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Sex Claims Row At Primary School - Were Children Left Unsupervised?

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Education is investigating whether the three boys who have been accused of sexual misconduct involving a young girl at a public primary school were left unsupervised at the time of the reported incident.

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald told The Tribune that he has asked the director of education to meet with the school’s principal and the district superintendent to determine whether there was neglect on the part of any school official.

His comments came a day after the ministry released a statement saying that allegations of sexual misconduct at the school were discovered by a guidance counsellor who was reviewing “appropriate touching” in a family life lesson.

“I have asked for an investigation to determine under what circumstances these kids were left unattended to see whether or not there are gaps in our school system throughout the day that leaves kids unattended and if that needs to be addressed or if this was an isolated case,” Mr Fitzgerald said after leaving a Cabinet meeting.

“The director will report to me when the investigations are complete with recommendations as to how we can ensure that this doesn’t happen again. This ordeal raises questions about the fact that in our society, with the digital age and technology, our kids are just exposed to so much out there.

“Unfortunately, a lot of times they are unsupervised on these devices and they have access to pornographic websites where they are unable to, at their age, understand the complexity of what they are watching. Most times, they act out what they see. Unfortunately this happens a lot in primary schools, not just government primary schools but in private primary schools.”

Mr Fitzgerald said as adults and parents “we need to do a better job monitoring our children” and letting them know that “this is not right.”

He added: “This incident came to light because during a family life discussion on appropriate and inappropriate touching, one of the (children) involved in this matter came forward and spoke about the inappropriate touching that occurred. That then alerted the officials to go and investigate further.

“All of the relevant agencies were called in to deal with that matter, we treated this very seriously. We moved very quickly to call in the police, call in Social Services and call in our psychologist. There is protocol to be followed and (it was) followed in this matter. This is an unfortunate event that occurred, but at the end of the day this is a microcosm of our society. The school is a microcosm of our society and these things happen.”

When contacted for comment, acting President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers Zane Lightbourne said he is “more than positive” that none of his members were negligent in their duties on the day in question.

Ministry officials said they have withheld the name of the school to protect the students involved.

Comments

Ryla 3 years, 5 months ago

Is this a joke? Granted I haven't been in primary school in 20 years, but I remember being unsupervised before school and during break and lunch. Someone would be posted at the campus entrances to make sure no one left, but otherwise if we needed a teacher during those times, we had to make our way to their classroom. I attended both public and private schools, and the only exception was my grade 6 teacher, who shocked us all on the first day of school with the announcement that he did not allow his students to play outside. I sure others may have different experiences, but it's ridiculous for both a minister and a union leader to claim that they don't know children are unsupervised during part of the school day. Maybe some of the negligence is theirs.

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duppyVAT 3 years, 5 months ago

Do the principals expect the teachers to babysit the children all day ....... before school, during break/lunch, afterschool??????????? Sit in the classrooms with the????? Do you post teachers at the bathrooms????????? Do you put cameras on "out of bounds" areas??????????

What extent do you go to avoid negligence in supervision??????????

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 5 months ago

Both correct, I don't know what the minister is referring to. He should have been monitoring Rubis. He's always after the fact. You cannot watch kids every minute of the day, it's impossible, unless you keep them in the classroom during break and lunch and you don't let them leave at the end if the day until a parent comes for them at the classroom door. Seems like the kids spoke up after the bad touch lecture, maybe these lectures need to start at younger ages with continuous age appropriate lectures as the kids grow.

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sansoucireader 3 years, 5 months ago

Basically just more 'talkin' fool' from Minister Fritzgerald.

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Jonahbay 3 years, 5 months ago

This hits close to home for me. I am sorry that any child has been touched inappropriately at school or home. The facts show that you cannot supervise children 100% of the time on any day in any school. What we need are more age appropriate talks from K-3 straight on thru. We love the knee-jerk reaction in The Bahamas, let's try being proactive for once. I'm torn up about seeing this in the paper, but happy that things have not been swept under the rug again.

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