Central High staff celebrates chairman’s resignation
“Goodbye to my pain and my sorrows. So long! Bye, bye!” sang members of staff at Central High School just before they engaged in thankful prayer, embracing the news that the chairman of the school board, Henry Morant, had stepped down on Wednesday.
Teachers and other staff members at the Clarendon-based school yesterday ditched the black outfits they had been wearing during weeks of protest. Yesterday, huge smiles lit up their faces as they paraded in white.
Last month, staff members stepped up their protests in light of issues they had with the leadership of Morant, who is also facing a murder charge. They said that despite promises, neither the education ministry nor Member of Parliament Mike Henry had moved to address their concerns.
Jamaica Teachers’ Association representative Majoreith Manning expressed relief at the outcome and thanked the media for highlighting their grouse.
“Thank you for standing with us and allowing all of Jamaica to know the effect that politics has on education. We were not pleased, but we could not have done anything about it on our own. There is power in communication.”
Pamela Archer, the staff representative on the school board, told The Gleaner that all the teachers are pleased with the resignation.
“We are victorious, pleased they heard and addressed our concern, look forward to carrying on the business of school and do the job that the school is here for,” she said.
Quizzed on how much of a setback the sit-ins the protesting teachers staged would have on the students, Archer said that there wasn’t a lot of catching up to do.
“Even though we were having protests, we were working with the students behind the scenes. We worked on weekends. We had our ways and means of catching up,” she assured.
The People’s National Party’s caretaker for Central Clarendon, Zuleika Jess, said good sense had prevailed as Morant’s resignation was in the best interest of the school.
“I am aware that the teachers of Central High have been having challenges with his chairmanship for several months without there being any sign of any positive resolution. I, therefore, felt it was my duty to intervene and lend my support to the teachers,” she said.
“It is also important for us to ensure that the National Council on Education is urgently reconstituted so that the fit and proper criteria can be revised so as to ensure that a person facing criminal charges cannot serve on a school board in any capacity whatsoever,” Zess added.