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Bishop Stands Firm Over Graduation Cancellation

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Rev Laish Boyd

By RASHAD ROLLE

ANGLICAN Bishop Laish Boyd is standing firm on his decision to cancel graduation and prom for the 2013 class of St Johns Anglican School – despite the public outcry and in the face of threatened legal action by the students.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Bishop Boyd said that no decision has been made to reverse the cancellation of St Johns’ graduation and prom as previously stated.

Yesterday news also broke that families of St Johns students wishing to participate in a graduation ceremony this year hired Bahamian lawyer, Christina Galanos, to represent them by forcing a reversal of the Anglican Education Board’s decision to cancel graduation and prom.

The attorney pointed out that each student has an individual contract with the school that stipulates a graduation ceremony, and that the school must demonstrate exactly how these contracts were broken before it can cancel the event.

She said each student has a legal right to fight for the contract to be enforced.

Ms Galanos said: “From what I’ve seen, the decision to cancel the graduation was irrational and inconsiderate. My primary objective is to force them to have the graduation and if that doesn’t work, our last resort is to get them to refund the money parents paid to the school as graduation fee.”

Rumours spread over the weekend claiming that in addition to a prank involving graduates setting their phones off during a special mass and the viral spread of a video of students dancing in a hyper-sexual manner, graduates also orchestrated a “ditch day” when large numbers of the class didn’t attend school, claiming they were sick.

Samantha Johnson, a medical student and graduate of the St Johns class of 2006, told The Tribune that as an alumni, she found the decision of the Anglican Education Board to be appropriate.

“The students were being really, really disobedient and I believe the right measures were taken in disciplining them,” she said. “They just need to get over it because St. Johns is not a play-play school, but a serious school that is among the top schools in the Bahamas.”

“99.9 per cent of the time the students follow the Christian standards set for them, but I’ve heard rumours that in addition to the lewd video going viral, other things, such as a planned ‘sick out day’ took place.”

“As a former student of St. Johns I was never mistreated and I know the Bishop to be a very compassionate man. Perhaps if the students apologized for their actions the Bishop and his team would change their minds. But graduation is a rite of passage and if they can’t follow the rules they deserve to be disciplined.

Yesterday, bishops from other denominations declined to comment to The Tribune about the matter.

Comments

banker 8 years, 4 months ago

Good for him. Stand firm Bishop! You are a voice in the wilderness.

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ThisIsOurs 8 years, 4 months ago

Ditch day? You've got to be kidding...where were the parents? Who are these people?

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Tria 8 years, 4 months ago

Finally, a voice that won't 'bend' to the masses!!!

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leeza 8 years, 4 months ago

Take a stand Bishop Boyd, We are standing with you, if these are allowed to graduate without any consequence. What message will they be sending to the students that will be graduating next year? their mindset would be yeah we have to out do them . Its so sad for students from a christian based school to carry on like those in the public school or worst the parents ought to be ashame of themselves.

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linnassau 8 years, 4 months ago

Keep standing firm on this issue Bishop. These students and their parents are out of order.

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TalRussell 8 years, 4 months ago

Even I must change mind, after watching the young man last night who is so proud to be the very first in his family to be graduating from high school. This young man is but one of the many who did nothing wrong to embarrass their High School. l am now defending the innocent students and don't want be one of the uptight and righteous, who just can't shut up.

If you have four children at home and two break the neighbors windows, you don't punish the other two siblings.They did no wrong. If any need to be called into the Principals office it has to be some of the parents. Not fair to destroy memories that will last the rest of their lives.

Principal Boyd, reschedule the prom for the good students and tell the rest to stay home, with their equally as bad parents.

Amen!

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MartGM 8 years, 4 months ago

How exactly is one to know the "good students" from "the rest"?

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Understandfacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Burden of proof should not be put on Tal.. It should be put on the people accusing these kids of being "bad". You can't taint and sully the good name of some students and there future reputations because of a few bad set. You claim the students are bad, show then who are bad.

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MartGM 8 years, 4 months ago

It was just a general question. It seems to the the main argument that some deserve it while others don't. So how do you determine who deserves a graduation and prom over who doesn't?

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Understandfacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Again the burden of proof should be put on us the audience, but rather the persons who are accusing these students and as such they should determine in an accurate and systematic manner how to punish the students.

Obviously the analytic approach was - there was no analysis done, just the decision made to punish all. A monkey could have made this decision.

If it was me, it was be served on the terms of the contract that the students sign, if I could prove that the infractions were in place - no graduation ceremony as the contract speaks too - if not then let the children walk.

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Stapedius 8 years, 4 months ago

They are still graduating. Just without the ceremony. Its funny. When the church doesn't take a stand we say they play a role in creating our social ills. When it does take a stand we act the fool and run out on tv and go on about law suits. They could have just as easily come together and try to speak to the Bishop one on one. The board made the decision and although he may have delivered the verdict I'm sure there was some consensus by the board members. But from the Cable 12 report the parents and the children behaved like a disrespectful mob. There is a way to do things and I wouldn't have gone near that mob activity even if my kids were involved.

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Understandfacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Many of the parents went to the Bishop one on one and the only thing the bishop communicated to them that "it was more than meets the eye". I feel he should explain to the parents that came to them what exactly met his eye.

