Redman: Not true
Mary-Ann Redman, president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), has charged that recent comments made by Harrison College principal Winston Crichlow, in relation to two disabled people at that institution, were inaccurate.
Her comments came in response to a report in the DAILY NATION that Government was considering retrofitting some secondary schools as management at Harrison College grapples with the challenges of two wheelchair users.
It was also reported that Crichlow said the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) was involved in the sensitive matter regarding the physically challenged teacher.
This, Redman said, was not true.
“The principal is saying the BUT is dealing with the matter; it is not in fact the BUT it is the BSTU. She is our member and we are actively dealing with this matter on her behalf.
“The second inaccuracy is that the teacher is in a wheelchair; she is not in a wheelchair. The teacher has a difficulty with her legs but she is still able to walk . . . all the teacher really needs is a dedicated classroom of her own in which to do her lessons. That is all.”
Redman added that the teacher’s ability to teach was “in no way impaired” and she was able to perform her responsibilities “and has consistently received excellent results.
Her attendance record is exemplary”.
Principal Crichlow was also quoted as saying: “The situation involving the teacher also presents problems and this has been drawn to the ministry’s attention for determination,” while admitting that a suggestion had been made for the teacher to be retired early or be accommodated at another school with suitable facilities.
But Redman charged that his recommendations were done without the prior knowledge and sanction of the board.
“In this way, he has shown the board grave disrespect and discourtesy as agents of the employers’ superior to him. I also want to say that the BSTU is actively involved in a grievance procedure against the principal on this matter but the Ministry of Education needs to deal with it more expeditiously than [it is] currently doing.
“And I just want to add here that if we follow the principal’s logic in relation to the teacher, is he then suggesting that the student in the wheelchair should be ‘retired early’ from his academic career or transfer to another school also? . . .
“The only person speaking about or referring to an early retirement for our member is in fact the principal. This has not come from a recommendation from anyone else,” noted Redman.
She told the WEEKEND NATION that the BSTU had not yet dealt with the minister on the matter since they were “still at the stage of a grievance against the principal”.