Late comers worry for  JP Eustace Deputy Head
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February 5, 2010

Late comers worry for JP Eustace Deputy Head

Some teachers and the administration at the Dr J.P Eustace Memorial Secondary School are at loggerheads following the decision made by the school’s deputy principal to lock the gates, denying entry to the school’s compound to students who arrive late.{{more}}

“Administration has no legal right to be locking students out of the compound,” one teacher told SEARCHLIGHT.

“This has been happening since last term,” she continued, saying that the situation was not getting any better.

She added that there were instances where the excuses were regarded as being invalid, but in her opinion, the students had legitimate reasons for arriving late at the school located at lower Edinboro, on the outskirts of Kingstown.

“These are the nation’s children,” the teacher added.

However, Philbert John, the Deputy Principal, was adamant that his action was justified.

Two large piles of late slips on the desk of Deputy Principal Philbert John – evidence of tardy students.

John told SEARCHLIGHT that tardiness is a serious problem at the school, adding that in some instances, it took up to one hour to go through the procedure of issuing late slips as a result of the large numbers of tardy students.

“I am a systematic man. I do things with reason,” he said.

John said that of the students who were habitually late, most lived in and around Kingstown.

He also explained that students were late because they opted to wait for particular vans, adding that the principal has had to visit the bus terminal in Kingstown to order students to get on the buses that were available.

“The Principal and I are doing what we can. We can’t stop it, but we can minimize it,” he said.

He explained that students are allowed to enter the classroom between 8:15 and 8:30. However, once instructional time begins, students are then required to go through the process of having a late slip issued.

Exceptions are made, John explained, in the cases where students give sufficient notice that they will be arriving late.

But the problem was with “the habitual late comers.”

“We can’t deal with it. We now have a procedure and people will be left outside.”

“We tried talking to the students about coming to school late and now we have taken a decision,” John contended.

He added that there was also a problem with some members of staff showing up to work late.

But members of staff refuted this, saying that in most cases, teachers arrive at school according to their schedule.

“Instructional time begins at 8:30. If we get there at 8:20, that is not late,” a teacher opined, adding that sometimes things may go wrong and that teachers were not known to be excessively late.

“Nobody’s child should be allowed to suffer. Sometimes they (the students) are out in the sun for the entire morning,” she said.

“If anything happens, would administration take responsibility for that?”