Qualified, experienced teacher says employment eludes her because of stature
Jodie-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
It was in February of this year that Latoya Latty graduated from the University of South Florida, with a Master of Arts in early-childhood education, attaining a grade-point average of 3.8.
Despite being 3'7" tall, the 35-year-old has been making big strides as an academic, as she was among the top of her graduating class in the programme administered through the local Shortwood Teachers' College.
However, Latty yesterday complained about being denied access to a job as potential employers have made her height an issue.
Latty has garnered five years' experience as a teacher as she taught at the Holy Childhood Academy.
"It has been an issue for years, even when I was employed, but it has become worse now. I was teaching at the Holy Childhood Academy, but it closed in June. I've been to several interviews and one employer told me that the interview was good, but we are concerned that you won't be able to reach the board and some say they would call me back but their facial expressions say it all," she said.
She noted that many parents at Holy Childhood Academy had complained to the school's administration, saying they were not comfortable with her teaching their children.
"I had situations where parents have gone to the administration to make complaints that they don't want no short person teaching their children and some, when they come to the classroom, you see it on their faces. There are those who support me to the fullest, but for the most part, there have been a lot of complaints about my height," she lamented.
Sister also concerned
Latty's sister, Cecile Cameron, also voiced her concern, saying she hopes something can be done to address the issue.
"She is currently unemployed and her height is a big issue, which should not happen and is like everybody is paying scant regard to the issue. I am really hoping something can be done," she said.
Latty told The Gleaner she wrote to the Ministry of Education in April and after receiving a response signed by "the minister of education" in May - about possible employment - nothing has been forthcoming.
However, when The Gleaner contacted Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, he said he knew nothing about the issue and would not be commenting.
"If that had come to my attention, something would have been done because that concerns me. But until I am aware of the issue, I will not be commenting," he said.