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Send head teacher Bowens elsewhere – Parents

Send head teacher Bowens elsewhere – Parents

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The decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to reinstate Colbert Bowens as head teacher of the Fancy Government School is not sitting well with the parents of the seven students who died in a vehicular accident at Rock Gutter, Owia, on January 12, 2015.

Yesterday, a person close to one of one of the Rock Gutter victims, who asked that his/her identity not be revealed, said on Sunday all the parents of the children who perished in the tragedy (with the exception of one who could not attend) held a meeting at Fancy, during which they all agreed that while they are not against Bowens being given back his job, they are against him being reinstated at the Fancy Government School.

“We are in support of the reinstatement of the principal, but not at Fancy,” said an irate family member, who claimed that following the accident, Bowens, on more than one occasion, made negative statements aimed at parents.{{more}}

She said that the parents as a group had written to the chief education officer (CEO) and copied the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), stating that they were “disgusted” by remarks made by Bowens after he was charged with causing the deaths of the children.

Bowens was suspended from his post by the PSC in November 2015, after he was found by a Coroner’s Inquest to be culpable in the deaths of the seven students. Following the verdict, Bowens was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence in relation to the students’ deaths, but on May 4, 2016, the charges against him were withdrawn.

On September 5, the SVGTU issued a release calling on the PSC to reinstate Bowens with immediate effect.

But according to the upset mother, “The SVGTU never investigated the occurrences, yet it was quick in its bid to call for reinstatement of the principal.”

Giving examples of occasions on which the parents were offended by Bowens, the source said that during a general assembly at the school on November 12, 2015, Bowens, in the presence of two parents who are also teachers, asked the students if they had heard any “commess” about him over the weekend and if the students had seen photographs of him in the newspapers and what were their views on manslaughter, the charge that was laid against him.

According to the source, Bowens also told the students to inform their parents that “who is for him is more than who is against him.”

On another occasion, while the Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of the children was going on, Bowens asked one of the grieving parents on staff: “Which do you prefer, here (school) or there (court)?”

Bowens, who is also a pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church, was reinstated by the PSC last week Tuesday and returned to work yesterday, Monday, September 12.

“We are trying to let the public be aware of what happened, because the Ministry of Education and the SVGTU did not investigate the issues; they did not investigate and they reinstated without investigating,” alleged an outspoken mother, who revealed that the group of parents is going to start a petition to have Bowens transferred.

“We are going to sign and members of the community will sign and say they don’t like him there,” said the Fancy resident.

Attempts by SEARCHLIGHT to reach Bowens for a comment proved futile. (LC)

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