Saint Jean urges principals to take charge of their schools

Saint Jean addressing principals

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development on Wednesday pledged its full support to secondary school principals in their efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour in schools.

The Minister for Education and Human Resource Development Petter Saint Jean told principals his ministry would support their disciplinary measures as long as they conformed to the Education Act (1997).

“No principal should abdicate their responsibility and give charge to any child or student groups within their schools. You are the final authority at your school and principals you have to take charge of your schools.

“Once you do what you have to do, the ministry is obligated by law to stand with you,” he said.

Saint Jean also called on parents to reclaim control of their children, adding that violence in schools was a wider societal problem.

“We have too many homes with parents who have abdicated their responsibility so the home must also take charge. But it also stands true that management at the schools must stamp the seal of authority,” he said.

“No 17-year old boy or parent is going to determine what happens at our schools…I am saying this to say that we cannot allow the students of Dominica to take charge of our schools,” the minister stressed.

Saint Jean’s meeting with the principals was part of a series of consultations organised by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development with principals, teachers, parents and students of secondary schools.

Education officials and principals reviewed an action plan developed to improve security, student discipline and classroom management in secondary schools by June 2013.

Increased numbers of security officers, improved school and classroom supervision, and training for teachers in conflict resolution and classroom management are among measures proposed by the ministry.

Senior education officials have already met with parents, teachers and students of the Dominica Grammar School and the Portsmouth Secondary School and will next week meet with stakeholders at the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School and the North East Comprehensive School.

Teachers at the event

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  1. ideal
    March 16, 2012

    I am 100% in agreement with the minister, as a former teacher back in DA I had encountered such
    behavior with no where to turn for help, good to know that the government will stand behind the teachers

  2. Proposal
    March 16, 2012

    I commend the Minister’s decision.However, I believe in fairness, so we should try to get some solution for the students also. I think that they should be given proper role models. They should see their teachers as mentors and not their enemies.Too often we hear cases of students being molested at school, and the sexual abuse is usually done by a teacher. Male, as well as female students are molested. Robbing the students off their innocence can really make them angry and fierce. Thus my advice to the minister of education is to fire all child molesters ASAP. Too many child molestors in the school. Clean up town!!

  3. Teacher
    March 16, 2012

    @tiny. You are a JACK WAGON. As a teacher I have seen and heard many like you. But strangely these are the same parents whose only adjective in their vocabulary is the F word. And the only method of punishment is a cuff or a lash with the first object that comes in site. HOW CAN WE AS TEACHERS DISCIPLINE THESE CHILDREN WHEN ALL THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO IS VIOLENCE? NO SMOOTH TALK, HUGS AND COUNSELING CAN CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDE.

    • tiny
      March 16, 2012

      huh?… page….that type of violence is exactly what I’m against…so your solution would be to be more violent towards the kids that are being abused at home…

  4. tiny
    March 16, 2012

    SE will never go away :-D deal with it….stop bullying kids and be nurturers….their parents need to be educated on proper parenting skills( just look at some of the comments on here)….. so pick up where the parents left out….after all you teachers are the educated ones…

    if you people continue to bully kids and call it parenting …things will only get worst..its up to you if you want positive change

  5. tiny
    March 16, 2012

    @ henry

    i hear you because…. teachers are perfect….i was listening to a pastor the other day….he was sexually abused by a his parent’s friend…..he said every time his parent left him in the mans care they would tell him to make sure he obey the guy who was also a so called christian….

    human being are evil and they will rake advantage at any chance they get…..and the vulnerable ones always end up being taken advantage off…children deserve to be respected….they have rights….

  6. West Coast
    March 16, 2012

    I waited for man talk in this school violence issue. I applaud the Hon Minister with his stern advise to the Principals. Students cannot run the show in schools. Teachers must not made to feel powerless in schools. Students must know where they belong in the school system and allow the authority to take charge. The Minister was on target in his advise to principals to take charge and do not relent their responsibility to bandits.
    Well done and well said Mr Minister!!!!

