October 6, 2006

Myrtle Jack breaks silence after 8 years

Myrtle Jack, who just less than eight years ago was charged for administering corporal punishment on a male student, believes that was the genesis of the breakdown of discipline in schools.

“Since my case there has been a total breakdown in discipline in schools,” Jack observed.

“Teachers today have no rights; teachers are afraid; you beat them, you physically abuse them, you talk to them hard, you abuse them emotionally, you put them out of your class, you abuse them educationally,” Jack said.{{more}}

Her case took national prominence in 1998, when Jack, then a teacher at the Stubbs Primary School was charged $2500 for flogging a student.

According to Jack, she administered the punishment in the presence of the school’s principal Rudolph Sutherland.

“I never paid the fine, neither do I know who paid it or if it was paid. I wanted to go to jail for disciplining a child and trying to save his life,” she admitted.

“I never gave evidence in the case, neither was Sutherland required to do so,” she recollected.

Currently assigned to the Adelphi Secondary School, Jack has been deliberately silent on the matter for nearly a decade.

“I felt devastated; I was ridiculed by the public, many of whom did not know the circumstances,” she reflected.

“Many times I was afraid to walk the street, I felt like a criminal waiting to be locked up. I was demoralised for trying to discipline the student,” she lamented.

“It was only Parnel Campbell who came on radio and television to say I did nothing wrong,” the teacher of 34 years said. “I was made a sacrificial lamb.”

“There was no malice, (the student) got all my attention, even though he did not communicate with me during the trial, and was the lone child that was successful at the 1999 School Leavings Examinations”, Jack recounted.

Jack said that the youngster graduated from the Carapan Secondary School in 2004, with seven passes and was that institution’s top performer.

Contending that injustice was meted out to her, Jack disclosed that the due process was not followed.

“The Human Rights Association has inflicted fear in our schools, and our society, causing children to lack the respect for teachers”, she said.

“Where is the Human Rights Association now we are having so many problems in our schools? Are they organising any programmes for the children?” Jack asked.

One who desires to see the best for young people, Jack will soon launch a programme at the Adelphi Secondary to assist students with behavioural problems.

A strong believer in discipline, Jack wants the authorities to adhere to the Holy Bible and referred to Proverbs 22:6, “Train up the child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

She advocates the return of the family altar in the homes and for fathers to take up their rightful places as head of their households.

Jack is urging parents to forge better relationships with the teachers attend meetings of the school and seek every opportunity to communicate with their children’s teachers.

She is of the belief that many of the reading problems experienced by children today are because parents do not invest in books, neither do they take them out so that they can gain experiences, rather than expending on the latest fashions.

Jack who has a passion to see her students advance, almost eight years after her encounter, said, “I am happy; I have inner peace; I can talk freely, knowing what I did was out of love”.