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Teacher should have been penalized

BEA DOTTIN, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 25 January 2013

In Barbados today, rules can be broken without penalty and direct orders can be disobeyed without any form of discipline. It also seems to me that the policies and procedures governing industrial relations, collective bargaining and so on are taking a beating and some of us who should know better seem to be turning our heads the other way. As far as I am aware, if you are given a direct order by your boss, you should carry out that order except if you, the receiver of that order, feel or know that in carrying out that order, it will be detrimental to you or others. Other than that you should carry out that order and, while doing so, lodge your complaint or protestations in writing to the relevant authority following the proper procedures. Subject to correction, the letter of complaint that was sent to the Ministry of Education by the principal of Alexandra School was specific in nature about the refusal of a particular teacher to teach classes assigned. The teacher in question would have been spoken to and received warnings. That teacher should have been disciplined for disobeying a direct order, first and foremost. Did the teacher follow the grievance procedure? The complaint from the principal and the complaint from the teacher (if there was one) would have been investigated by the relevant authority and decided upon, following proper procedure. However, other distractions came into play from the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) concerning the principal’s behaviour and management style. Will those teachers who are not working under the memorandum of understanding disobey direct orders from the Ministry of Education? Will they set a precedent for others to follow? The preceptor at the centre of this chaos should have been disciplined and this, in my opinion, is where everything else started. If disciplinary action was taken, then the BSTU could have started or continued with their grievance procedure against the principal. They started wrong in trying to defend disobedience from one of their members and they will end wrong.


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