DES denies handling teacher allegations badly

| 27/05/2021 | 14 Comments
Cayman News Service
Clifton Hunter High School

(CNS): The Department of Education Services (DES) has released a short statement in relation to allegations posted on social media by a student at the Clifton Hunter High School accusing two teachers of inappropriate behaviour towards her and other teenage girls at the school. Acting DES Director Tammy Hopkins said that “all allegations of misconduct and/or inappropriate behaviour by staff are treated with the utmost priority despite false information currently being circulated in the community”, apparently referring to criticisms of the department’s handling of the matter, while avoiding any comment on the allegations themselves.

The allegations made by the student, which were circulated in WhatsApp groups, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, implied that the teachers had made sexual comments and assaulted some girls at the school. But it is not clear if the teachers that are the subject of these allegations remain in their original post at CHHS or if they have been placed in other positions.

In another recent incident where the principal of Red Bay Primary School was accused of engaging in exorcisms of children and highly inappropriate religious rituals during school hours, the DES was equally vague about what job she had been moved to after she was suspended from her position at the school. That investigation is understood to still be underway and the DES has said nothing more about the circumstances surrounding the incidents.

The DES is being equally circumspect regarding this case, saying little beyond assurances that the matter is being handled appropriately. In the statement from the DES, Hopkins outlined the protocols for these issues.

“There are established protocols for handling matters relating to child safeguarding issues,” she said. “All staff employed by the DES are required by law to report any situation where they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a child has been abused.” These reports would be made through the school child protection officer to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which comprises the Department of Children and Family Services and the RCIPS Family Support Unit for investigation.

“Following the recommendation of the MASH, if the alleged offender is employed at one of our schools, they are relocated so that they do not have any direct contact with students pending the outcome of the MASH investigation,” she added.

Hopkins stated that the DES works closely with the MASH during investigations and uses its reports as the basis for decision-making regarding its own internal actions

“Schools are further expected to provide counselling services for affected students to support them throughout the process, and if staff members are returned to school following the outcome of an investigation, their return is handled as sensitively as possible,” she said. “We appreciate members of the public’s continued vigilance and concern and assure them that we are committed to safeguarding the well-being of all the children entrusted in our care.”

Hopkins avoided saying anything about the actual allegations or the current status of the teachers involved. However, the student making the allegations has posted on social media that they were suspended for a very short period before their return was celebrated by the rest of the staff. She claims that she no longer feels “safe or comfortable going to school”.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think in all cases involving predators and children we should assume the child is telling the truth first. That’s why there is such a problem with it, especially on these islands.
    I’m also aware of a case where I personally saw the messages being sent from a teacher to a child. It was reported. They met with the child and they never heard another peep.
    Pretty sure they just moved the teacher to another school which completely defeats the purpose.
    It’s been said, if you show me how you treat your children and elderly I can tell you who you are…and from the looks
    and sound of it, we suck and continue to fail them.
    I hope all of these politicians are looking forward to their old age!!!! KARMA

  2. Anonymous says:

    I dont know where to start…but let’s start:
    1. The teachers in question were immediately removed from the school compound following the report, as is protocol
    2. Both teachers were not allowed entry to the school during the investigation, as is protocol.
    3. RCIPS and the MASH unit was involved, as is protocol.
    4. Both teachers have returned to their post, one after months of investigation and the other after weeks of investigation.
    5. No celebration was held for their return, as a matter of fact no one was informed of their return and equally no one was informed of their absence.
    6. One of the teacher was withdrawn because a female student reported that the teacher always wanted her to sit close to him in class, the teacher gives her special attention in class and she’s uncomfortable with it and he gave her money to buy lunch at school…which she asked for…parents please send your child/ren to school with money because the teachers are no longer willing to assist in this way. Also please train your offspring so that teacher won’t have to keep a close eye on them.
    7. The other teacher was withdrawn because he allegedly slapped the female student on her bum, rubbed down her thighs and winked at her in the canteen at LUNCH time while holding a box of food in one hand and a drink cup in the other.
    8. One of these same teachers was withdrawn previously because a student reported that he used a pointing device and pointed it at her breast…while selecting her to answer a question in class.
    Teachers are trying every way possible to avoid having close contact with students. Some use pointing devices to avoid close contact, and some use strict rules and boundary lines in their classes that students cannot pass.
    9. Think whatever you want to think but be informed.
    10. 13 students from Clifton Hunter dominated the CXC merit list. Where is the report on that? Congrats to all the hard working teachers who despite the ungrateful attitude of some parents within the Cayman Islands, you never gave up. You secured laptops, books, materials, went above and beyond giving weekends and after hours to ensure your students secured a grade one in your respective area. They said online teaching never worked but it did. Cayman doesn’t see your worth, but we on the outside looking in see it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for this information, which is more than any media outlet has reported.

      Without commenting on the merits of these cases, I feel I must point out how for decades educators on this island have been underappreciated, underfunded, and under-supported.

      I am not a teacher but know quite a few. Its disgusting how they’re treated…by the Government, by parents, by students, by society at large.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There was a case some years back, when investigations weren’t so diligent, were one teacher accused another inappropriate behaviour towards a child. Favoured teacher won.

  4. Anonymous says:

    MASH is a joke. A child tried to report something. But MASH only works 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
    They were told to go to central to make the report. Nope.

    • anon says:

      The system is definitely flawed. Children are scared to report incidents because culturally – we still believe adults over children and use very biased techniques (IMO) when “investigating” I know of an incident where a student attempted to report and was sent to multiple locations. She gave up in the end and moved to live with friends.

  5. Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

    Why is the Civil Service full of “Actors”, there’s at least one in almost every department, some acting for years.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of the responsibility when it hits the fan but few of the benefits of a substantive position.

    • Slacker says:

      Exactly, why not something like “interim”. “Acting” is like going to a party and someone coughs and you go up to them saying “I’m not a Doctor but I played one on TV”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same thing happens in the private sector.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So sad for these kids.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And what about the teacher from Layman Scott High School that has not been allowed on campus for months?

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