ITSS teachers walk out of classrooms in solidarity with former acting vice principal; parents react

Teachers of the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School (ITSS) today took a decision to walk out of the classroom, to send a clear message to the officials that they are standing in solidarity with their colleague, former acting Vice Principal Kendra Roberts.

Last month, news broke that Roberts, who had been acting in the position for several years, was removed from that position which led to members of staff as well as parents, calling on the government to rethink that decision.

Frustrated over what they say is a clear form of victimization of their colleague, as well as the lack of response from the officials as to why Roberts wasn’t appointed to the position, this morning, the aggrieved teachers instead of being in the classrooms, sat outside of the schools’ office in hopes of getting their message across.

“Kendra has been the backbone of ITSS, and without her, I am not sure where this school would have been,” one of the teachers stated to Dominica News Online (DNO).

“We are doing this because the ministry has shown us that we are not respected as employees and we need to let the ministry know that without us, there is nothing that can be done at the school with the children so they need to learn to respect us at the school as well,” she added.

The educator went on to reveal that several letters have been sent to the education officials as well as other members of parliament to include the prime minister, but to date, they haven’t received a response.

Despite the police presence on the scene this morning, which teachers say was non confrontational, they vowed to continue their actions until they get a response from the officials.

However, the recent actions taken by the teachers have been met with mixed reactions from parents.

Ms Vidal, whose daughter attends the government school, believes that other actions, which would not have a direct impact on the students’ learning could have been taken by the teachers to get their message across to the officials.

“This has been going on for weeks; most of the time, the teachers don’t login into the zoom session, and we, the parents are left to wonder, what should be done,” she told DNO.

“I am not against them standing up for their colleague, but I believe that it is completely unfair that my child as well as many other students have to suffer as a result of it. Today many would have probably made a sacrifice to send their child or children to school only for the day to be wasted. At the end of the day, the teacher needs to look at the message which they’re sending to the students. It’s almost like they’re saying, when you don’t get your way in the working field, then don’t do the job,” Vidal added.

Another parent of a fifth form student took to Facebook to express her gripe over the situation, questioning whether the students’ education or the teachers’ concerns is the priority at the earning institution.

“I tried being very quiet about the whole itss story but when it starts affecting my 5th former, I will speak up… I have no problem with the staff wanting answers as to what happened but why do the children have to suffer? In this critical time, why are you the teachers applying more pressure to the students by not showing up to classes? What is ur {your} main goal at itss teaching or getting justice for the teacher? Does itss consist of only the staff? Where are the parents and students that are suffering as well? … ITSS TEACHERS WHO IS OF MORE IMPORTANCE THE STUDENTS OR THE TEACHER?” the upset parent asked.

However, other parents have taken to social media supporting the various actions taken and are themselves demanding that Roberts, who’s currently on leave, be reinstated as the school’s principal.

Comments such as “It was about time,”… “standing in solidarity with Miss Roberts”… “get her back”… “Justice for Miss Roberts” flooded social media from past and current students as well as parents throughout the day.

When contacted by DNO, the current principal Benedict Charles declined to comment on the matter.

DNO also attempted, without success, to speak with officials of the Ministry of Education including the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and Acting Chief Education Officer.

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14 Comments

  1. Mike
    March 17, 2022

    Finally some Dominicans who actually stand for something. This country is full of derelicts who stands for nothing and fall for anything.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  2. Lawyer
    March 16, 2022

    Dominica does experience the fruits now, that Skerrits division policy has sawn for over 15 years. The country is slowly tearing itself apart and for what exactly? To please and protect this man that calls himself the PM of DA.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
    • Beta
      March 17, 2022

      …and robs the country blind in the process!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  3. You
    March 15, 2022

    It’s selfish and irresponsible to think of your job as an entitlement. What are these immature adults teaching the children? Don’t you have any work ethics. Are you qualified or a certified vice principal? The position that Karens wants to hold on too, was it willed to you by Adam and Eve! Karens put the needs and welfare of these students first, you are a civil servant or nanny.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
  4. Garçon
    March 15, 2022

    Tell Vidal to make a suggestion as to the other way. That’s the problem in Dominica we do not know how to empathize with others. It does affect her so she thinks there must be another way. Teachers I am one of you though I resigned from that craziness years ago. Stand for what you believe in and keep standing. Do not take any advice from hypocrites and weaklings.

