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We must get the small things right

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01.MAR.11

Editor: Permit me to air some views in your newspaper. I am very concerned about a situation that has developed and is developing in our society, with regard to the issue of the three teachers who are accused of being involved in immoral activities with their students.{{more}}

Let me also state here that, while I may air certain views on the matter that might be in support of the men, I do not in any form or fashion condone any immoral act between students and their teachers, especially those where sexual contact is made.

I am pained by the fact that these three men are being dragged across the coals, as it were, for an offence for which they are accused and have not been charged, by the society at large, while the person who is making the accusation is kept in secret and protected by the organs of the state. Permit me in my ignorance, but if a person or a group of people bring an accusation against another, isn’t the accused made to know who is bringing the accusation? Why is this student or young man being kept in camera? What makes him so special? The authorities both at the college and those of the state have refused to release the name/s of the person/s making the accusation against the men. The public has gone ahead and posted blogs and used social networks and radio programs to release the names of the three suspects in the situation, yet no one sees it fit to release the name of the so called victim or victims.

Myself and others are well aware as to who the person making the claims is. For legal reasons I cannot mention the names of anyone here, but I can say enough to give clues, just like the radio stations, the blogs in cyberspace etc did to the teachers. All that I would mention are facts that can hold their own in any court of law in this country.

The student involved has been a troublemaker from time immemorial. Any of his teachers at the secondary and post secondary level can admit that he has been nothing but trouble. This student, while he attended secondary school, stole an electronic device of a teacher at the school and destroyed it after making use of it. When investigated by school authorities, he was found guilty and expelled from the institution. He found himself at the community college where during his first year of studies he committed several offences, including that of creating chat logs of other students engaged in conversations that suggested that they were involved in immoral activities and sent them across the Internet in an attempt to destroy their characters. He also created a false Facebook page and false conversation between a teacher at a secondary school and another individual that suggested that they were involved in immoral acts and sent it around the Internet, with the same intention of destroying character. All of these conversations involved all males. These are situations, Editor, that the authorities at the schools this student attended are aware of, but no one seems to want to say anything, even though they know the nature of the individual. It is almost as if they are afraid of him since they too might be added to the list of persons he has to get back at. I bet if I were to call his name here many teachers will kiss their teeth in disgust.

The last deviant activity that this student was involved in took place at one of the campuses of the Community College. He ventured into one of the staff areas and stole something belonging to a lecturer. It costs in the region of over 2000 EC dollars. Almost a year later, he was caught with the item by the teacher and was subsequently expelled from the institution by the authorities. This is the nature of the person who is bringing accusations against the three teachers.

When, therefore, I talk about getting the little things right, I refer to the fact that the authorities of the college should speak up about these situations for which they have had to discipline this individual in the past. Clearly, they must be aware that he has the ability to do things that are just as immoral and damaging. A thorough investigation should have been done internally to ascertain whether or not the student’s claims are credible before any reports were made to the state authorities about the teachers. For example, where did the student get the chat logs from to take to the police and the newspapers? Well, if indeed he took them from one of the computers of one of the teachers against whom he is complaining, then I say the teacher is deserving of such, because he had no right to allow a student to use his computer. But aside from that, anyone can use anyone’s computer and anyone can chat using anyone’s computer. This raises another other issue that these so-called chat logs do not have to be those of any of these teachers. We live in an age where persons can create chat logs or use programs to use people’s original email, recreate it and chat as if they are the ones chatting. This leaves one to wonder about the credibility of chat logs as evidence of a crime in the court of law. I do not even wish to comment on the political overtones that seem to be involved in this situation, but, maybe if we listen to certain radio stations on Wednesday nights, we might understand.

I wish to say a few words to persons in the teaching profession generally, because I have noticed certain trends that have become even more worrying now that this situation has developed. I often visit primary and secondary schools and I notice that quite a few teachers and their students are friends. They ‘lime’ together, they chat on MSN and Yahoo, they are Facebook friends, Myspace friends, Twitter friends, just to name a few. I see teachers inviting students to their homes for meals and recreation, sometimes in small numbers, at other times in large groups. We need to stop this. As sad as it might sound, we need to go back to the days when there was an impassable wall between teacher and student. Just another of the little things we need to get right before we end up in big things.

Observer

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