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GHS refused two requests from mother to admit SJCK child

GHS refused two requests from mother to admit SJCK child


Headmistress of the Girls’ High School (GHS) Andrea Bowman, earlier this year, refused two requests to admit the child at the centre of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) saga, to the GHS.{{more}}

According to affidavits read in court, on March 18, 2013, the same day that the SJCK principal claims she told the mother that her daughter would be transferred from the SJCK, the woman visited Bowman at the GHS.

These facts were disclosed on Monday, by Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan, who was seeking to have set aside, an order made by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle that the child be reinstated at the SJCK.

During her submission, Jones-Morgan read a letter from Bowman, addressed to the chief education officer, Lou-Anne Gilchrist.

“Dear Ms Gilchrist, on Monday, 18 March 2013, I was visited in my office at the GHS by [the mother] and her daughter. [The] daughter was dressed in the uniform of the SJCK and her mother told me her daughter was a third former.”

The letter further states, “The purpose of her visit was to seek a transfer for the student from the SJCK to GHS. [The mother] told me the reasons for requesting the transfer, including the fact that her daughter had walked off the school’s compound in spite of being cautioned against so doing. I told [the mother] as far I was concerned, when a student walks off, she keeps walking,” the letter read.

“I further said to [the mother], that my observation of her daughter’s behaviour for the short time she was in my office leads me to the conclusion that she is ill disciplined. I then said to her that I have no intention of importing ill discipline at GHS.”

Bowman, in the letter, said the mother left her office shortly after, but returned about a week later with the same request.

“I told her that I have spoken with the principal of the SJCK and I have no intention of granting her request of a transfer for her daughter.”

Balcombe, in her affidavit said that on March 13, the day after a disrespectful note, written by the 14-year-old girl, was discovered, she asked the girl to go to the library to await a letter to take to her mother. Balcombe said instead of waiting, the child left the compound, even though she and another teacher told her if she left, she could not come back.

According to Balcombe, when she met with the parent on March 18, it was made clear to the mother that the child was to be transferred because of her behaviour. She said the mother said “that’s alright”.

Justice Gertel Thom, on Monday, set aside an interim injunction granted by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle on September 20, which ordered that the student be reinstated at the SJCK. Thom ordered that the student attend the EHSM until the determination of the lawsuit, which is slated to be heard on November 15.

Counsel Jomo Thomas represents the child’s mother (the applicant) in the matter.

The respondents in the matter are principal of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown Calma Balcombe, the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, the Ministry of Education, chief education officer Lou-anne Gilchrist, senior education officer with responsibility for secondary schools Asfo Stephens. (KW)