Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Penwood senior teacher loses bid to challenge dismissal

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2021 | 11:51 AM
Justice Carole Barnaby, in refusing the application, made no order as to costs. An application for leave to appeal was also refused.

Dismissed Penwood High School senior teacher Christopher Stephenson has failed in his bid in the Supreme Court to get leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to quash a decision of the Teachers Appeal Tribunal.

In March last year, the tribunal upheld the decision of the school's Board of Management to fire Stephenson from his post effective March 31, 2017.  

He was fired because of neglect of duty but Stephenson contended in an affidavit filed in court that several breaches took place during the hearing.

He contended also that the punishment handed down was excessive.

One of the lawyers representing Stephenson said today that the legal team is contemplating taking the matter to a higher court.

Stephenson, who was employed to the school in 2004, was fired because he failed to submit the School Based Assessment (SBA) samples for several subjects to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in 2016.

He was selected as the school's examination coordinator and had the responsibility to submit the SBA samples.

In August 2016 when the CXC results were published, students and their parents converged on the school to query the ungraded status on the result sheets. 

The personnel committee had a meeting in November 2016 and decided that Stephenson should answer to a charge of neglect of duty.

Stephenson was notified of the charge and the school board met in December 2016 and found him guilty of the charge and decided that he should be dismissed.

Stephenson took the issue to the tribunal, which said it found no basis upon which to disturb the sanction imposed on him. 

Justice Carole Barnaby, after hearing legal arguments from attorney-at-law Donna Rufus, who represented Stephenson, refused the application and made no order as to costs. 

She also refused an application for leave to appeal.

The Board of Management, which was represented by attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman and the tribunal, which was represented by attorneys-at-law Tamara Dickens and Louis Jean Hacker from the Attorney General's Chambers, were the respondents.

- Barbara Gayle

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