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Thomas says client didn’t know daughter was being transferred

Thomas says client didn’t know daughter was being transferred

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Jomo Thomas, lawyer for the woman suing the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) and the Ministry of Education, said his client did not know her daughter was being transferred to the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia (EHSM).{{more}}

Thomas made his claim while responding to an application put forward by Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan to set aside an interim order made by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle on September 20 to reinstate the girl at St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown.

In his submission, Thomas told the court that the principal of SJCK Calma Balcombe, in her affidavit, appears to make the point that the parent knew that her child had been transferred as early as March 18, 2013.

“There is nothing! Apart from them making these assertions, there is nothing that evidences the fact that the parent knew that child was transferred,” Thomas argued.

The Attorney General had, earlier in court, said, the applicant attended a meeting with officials of the school on March 18, and that it had been made clear to the mother that the child was to be transferred as a result of disrespectful and defiant behaviour displayed towards teachers.

Thomas told the court there was no official correspondence from the Ministry of Education or from the school notifying the parent that the child was to be transferred.

“All the parent knew is that the child was suspended for two days,” Thomas continued.

Responding to the Attorney General’s submissions that material facts were not included in his client’s affidavit, Thomas said his client mentioned what, in her estimation, was the matter of paramount gravity, which was the disrespectful writing in the book by the girl on March 12, which he said was disclosed.

He added that the letter of suspension, which was sent to the mother, did not clearly elaborate on the disrespect that was allegedly being committed by the student.

“It simply says, if this disrespect continues, she will be dealt with by the disciplinary committee. It doesn’t elaborate what constitutes disrespect,” Thomas said.

“The mother showed up at the school with her daughter on the day [March 18] she was required to do so. She never had any inkling at all that this was supposed to be a meeting with the disciplinary committee, but the kind of mother she is, she showed up at the school to find out what was going on with her child,” he added.

Thomas pointed to the principal’s affidavit which stated that the teenager was never an “A” student, which Thomas said was a “misunderstanding”.

He noted that the student, in her first five terms at the SJCK, scored on issues of responsibility, co-operation and application.

He also noted that between form one and two, the child scored grades A and B.

According to Thomas, the mother, in her affidavit, made the point that the student had a bad relationship with one of the teachers in the third term of Form 2, and received C, B and D grades.

“The point about the material non-disclosure having to do with the A student, the emphasis is on the attitudinal relationship of the child, not the academic relationship. If we look at the academic record, it is evident that the child is not an A student,” Thomas added.

In response, Jones-Morgan told the court that the respondents showed that the applicant (mother), on March 18, 2013, along with her daughter, went to the Girls’ High School to seek a transfer.

“The applicant knew her daughter was going to be transferred from SJCK… And on July 11, she went to the Minstry of Education. She knew her daughter was going to be transferred,” Jones-Morgan submitted.

According to Balcombe’s affidavit, the child was not given a book list, since she was not returning to school, even though her report said she was promoted.

“This applicant knew the circumstances as early as March 18 to July 11 and did nothing, My Lady,” Jones-Morgan continued.

The Attorney General said that the facts upon which the applicant came to the court were not truthful and there was no material disclosure of the facts.

On Monday at the High Court, Justice Gertel Thom ordered that the interim injunction be lifted and the student transferred to the EHSM, pending the outcome of the substantive matter on November 15.

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