Parents demand ousting of Dallas Primary board chairman
Parents of children attending Dallas Primary & Junior High School in rural St Andrew reached their boiling point on Monday morning with the current chairman of the institution, Karlene Brown.
This led to them blocking the gates of the school from as early as 6 a.m. to communicate a strong message to the woman they deemed as an unfit leader.
When asked for a comment, Brown told The Gleaner tersely: “I do not wish to be a part of your story. No comments.”
The parents claimed that the previous acting principal was treated unfairly and was forced to return to a senior teacher position, after acting in the position for four years under the leadership of Brown.
They fear losing another good principal, Prudence Allen, and chose to demonstrate on Monday to get the attention and intervention of the Ministry of Education and Youth and the media.
Calls to Allen’s phone for a comment went unanswered.
Shadae White, parent-teacher association (PTA) president, told The Gleaner that its members were opposed to any attempt to oust Allen as principal.
“We need Ms Prudence Allen to remain as principal here at Dallas! She has done a tremendous job and we don’t see where she is lacking in her performance, based on what we are hearing,” White said.
She continued: “The community loves her ... the children love her ... the teachers love her and they back her 100 per cent. We need the chairman to resign effective immediately!”
White said that in the early months of the pandemic, Allen walked the community to ensure that all the students were able to log on to online classes.
Past president of the PTA, Sasha Maragh Hibbert, added her voice to the pleas of the parents, describing Brown, alongside whom she once worked, as an “autocratic leader”.
“We have a principal here who is such a warm and welcoming person. Mrs Prudence Allen is such a nice lady!” Maragh Hibbert said.
“We want Karlene Brown to resign with immediate effect! We want her to leave! That’s the only way we can move on in this [school],” she added.
Maragh Hibbert said she and many other parents have kept their children enrolled at Dallas Primary School only because of the compassionate treatment of their children by the teachers.
Another parent, Patricia Walker Barnaby, was very vocal on the matter.
“It is understood that there was earlier resistance from the school’s management to the prospective principalship of Annmarie Burton Clue. This is the same thing that is taking place with Mrs Prudence Allen, so because of that, even if Mrs Prudence Allen leaves, the same thing will happen to the next principal that is going to come,” Walker Barnaby said.
Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Youth who were at the school during the protest declined to comment.