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BSTU: Act, or we will protest

marciadottin, [email protected]

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The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has warned that it will take some form of protest action if problems its members face at Alexandra School are not solved before the start of the next term.“If there is no resolution before the school year starts in September, the school year will not be starting in the normal manner,” BSTU president Mary Redman told the DAILY NATION last night.She was speaking following an at-times heated two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting of Alexandra School parents and teachers at Coleridge & Parry School in St Peter.At the meeting, some parents and teachers suggested a picketing of the school at the start of the term, as well as airing of their grouses on the Facebook and local call-in programmes.However, Redman declined to say whether a strike was in the works.“We intend that at the beginning of the school year this issue will be resolved, if it means using all of the avenues available to us to bring it to resolution,” she remarked.The BSTU has long been at loggerheads with principal Jeff Broomes over what it called the unfair docking of some teachers’ pay, accusing Broomes of acting “in bad faith”.Broomes came under heavy fire at the meeting, with a number of parents and teachers being critical of his management style.Parents and teachers also spoke of falling grades at the school, with some parents saying they were considering switching their offspring to other schools.An estimated 50 people attended the meeting and several spoke of problems they and students were experiencing at Alexandra School.“This is not the environment in which I want my child to be educated,” one parent complained, saying she was considering moving her daughter to a private school.“We will meet with the Minister (of Education, Ronald Jones) on Wednesday,” Redman told the DAILY NATION. “We will discuss the ongoing situation and try to bring it to an end. It must be brought to an end now. The school year is finishing and we do not intend for the problems to go into the next school year . . . .”She described the meeting, called to sensitise parents and teachers about the situation at the school and to “clarify” some matters, as “successful”.“Many persons are incensed now that they know the truth of what is happening in the school,” she said. “They have . . . decided that there would be further consultation among themselves to decide on the best course of action that they, as important stakeholders, can take to bring resolution to an issue that has been ongoing . . . for far too long a period of time.”