By Marion V. Ali
Sr. Barbara Flores, General Manager of Catholic Schools in Belize, this week confirmed with this newspaper reports of a thorough investigation currently under way over an allegation of inappropriate behaviour against a male teacher at Saint Ignatius Primary School in Belize City.
The Reporter broke the news last week of a teacher in his mid-20’s who allegedly selected a group of standard five girls in a closed classroom prior to the Christmas holiday and proceeded to show them a video. During the showing however, the teacher reportedly touched a few of the girls inappropriately.
Sr. Flores explained that the Catholic management conducts an investigation into complaints, consisting of testimonies from all relevant parties. When there is sufficient information, and upon any conclusion of culpability, there is a due process.
The school’s management would then have to report its findings and recommendations in writing to the Teaching Services Commission, which thenmakes a decision on how to deal with the offender.
The matter is then brought to the Ministry of Education. Sr. Flores added that the penalties can be as harsh as termination. The investigation, she said, can take several weeks.
One of the primary focuses is to determine why a teacher who had been fired from St. Catherine Academy a few years ago after incriminating charges of a similar nature was brought against him, was hired at St Ignatius, even after the school’s administration had been advised of the firing.
Sr. Flores explained that the school’s management holds the the name of the subject under investigation confidential, but that it also has a responsibility for its students’ safety.