Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Hampton principal fighting ministry-ordered special leave

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Heather Murray, principal of Hampton School.

Heather Murray, principal of the St Elizabeth-based Hampton School, is challenging the education ministry's decision to send her on two weeks' leave.

This is the latest in a string of developments after Murray came under fire for going to the St Elizabeth Parish Court at the January 4 bail hearing of Moravian pastor, Rupert Clarke, who is charged with having sex with a minor. She also attempted to block the media from taking photographs of Clarke.


Letter to board


Last Wednesday, following a meeting with Murray and other school officials, the education ministry said the principal would go on leave and get professional counselling services, given what has been described as her "recent emotional stress".

However, her attorney, Andre Earle, has written to Trevor Blake, the school's board chairman, challenging reports from the ministry that she agreed to apply for the leave.

"Our client, did not agree to apply for two weeks' or any leave at all," Earle wrote, arguing that the leave was recommended by Education Minister Ruel Reid without any discussion of the incident.

The letter, dated January 14, noted that in accepting her apology, at a meeting on January 12, the board had decided "to take no further action". Earle said his client "has no need or desire to proceed on any leave" and will therefore be continuing her normal duties as principal.

The board chairman declined to speak on the matter and directed The Gleaner to the ministry, which said Reid would not comment until the board submits a report by February 3.