I do agree that the church should take a stand but there are legal implications surrounding these circumstances and the deserving students and parents have every right to argue their contracts. Each student in SJC signs a contract which has provisions regarding graduating and a graduation ceremony, in the event that there is a breach of contract then in that circumstance the student should not graduate. The school is breaching the terms of the contract for the students that did nothing wrong.

Also the ACEA board is made up of 13 persons and 8 people must be present to make a ruling such as this, 5 showed up on Friday night last week and the decision was made.

I have a little brother who was to graduate yesterday it, I went to C.R walker and was a victim of a stabbing and my mother sacrificed everything to make a better opportunity for him, and her proudest moment was telling all of her family and friends that he was done and for them to take that away from her and him is not right I do not care what stand the church is trying to make.

They take about protocol and right and wrong but they do not follow the rules the stand for? I think the ignorance of the media and its audience is painting these kids out to be monsters. These kids are transitioning from kids to young adults, and only thing this is teaching them is the justice system and its iron fist is more powerful than those who do right.

The school and the Bishop should have properly called out the students and their parents who did in fact breach the contract and reprimanded those students accordingly. For them to disregard this important milestone in those kids lives and the meaning to them is very distasteful.

I went to the urgent meeting they had last week to tell this devastating and unfair news and I'll be honest they only thing that held me back from calling out some of those good ole Anglican folk is my personal lord and savior. Each student has the right to argue if they did not breach any term of the contract either to have their money returned or to walk in a graduation ceremony.

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MartGM 8 years, 4 months ago

You mention this "contract" but be mindful that students are also under contract to abide by the Christian principles of the school. If schools had taken a stance like this YEARS ago, we would be living in a very different country today. Every single students of that graduating class deserves this punishment. I graduated high school a few years ago and we would have NEVER pulled such a disrespectful prank as to let our phones go off during mass. That is outrageous!!! Furthermore, I've seen the lewd, dirty, derogatory, disrespectful videos... Every student in that class was well aware of what was going on. They chose silence and in this world, Silence often means consent.

We are living in a different Bahamas. Children need to remember they are CHILDREN First and yes under the age of 18 you are a child. Every single student knew was was going on and I'm very very sure there is more to this story. The great Bishop is doing the public a favor by not divulging all the activities that these group of 12th graders partook in.

At the end of the day, they will receive their diplomas. Hopefully this moment will remind them to make wiser decisions in the future!

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Understandfacts 8 years, 4 months ago

I am sure all provisions in the contract covered what the children needed to do or not do to have walk in the graduation ceremony. If someone at your work does a wrong doing, should you be punished as well? Silence often means consent, not always. And how in the hell is the Bishop doing the public a favor by not allowing some deserving students to graduate? I do not care how you cut the cake, they are some students that went to that school that aided by the contract put in place and they have the right to fight for what they was promised by that contract.

The teachers are often aware of the pranks the seniors pull just as the students are, should they be fired? I have friends that went to SJC that told me that the ditch day is nothing new, and the Bishop stated that the phone was not a big deal to him, because his graduating class done it as well, I heard this out of his mouth. This is fact. Your ignorance in this matter and commenting is disrespectful. Where did you see these "videos?" The urgent meeting that I went to, the Board only provided 1 video and that is what they considered an infraction.

Additionally, the contract is binding and what ever provisions are in the contract the school as well as the students should adhere too, if there were provisions in there saying that if a student knows something and does not report then the ramifications should be not graduating by all means. But as an institution and an organization for you to write up a contract and then to say all suffers for few, is like a spit in the face of the students and parents who did what they was suppose to do and more importantly it is a breach of contract.

I hope you do not have a child that has the potential of graduating and just because a few students are disrespectful he or she doesn't. I am sure if you were a parent, or a brother or sister or one of these students you would not be signing the same tune.

If there was in fact a governing moral clause that you speak to I am certain this was communicated and again if this was in the contract then by all means do not allow they children to graduate. This school is taking around 40K collectively from all of these parents on the basis that some were behaving badly.

The children may never get to have the ceremony promised to them, what good this does for you, them, the ACEA, Boyd or future students, current students, the school? And the little good it may do will never be compensation for the deserving students. It may help them make wiser decisions in the future or it may teach them that regardless of the good we do in this world and in this life, whatever bad is done from someone else, by situation, circumstance or affiliation, that will be penalized and wipe away their motivation to even want to do right.

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TalRussell 8 years, 4 months ago

The church does not kick you out for being a sinner, they seek you out to bring you into the church's fold. This may be a christian school but believe me, it also has it share of sinners. Students and faculty included. Just maybe principal Boyd rushed to judgment, by not listening to and asking questions from the students and parents, who broke no school rules.

It's not too late for him to get up to speed with trying to understand as best you can, how important the prom is in the lives of students and parents alike, who have spent the majority of their years to date, working toward graduation. The prom should not be canceled. Both go hand in hand, like a baby and a carriage.

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Bahamianpride 8 years, 4 months ago

Accountability, Bishop U are the Man...Keep up the good work....We need More people like u. Now if we could only get this type of Accountability to spread to the Police, Politicians and many communities we'd be OK

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Understandfacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Those children had individual responsibilities to honor their respective contracts not collective responsibility. The by the terms of their contracts were accountable for themselves.

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