Parents angry that KGS janitor is not turning up for work
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October 15, 2013

Parents angry that KGS janitor is not turning up for work

Valuable instructional time was lost yesterday at Kingstown Government School (KGS), when kindergarteners were made to stand outside their classrooms, which, after 9 a.m., were still being cleaned.{{more}}

Parents of students in the junior school at the KGS had visited SEARCHLIGHT last Friday to highlight a situation that has been taking place, for some time, at the primary institution.

The group of parents explained that since the start of the term, they have had to clean their children’s untidy classrooms every morning, because one particular cleaner has been neglecting her duties.

“Parents keep on cleaning from kindergarten, right up to Grade 3,” one parent said.

“Parents still cleaning every morning, cleaning the bench, cleaning the chairs, cleaning the floor. Teachers as well have to clean and the woman getting a salary every month. She getting a salary and she not doing any work,” the parent complained.

Parents and teachers claimed that they have rarely seen the cleaner come to do her job.

“For the last week, I refused to go down early, because I’m not getting a pay, I’m not cleaning,” one mother said.

“I’ve never seen her. I’d be there at lunch time, pick up my child at 2:30, be there at three and I’ve never seen her”.

Clearly bothered by the situation, a mother of a kindergarten pupil expressed concern for her child’s health.

“My son is asthmatic and his sinuses are raising,” she said.

“Since September, I done carry him casualty. I keep him home one day, teacher ask me if I sure I want to bring him back”.

The parents complained that the cleaner has approximately three different jobs and that they feel that she should give up cleaning the school because she has not been doing it.

“She cannot be having three jobs. She ain’t doing the one at the school when somebody else could do it and the school is very untidy. Children will totally get sick,” a parent declared.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the Kingstown Government School, Stoney Ground at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, a group of kindergarten tots, accompanied by some parents and their teachers, stood quietly outside the door, while the cleaner being accused of neglecting her duties attempted to clean their classrooms.{{more}} Other parents were inside the building, armed with cloths and brooms, sweeping the floors and wiping the chairs and desks for their children.

The cleaner in question was sweeping a section of the kindergarten.

The woman told SEARCHLIGHT that she has been cleaning the school for 17 years and the parents are not aware of the things she has to handle on a daily basis.

The mother of three small children admitted to SEARCHLIGHT that sometimes she is unable to do her job at the school and that she would ask the father of her children to help her clean.

“I does try, but sometimes I can’t make it,” she said, as tears ran down her cheeks.

“They don’t know what going on. They don’t know my situation. When me work and me get $337 a month, me can’t even buy me and me children food, but me satisfy. Me satisfy cause me can’t do nothing better. In St Vincent we can’t get a little job cause it hard.

“The teacher telling me that I have to come here at 2:30. I does ask them father to help me (clean) because is me alone and three children and me ain’t have no help. Me have to wash, me have to cook. Me ain’t have nobody to help me do nothing, so the children father does come and help me clean out the school”.

While she continued to sweep the floor with hurried motions, the cleaner revealed that her children’s father and one of her children are sick at present.

Furthermore, she stated that she had gone to the school to clean last Friday, but upon arrival, she met the doors locked because she had arrived late, after having to take her child to the doctor.

The 41-year-old woman also said that she often meets the doors locked.

“Sometime, I reach a little late…I does meet the doors shut up, so I does have to come back here in the morning to clean out,” she said.

However, headteacher at the KGS Maureen Brackin told SEARCHLIGHT that the doors are usually left open in that section of the school so that the cleaner can do her job.

“I don’t leave here until 4:30 and I make sure that even when I am gone, teachers are up there still and I usually leave the door open. Sometimes we have to leave the door open. Sometimes, when I come back the door is open still, just to accommodate her,” the headteacher said.

Brackin revealed that the problem, which has been going on for quite some time, was somewhat resolved some time ago, when she and the cleaner visited the Ministry of Education.

However, Brackin stated that it has begun again this term.

The headteacher, who expressed displeasure at having her kindergarten class wait while their class is being cleaned during instructional time, stated that if the cleaner cannot come in the afternoon, then she should make herself available by 7 a.m. to make sure that the classrooms are clean.

“Look at the time when she is here! During instructional time, which shows that she is not fulfilling her obligations,” Brackin said.

The parents of the students are threatening protest action if the situation is not resolved.

One group of concerned parents told SEARCHLIGHT that they had visited the Ministry of Education in September and that they are hoping the matter can be resolved.

“We asking that the Ministry…ask the lady if she could handle the two work because she not doing the one at the school and if she can’t, get somebody else to do it,” they said.

“We willing to close down over there, from kindergarten to grade three and do a protest, because the woman cannot be getting a salary and the place ain’t cleaning”. (BK)