  5. Jey Jey
    March 15, 2022

    People are only looking for their own interests and that’s why we still have a dictator in office. These teachers are “indirectly” concerned about their colleague knowing that they could one day experience the same disgrace. But by walking out of class and walking out on our children who are the future of Dominica; How does that solve anything? It’s not hurting Skeritt one bit. And by the way, most of these teachers are Laborite. Now they are feeling the sting of the scorpion. The Children and the parents are who you are hurting. If I was Skeritt you would not get paid for the days you refused to work. What we need is a MASS DEMONSTRATION IN ROSEAU FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD TO SEE. What does a few sitting out teachers will achieve? You all put this creature in, so put him out! Instead, you are penalizing our little children. Shame on you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  6. Lin clown
    March 15, 2022

    The DLP should take a page from the book of UWP transfer all the teachers involved.They should not get paid for the days they did not work.Only terrorists hold people hostage.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20
    • JAH KAL
      March 15, 2022

      AM in solidarity with the teachers stand your ground .Over and over is the same thing every time you try to take a stand in this country there is that set of people that’s not seeing that picture because of that people like you all the country is going down to the dogs.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  7. March 15, 2022

    “Strange bed fellows”, when some years ago the skerrit government decided to transfer then resident Doctor Darroux (present minister of the same cabal) from GrandBay to Portsmouth the residence of that area protested took over, and shut down the GrandBay Hospital, skerrit cabinet promptly cancelled the order of transfer immediately. To those so called “concerned parents” ask the President of the Commonwealth of Dominica what constitutes successful protest action? Sacrifices must be made for the betterment of society and indeed your children’s education; you should instead vent your feelings towards those who created the situation in the first place not those dedicated poor teachers who have only one intent and that is to make your children better and more productive citizens than you or themselves.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0
  8. Ibo France
    March 14, 2022

    The most diabolical people in Dominica run the country. They victimize, despise, pauperise and dehumanize public servants once they don’t tow Skerrit’s political line.

    DNO could never procure any information from the relevant governmental authorities but is quick to publish the government’s propaganda on their news site. Just look at the last two weeks of this site. Count the number of times you see articles and photos about Skerrit and high officials of this dictatorship.

    Read this article carefully. The statements of the people against the action of the teachers are much more detailed than those in favour. Check it out. This is not by coincidence. It was deliberately designed that way to appease those in power. That’s my honest opinion.

    ADMIN: One issue is scale – the government is the single largest entity in most countries. We have received numerous press releases from the government within the last 2 weeks and some remain unpublished.

    We have received exactly one from the opposition UWP which we have published.

    The other is issue that as long as one maintains tolerance for just one perspective or bias, only information that confirms that perspective will be accepted. Additionally, information will often be interpreted in a way that suits that bias.

    We recorded a balance of comments, some of the comments are against the protest and some are supportive, others express a mixture of both.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  9. What's best!
    March 14, 2022

    Isn’t the government actions affecting the students for years to come .? Because of favoritism and petty party politics?…stand strong teachers!! Government!!….get it
    RIGHT!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3
  10. Jessi
    March 14, 2022

    There comes a point when people have to stand against injustice. The ministry of education had one job to do, just one job and guess what? ‘They failed”. When we heard about the restructuring of the teaching service, you can imagine how excited and hopeful we were. To know that there was an opportunity for upward mobility within the profession was a sweet sound to our ears. Teachers all over overwhelmingly applied for these “vacant positions’. Those who had been acting for decades, receiving peanuts for their hard work expected to be considered. It should be noted that most of them were quite qualified, coupled with the fact that they had years of experience. This process was supposed to have been in effect since September of 2021, but was delayed for whatever reason. (I guess they were finding ways to play their politics). Come February we are getting news that Miss. Kendra Roberts is no longer the Deputy Principal. How do you expect teachers to react???????

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2
  11. lmckoy
    March 14, 2022

    If Ms Roberts is qualified and has been acting in the position successfully for several years, then she should be provided with objective reasons for her not being appointed to the position. Understandably, parents want their children in school but the staff should be treated equitably and fairly. I believe the teachers actions are reasonable.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

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