  7. T. Winston
    March 16, 2012

    The old way was better
    Education denied to none but separate institutions designed for students who don’t necessarily thrive in the conventional subject classrooms. Now everyone “MUST” go to high school whether they can read or write is irrelevant. The result is that classes are held back as teachers try to reach the slower students. More drop outs occur and more “shameful” activities go on within the school everyday. I understand trying to give every child the opportunity to enter high school but the JSP programme wasn’t bad. We should never have copied a system which is a failure in the US to Dominica hoping that it would work.

    • lightbulb
      March 17, 2012

      it’s funny how politicians are quick to copy overseas models when our local schools were succeeding.

      The large school structure is the states is being reversed, yet we aiming to have 1000 students in DGS?!?

      The JSP programme helped cause students actually learned something rather than just being promoted with no knowledge.

      The government should get out of the business of governing schools, and allow these schools to be governed by independent councils. This is not that radical as our most successful schools are independent (CHS, SMA, DCHS)

  8. possie cries
    March 16, 2012


  9. Justice and Truth
    March 15, 2012

    I always thought that the teachers had the right to discipline students. What has gone wrong that students do not respect the teachers and also other students?
    Students must consider that they are not in their homes but in a school setting, a place of learning and they should have the common sense to conduct themselves accordingly. They must know who is in charge and this is the teachers.
    Today it is called anti-social behaviour. It is not surprising that in this era certain terminologies are used to describe certain situations. I view it as watering down of those occurrences.
    No matter what era, what year we reside in, excuses should not be made for them. Something is radically wrong with the school system if the authorities are not able to apply discipline in the schools.
    My message for those authorities is if students fail to be disciplined, cease babying them. Treat them as just what they are, radicals who may be beyond discipline and rehabilitation. It is obvious that they do not appreciate and deserve the schooling which they are receiving at no cost to their parents and themselves (?). It has just crossed my mind. If so, this is problem. Is it any wonder that they conduct themselves in a disorderly manner and also attack the teachers? Simply expel them and call it a day.

  10. Still Waiting
    March 15, 2012

    @Tiny,I suggest that you consult a psychologist. Your comments indicate that you are carrying a heavy burden.

    • tiny
      March 16, 2012

      the heavy burden of wanting parents to do a good job….. the heavy burden of of wanting to see kids and parents have good relationship ..the heavy burden of wanting to see the youth become upstanding citizens… are pastors carrying a heavy burden by preaching the word of god?

  11. tiny
    March 15, 2012

    USE will never go away :-D deal with it….stop bullying kids and be nurturers….their parents need to be educated on proper parenting skills( just look at some of the comments on here)….. so pick up where the parents left out….after all you teachers are the educated ones…

    if you people continue to bully kids and call it parenting …things will only get worst..its up to you if you want positive change

  12. Eagle
    March 15, 2012

    So what about the school curriculum to meet the needs of ALLLL students, the slow learners, the ED students, basically, children with learning disabilities are being taught on the same level with normal counterpart. What then is in place when these students put up a defense mechanism to avoid embarrassment? I am being told that all the professionals are placed in administrative offices and the schools are left out on their own.

    It is not fair that the total responsibilities is being placed on the principals. The principals can only work with what they are given.

    The schools are crying out for counsellors, and no one listens.

  13. hope
    March 15, 2012

    These ministry official are are bunch of high class stooges! They know jolly well that they along with the Education Act took the authority from principals and teachers… gave it to kids and their parents and now all the minister has to say is take it back! Stupzzzzz Mr. Peter. Why don’t you all get off your butts and give it back to us back the authority… yes us, I am one of those in the classroom who know all too well that our hands get tied tighter behind our backs every single day.

  14. tiny
    March 15, 2012

    @ henry

    i hear you because…. teachers are perfect….i was listening to a pastor the other day….he was sexually abused by a his parent’s friend…..he said every time his parent left him in the mans care they would tell him to make sure he obey the guy who was also a so called christian….

    human being are evil and they will rake advantage at any chance they get…..and the vulnerable ones always end up being taken advantage off…children deserve to be respected….they have rights….

