Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Distraught GSAT parent unsure of son's future

Published:Monday | June 20, 2016 | 6:00 AMJason Cross
Raquel Fullerton

While some Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) students are basking in glory after receiving their exam results, one disgruntled parent has been left to contemplate her son's future. She is distraught with the decision made by the school, adamant that he was given a raw deal through no fault of his own.

Racquel Fullerton believes that her 12-year-old son, Ricque Fullerton, was not given a fair chance in the GSAT, which led to what resulted.

Through pain and tears, she shared her story with The Gleaner.

Ricque became ill on the first day of the examinations - during the sitting of mathematics - and was reportedly sent home by the principal, who the mother said assured her that her son would be given an opportunity to repeat grade six the following year.

"My son went to GSAT not feeling well. He was having diarrhoea. I did still bring him at school, and when I went there, the principal was having devotion. After devotion, going towards his (the principal's) office, the grade-six coordinator saw me crying. She stopped me and said, 'What happened?' So I said, 'Ricque not feeling well'," Fullerton said.

She said she told the teacher of her son's problem and said she was told to speak with the exam invigilator, who then advised her that the school would give her a call if her son's situation worsened.

"I leave, went home, and just as I reached home, I get a call that I must bring change of clothes for him, because it get worse. By time I reach, I was in tears. I spoke to the principal and he said to me, 'Mother, I blame you because you should have come to me first before he go into the exam room'."

TOO ILL TO CONTINUE

She said she explained what happened, and was told by the principal not to send Ricque to the second day of exams, as he was too ill to continue. She said she was told by the teacher that "Ricque is young, he can do it over next year".

"I was following instructions the whole time, thinking everything was OK," Fullerton said.

She said that on the second day, her son did not recover fully, and because of the instructions she received from the principal, she made him stay home. She thought the decision to have her son repeat grade six was final, but she was in for a surprise.

"In April, he came home one evening and tell me that a dispute happened at school and the teacher used the sickness to curse him, saying is not fi har fault seh him (mess) up himself inna GSAT and couldn't dweet. I went to the school to find out what was happening, and the teacher said to me that she did tell Ricque that because him tell her about her mother," she said.

NO ANGEL

Fullerton further stated that the teacher suggested that they go to the principal's office and discuss it. She said she was then told that her son would not be graduating, because of the alleged disrespect expressed towards the teacher. She, however, admitted that her son sometimes struggles with behavioural issues.

"I know my child is not an angel, but I get curious because I said, how graduation come into this? So I said to the principal, 'I don't understand how graduation come into this and Ricque didn't do GSAT.' So it seemed to me that he would be repeating grade six. Him just start get irritable and a curse seh me a look somebody fi blame fi mi pickney loss," she said, while maintaining that she was following the principal's instruction not to send the child on the second day.

She also said that when she raised the point with the principal that she acted under his instruction, he did not deny or accept responsibility.

When The Gleaner contacted Education Minister Ruel Reid on the matter, he said it would have to be investigated.

A response could not be obtained from the school, as a representative said no one was available to speak on the matter.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com