Simmons: I was trying to help
Alexandra School chairman Keith Simmons isn’t about to take the blame for industrial action there earlier this year.
In fact, Simmons believes he was actually offering principal Jeff Broomes a helping hand last year when he opted to meet with senior teachers at the St Peter institution.
And the chairman does not believe his actions entrenched a division between those same teachers and Broomes, eventually leading to industrial action at the school on January 3.
“I don’t think I was acting outside my authority. I actually thought that by meeting the teachers I was helping him (Broomes),” the chairman testified on Day 9 of the Alexandra School Commission of Inquiry today.
Simmons noted that his “help” included meeting with the teachers and sending a copy of the minutes of the meeting to Broomes.
“I wanted him to know what the teachers were saying. I felt that would help ease the tension.”
In response to a question from Broomes’ lawyer Vernon Smith, Simmons said his action to invite the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU)?to the school compound for the meeting was in no way meant to undermine Broomes’ function as principal of the school.
The chairman added that he was not aware of any regulations in the Education Act that prevented him, as chairman of the board of management, from meeting with staff to discuss any issues. (BA)