For more than a week the report that a teacher of the Ivan Dawson Primary School in Cane Garden Bay gave a student a cleaning supply that is alleged to be Pine Sol to gargle has dominated public discussion. Since the report first surfaced the teacher involved is said to have been suspended from the school. However, Second District Representative Hon. Melvin Mitch Turnbull whose constituency includes the school announced that the matter deserves to have alarms raised and actions taken.
During a community meeting held at the same Ivan Dawson Primary School on 10 February Hon Turnbull stated that what allegedly transpired was not acceptable. The District Representative announced: “At the end of the day, all of us have children and or grandchildren attending school; and, if it was anyone of us, everybody knows what their reactions and their behaviours would have been. It is just simply not acceptable! It is a crime against children. The Juvenile and Young Persons’ Act states the different forms of abuse; that’s one of them.”
“We cannot let it be swept under the rug. I do not want the teacher’s life to be destroyed, nor would I throw all teachers and educators in the same bus, but something must happen, because I will tell you what I told the parents: “sue the government”. Because the students are in the teacher’s care and the teachers are the responsibilities of the government,” the District Representative announced.
While noting that the matter should not be taken lightly Hon. Turnbull announced that in other countries the report would have resulted in a stern response.“Anywhere else in the world there would be a different course of action and the fact that it was held for so long and on top of that you are hearing how much more incidents in this school and others have occurred.”
“…there was supposed to be a report by today, and today has come and gone. A report needs to come out by tomorrow so we could know what actions were taken,” the Opposition Member added.
Promptly after the incident report commenced circulating on Facebook Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Hon. Natalio Wheatley commented on the matter.
During an interview on JTV’s “The Big Story” the Minister explained that he heard of the report while he was in Cabinet on 29 January and immediately made inquiry from education and school officials. He further disclosed that the issue was transferred to the Teaching Service Commission, who will then make any decision regarding disciplinary actions.
Meanwhile, Hon.Wheatley announced that the aim is to ensure that an incident like this is never repeated. “It is my understanding that the teacher made a mistake, he is a young teacher, I would like to get the report from the Ministry from the interviews before I comment on the details on exactly what took place. I will ensure that [mistake]will not be repeated in the education system. It is something very serious and we must all work together to ensure that our children’s health is safeguarded and that is very important to me and that is at the forefront of my mind,” Hon. Wheatley said.