The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, will continue to work with staff at the Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School to find solutions to the challenges affecting that institution.
The Ministry met with teachers and non-teaching staff over a period of two days – Thursday February 7, and Friday February 8 – to hear their concerns following a stabbing incident at the school on Tuesday, February 6, involving four male students.
In her opening remarks on the first day, the chairperson of the meeting, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, told staff that the Ministry’s personnel present would note their concerns and suggestions and take them back to the Ministry for further discussions with Chief Education Officer, Karen Best, and Education Minister, Ronald Jones, with the aim of charting a coherent way forward for the school.
“We don’t expect to provide all of the solutions. You are on the frontline; you experience the various challenges but we need to work together to effectively resolve the several issues. The Ministry sees it as one of our main responsibilities to make sure that teachers operate in a safe environment,” she stated.
Over the two days, counsellors from Network Counselling Services were also present at the school for any staff member who needed counselling. The Deputy Chief Education Officer stressed that staff would continue to access these services as needed.
Mrs. Adamson noted that during the two-day meeting, several staff members shared their concerns “openly and frankly”. “The atmosphere was cordial and at times emotional. Contrary to some reports made by one teachers’ union member, all persons making contributions were allowed to speak freely and without disruption,” she stressed.
The main areas raised during the meeting included the need for more guidance counsellors at the school to deal with students with emotional problems; additional security; training for teachers to deal with students with learning disabilities; and a need for curriculum reform to suit the cognitive abilities of students at the school.
Chairman of the Board, Dennis Holder, who was also present for the two days, emphasised that a post circulating on social media depicting a large collection of weapons – knives, scissors, screwdrivers and ice picks – which was credited to the school, was in fact collected from students but over a number of years, and was not the result of one weapons haul. He also pledged the continued support of the Board of Management to the staff and students of the school.
Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary will reopen on Monday, February 12, and Ministry officials will be present to address the student body on that day.