Categorized | National News

SJC Parents In Uproar

Parents of students in the 2013 senior graduating class of St John’s College are planning to take legal action against the school after officials cancelled the students’ prom and graduation amidst allegations of “gross insubordination and deceit.”

The graduation was scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church and the Emerald Ball was set to take place Monday June 24 at the Sheraton Hotel.

Friday night the parents and students were called into an emergency meeting on the school’s campus around 8:00.

That meeting was hosted by Bishop of The Diocese of the Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands Reverend Laish Boyd who informed the angry crowd that the remaining activities for the seniors were cancelled after a video surfaced allegedly showing some of the students at a school motorcade and dance reportedly acting inappropriately.

However, the parents allege that the dance was sanctioned by the school and took place on campus, just feet away from the principal’s office, with teachers watching and never intervening.

The video has since been removed from Youtube.

Shortly after the announcement was made tempers flared at the Michael Eldon Drive campus.

The Bahama Journal was the only media house on the scene Friday night the parents and students had gathered in protest.

The gathering got so rowdy that the police had to be called in as the crowd gathered around and spat venomous words at Rev. Boyd as he jumped into his car to leave the campus.

“You are a disgrace,” one mother shouted.

“We didn’t do drugs, we didn’t have sex, we didn’t drink, we did nothing wrong,” another angry student yelled.

On Saturday, the irate parents and students met again at the school to express their “disgust” with the decision and to cement their stance that the students did nothing wrong.

“I am beyond disappointed in Bishop Laish Boyd because he refused to hear the students out,” Michelle Goffe, a mother said. “He is taking a very prized possession from them. After 14 years of school fees they don’t want to come to any kind of negotiations.

“I am very disappointed in him. It is very aggravating to me because people are traveling to go to this graduation. I am insulted by his attitude last night, the board sat there and did not open their mouth and they sat there and watched him railroad these young students.”

Another mother presented a container full of medals, awards, certificates and other accolades, proving that her daughter Simone Thompson deserves to graduate tomorrow.

“Simone represented St. John’s in Orlando, Florida on the basketball team since she was in the seventh grade and then she was on the senior team. Simone has seven BGCSEs and this is what I am doing to my child after I spent 12 years paying school fees. She is the third child I sent to this school.”

St. John’s College Head Boy Eric Cox said not being able to walk at his commencement exercise is a tough pill to swallow as, in his family he would have been the only one to take part in such a crowning moment.

“They don’t know how I feel,” he said. “They caused my mother to cry and that hurt me the most.

“I didn’t even care about walking, I just wanted my mother to know that I even had the chance but when I saw her cry that broke my heart. My dad left me when I was six years old, he got shot down dead right in the front of my face and just to not be able to graduate it broke my heart. I have been struggling to pay school fees with my mother all my years.”

The 2013 valedictorian Raven Goffe said she feels her graduating class is being unfairly punished.

“I am shocked and appalled by the lack of professionalism St. John’s College has in this situation,” she said. This is an event sanctioned by the Parent Teacher Association, which is in direct communication with the administration. We have worked hard we did our best, we are well rounded we always stood up for our school.

“We tried our best to keep the school spirit up and we are being punished. To all Bahamian parents consider this situation when you think about sending you child to St. John’s College.”

“As head girl and a student I am upset and I think it was unfair,” I understand that we would have made some mistakes but I think there is something called forgiveness and this school should understand that. I think they are going overboard with that. Cancel graduation and prom? That’s too much,” added St. John’s College Head Girl Deneesha Williams.

The angry mob said while they are upset that the Emerald Ball was cancelled after having spent thousands of dollars on prom attire, it is the fact that they will not be having a graduation to show off their academic achievements to friends and family members some of whom traveled from abroad to bear witness.

A $300 non-refundable graduation fee will also now go down the drain for hundreds of parents who said they pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into their children’s education over the past 12 to 14 years.

A press release from the Anglican Central Education Authority (ACEA) said it take a “principled stand” on its decision to cancel the remaining senior class’ events.

“The decision is due to a breach of ACEA policies and school rules which misrepresented the organisation and showed total disregard for the Anglican ethos,” the release said.
“The ACEA operates four schools on three Islands. Its stated mission is to offer “… a well-rounded educational product that fosters the development of students’ spiritual, academic, physical, social, and emotional well-being thereby affording their relevancy and adaptability for future citizenship and life in an ever changing global environment. Consistent with the mission, we strongly believe that all of our students must be keenly aware of the direct relationship between actions and consequences. It is with this in mind, and after having considered a troubling sequence of events, inclusive of gross insubordination, deceit, and an overall unwillingness to submit to the ordinary procedures and protocols, that the aforementioned decision was taken.”

The parents are planning a meeting with their lawyers for sometime today.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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