April 30, 2015
SJCK principal blasts media – calling reports irresponsible and unfounded

The principal of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown recently delivered a scathing tongue-lashing to two media members for what she calls “irresponsible” and “unfounded” reporting on the circumstances surrounding the suspension of a student, and the non-graduation of several others.

At the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2015, which was held at the school compound on Tuesday, April 28, Calma Balcombe addressed reports that several students had not been allowed to graduate{{more}} because of their involvement in a Facebook post that criticised the principal and the school.

“We have an irresponsible journalist, disgruntled students and parents painting a picture of innocence in the media to canvas the support of the public in their attempt to make what is wrong, right,” chided Balcombe.

It was reported two weeks ago, in a local newspaper, that a student who had not taken part in the march at the school’s sports day because she had been feeling ill was suspended by the principal – something she refutes.

“This incident never happened,” Balcombe asserted.

Furthermore, the newspaper also reported that the student in question made a post on Facebook criticising the school, referring to some of the teachers as a bunch of donkeys.

also alleged that classmates of the student who liked the post were not being allowed to graduate.

Balcombe also denied this account of events, explaining that two weeks prior to the school’s sports day, a student had been suspended for being “defiant and disrespectful” to her. Following her suspension, the student made a post on Facebook, from which Balcombe read out an excerpt.

The excerpt was as follows: “Somehow life is unfair and out of all schools I know convent is the worst only couple good teachers they got… for the rest I don’t care one blinking [expletive] cause when someone else gets wrong for something like this, you guys stay quiet, and not let them run the school, but destroy it, bunch ah fake donkey teachers and principal and deputy…”

Balcombe lamented the fact that several fifth formers had liked the student’s post, but insisted that the 16 students who were not allowed to graduate at Tuesday’s ceremony had not fulfilled the required criteria, as set out in the school’s parent/student handbook.

The criteria included 75 per cent attendance, 75 per cent punctuality, good conduct, good deportment, completion of all School Based Assessments, and not be pregnant.

“Some of our students are a law onto themselves!” she noted. “Students do not like to be corrected… Rather than accepting responsibility for their actions, seeking forgiveness or saying thank you for the guidance, the students go on social media to undermine our integrity, attack our character and encourage strangers to make negative comments about us.”

Balcombe also lambasted a popular morning show radio host for making “unfounded comments” about the situation while on air.

“You know what does get me vex? There’s a radio personality making unfounded comments about the school, as though we are crazy, to give satisfaction to the students who are not graduating. These adults are teaching our students to use whatever means at their disposal to get what they want, even if it means trampling on the dignity of others.”

Balcombe said that adults have a responsibility to be firm with students, and teach them what is wrong from what is right.

“We are teaching our students to walk a straight path, but some parents and other learned persons in society are teaching them to go through life by walking through the cracks and taking short cuts,” she lamented.

“We cannot turn a blind eye and allow indiscipline to prevail. If we did, we would destroy the very foundation on which our school’s culture is built.”(JSV)