
Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “It’s a matter that as a union we do not condone I must say that upfront we do not condone such actions and while as a union we have an obligation, we have a duty to represent our membership we ensure that we do that and so if any member is involved in such a matter and they come to us we will represent them. Representing them simply means that we will ensure that procedures are being followed, that due process is being complied with, that the teacher is not being taken advantage of that sort of thing but we would not be defending a wrong doing. And so we as a union we have raised this matter at all our branch meetings thus far. We have informed our teachers of what we have seen happening and we have advised them to ensure that they keep away from those kinds of situations where they can be in trouble because at the end of the day wrong is wrong and we are a professional organization and we ensure that we let our teachers know that we will not be defending wrongdoing. So we are hoping that we can provide some avenue for our teachers to be able to get some sort of training to be able to help and deal with whatever issues that they may be facing as it relates to these matters. We have also discussed having a meeting with the Principal’s Association of Secondary Schools and see how we can team up to provide some support for our teachers. We have to pay attention to the process in dealing with this matter alright? So the education rules itself provides a manner that these matters are dealt with so it’s not just the principle would just automatically send the teacher home and say “okay you did this, this is the allegation go home.” you have to follow certain procedures because a lot of times when these procedures – just like a court if you miss a step in a procedure a criminal can get off because of a technicality exactly and it is the same thing with us so you have to follow certain procedures and so they have to ensure that there is an investigation going on, lots of things have to happen. So while as a parent you may want that teacher to be put out right away because of the undue stress on the child the school has to follow those procedures so that then whatever recommendation the board makes to the ministry, not the ministry itself but to the Teaching Services Commission, whatever recommendations goes to the committee and to the commission for a decision It has to be one that would have come about after following that procedure. So that’s the first thing. In terms of our students of course we feel for them they are our students as well. For the secondary schools most of them fortunately have counselors in place and so those counselors can assist those students. We don’t have counselors that we could share with them. The ministry is able to provide that as well for them and so the parent doesn’t have to go and incur expense for that service the school can provide it or the ministry can assist and provide those services for the children but we do understand the impact that such an experience can have in a child and we would not wish it for any other child.”