    March 15, 2012

    Some principals like to sit in the comfort of their offices too much. They hardly patrol the school,and therefore even the students forget who is really in charge.Some senior teachers play a more effective role in school discipline than some principals, and i admire these teachers. I won’t mention names but we do have professional teachers in the service,who really try hard to teach our students and some who need to be booted out of the system, because they are not examples. They take drugs,they curse,gamble, swear,tell you plainly that they don’t care a d–,and the list goes on.
    It hurts my stomach to hear that students are fighting teachers at our schools. I absolutely totally condemn it,and i believe that all lovers of Dominica should do the same. Attack on one teacher breaks down the moral of the teacher and instills fear in some students and teachers alike. It’s humiliating to the teacher and it sends the wrong message to fellow students.
    Having said that, the ministry of Education needs to attract more males into the teaching service.Sometimes i am tempted to call these people lazy you know!.Why can’t they see that the teaching profession has been taken over by females? I am not against females as teachers, (I’ll never be)but OMG are these Education Officials blind?

  16. Teacher
    March 15, 2012

    Mr. Minister, stop wasting our time. You and the entire ministry of Education know that it is the unresolved concerns within the Universal Education System (USE) that were not addressed during the pilot stage of that system which are creating that stress within the education system in Dominica. For political popularity, you implemented the programme island wide and now the problem is wide spread. The USE is a good system but it requires of the GOVT to build or establish more vocational schools. Every child is not academic sir and remedial schooling should be done in primary schools. The current method of USE is pressurizing and frustrating the secondary education system.To try fix the problem, Teachers are continually given added tasks with limited or no resources,(financial too) no special training or when we are trained we are kept in the ministry, hence the results of today. The ministry of education must STOP micro managing the secondary schools, install QUALIFY principals, pay them well and let them do their job without interference . My recommendation therefore is to suspend for a while, the education act and the USE and let us clean up because I am tired of walking the extra mile with a SHOE that is squeezing and hurting me.

    • T
      March 15, 2012

      AMEN! Many of them tell you that their mother or father can’t touch them so who are you to talk to,or correct them.It’s tough being a teacher those days.

    • hope
      March 15, 2012

      I would rub your feet for you…… Very well said but we all know they ain’t listening. A whole of of talking!

    • Concern
      March 16, 2012

      You are in the system and you are right – you know it well. You all must assist and stop critizing the system you and others are part of

  17. Francisco Telemaque
    March 15, 2012

    Petter, it is quite easy for you to suggest that Principals take control of their schools, and no seventeen year old boy, and their parents do all that you claimed.

    The problem is what to do with the hulligans who never had any home training, goes to school drunken, or whose body is filled with crack cocaine!

    Recently a teacher could have lost his life, when he got his bashed by a student!

    The man bleed through his nose due to the injury he sustained to his head. What happened to the perpetrator of this crime. It seems to me that the crime was sweept under the rug, because we have not heard of any actions taken by the ministery of education nor the police.

    When we all people to commit crimes and walk as if they are almighty, and function above the law what do you expect?

    How are the Principals going to take control of a school, when they life’s are threatened, and have no protection?

    Do you still have that culprit attending the DGS?

    It’s not normal for a student to beat a teacher, when that happens, there should not be any other alternative than to expelled that criminal from the institution. That student life should be ruined, he/she should be prosecuted by the law, such people are not kids, they are criminals, and must be treated as such!

    We are living in different times, thus wherever the criminal elements are the police presence must be there also; you must implement security, are you going to wait until a teacher is killed before you do what is necessary to protect the teachers?

    When I attended a certain collage here in Los Angeles, one night we got to class, the professor was late, the man is West Indian, he is from Jamaica: we were standing there talking, I happen to kick the outside wall of the class room, and in the presence of a campus police with power to arrest.

    Fact is he said I was vandalizing a government building, can you believe that is trouble indeed it is!

    I almost got arrested, for kicking a building okay, never mind if I had done anything to another student, or any of the faculty members.

    Wake up and do your job, protect the teachers man!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • hmm
      March 15, 2012

      are you serious? the child is not at the DGS. It was reported right here on DNO.

      what? you do selective reading so you can have carte blanche with your epistles based on misinformation and speculation?

  18. Tunny
    March 15, 2012

    Well said Mr. Minister. No student should control what happens at our schools.
    Principals and teachers hold on to your position strongly.

  19. A Voice
    March 15, 2012

    Man give the teachers and the principals the authority to administer discipline in their schools and stop cutting off their feet from underneath them.

    Also pass a law to hold parents responsible for the acts of their children. When a 17 year old have to see his mammy having to pay $1000 a month to his victim for the next couple years or your parents have to give up the piece of land that they have, bad man will think twice.

    If I have a child going to school and you do for teacher to talk down to you, then humble and take it. If you don’t like it, tell me about it. I will come to the teacher and speak with him/her in a cordial manner privately for a satisfactory resolution; and I better don’t find out that you are wrong neither because…

    What I won’t do is to direct my child to not let anyone talk down to you. This is already preparing your child to go to school baday for the teacher. And if a teacher in authority cannot talk down to your child today, the police and the prison officer will talk down to your child tomorrow…and the best part is, you won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.

    I watchin’ still!!!

    • hope
      March 15, 2012

      i appreciate this comment

  20. Hmm
    March 15, 2012

    Teachers/Principles have responsibility with no authority. WE (parents) do not have time to raise our kids – we are so busy to pass on that responsibility to students that we send them to school even when there is no school. BUT, the minute a teacher disciplines them, is either they come up to the school to beat up the teacher or they run to MINISTRY which more often than not, sides with the student/parent. So,the teachers hands are tied.

  21. Secretary
    March 15, 2012

    That Education Act is of two – GOOD and BAD……. Probably i should say misinterpreted/misunderstood by most, instead of ‘Bad’……….. I have been employed in the school system for over 20 years now and since the Education Act, I have to say, things have changed….. Children SEEM to know their ‘Rights’ BUT FORGET their ‘Responsibility’ and in some cases their parents (don’t know black from white) support their IRRESPONSIBILITY! :(

  22. FACEUP
    March 15, 2012


  23. true dominican
    March 15, 2012

    Some principals have their priority in the wrong place. they too busy trying to press their authority on teachers.

    • too
      March 15, 2012

      some teachers have their priorities in the wrong place. they too busy…period to show a little care for their students.

  24. tiny
    March 15, 2012

    its so simple huh?…well i’m sorry that a lot of the teachers suck at their job…i”m sorry that some kids(male as well as females) comes form homes where they are physically sexually emotionally abused…i’m sorry that these kids are made to perform oral sex on their fathers and step fathers….

    i’m sorry that these parents were abused and and therefore are ding the same to their kids and the cycle will only continue

    and i’m very sorry that you think that being strict authoritarian is going to solve this problem

    • tiny
      March 15, 2012

      i don’t know what that 1997 school act is about…but no teacher is putting their hand on my child….. get enough blows for 20 generation to come….

      and I’ll talk to my child about respecting authority…but i’ll also let her be aware when those in authority are abusing their power…and that should not be tolerated….don’t let any one talk down to you…

      • Civil Servant
        March 15, 2012

        With Parents like you, Children will be bad. One can hear the violence in your voice

      • Dayandnightvision
        March 15, 2012


      • henri
        March 15, 2012

        if you had brought up your child the way that you said, you would not have to make that statement. You had better allow the teacher to raise their hand or else you will be like “Phillip moso zoweh”( Phillip with a piece of ears)your child will have eaten the other piece for you not allowing him to be corrected

      • DANZIGER
        March 15, 2012

        @tiny, are u serious? u better teach yr children cuz it will not be easy for us.

      • Anonymous
        March 15, 2012

        As a teacher that is the number one comment heard from most parents. Now tell – what are we as teachers suppose to do. Well most just teach, who learn learn and who bad well bad. too bad.

      • observant
        March 15, 2012

        The teacher does not have to the police will do it for them. Parents like you make sure of that!

    • Fairplay
      March 15, 2012

      Something is wrong with DNO Admin to allow ‘tiny’ to post such adverse comments!!! :mrgreen:

  25. G
    March 15, 2012

    I went to high school in Dominica and at the time we had tough students. Students with home problems, or just students with bad attitudes but not once I can recall a student raising is hand on a principal or teacher. Brother Germaine was the principal at SMA when I attended, and we all knew what was coming when we misbehaved….but to hit back? Never!!

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