THE Parent/Teachers Association (PTA) of the San Fernando TML Primary school intend going to court today seeking an injunction to prevent the return of a teacher who was accused of improper behavior involving a schoolgirl three years ago but recently cleared of wrong doing.
The application is expected to be heard today in the San Fernando Supreme Court.
However, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Davanand Sinanan said TTUTA is standing firmly behind the teacher, who was not being allowed to perform his duties because of protesting parents.
Sinanan said the parents were breaking the law by not allowing him to enter the compound or teach their children since there was no formal charge against him.
Yesterday, parents took their children out of the school, after the teacher was allowed back on the compound with police intervention. The teacher was absent from duty for more than two years pending an investigation that was sparked by allegations that he had written love notes to an 11-year-old pupil at the school in 2011.
Sinanan told the Express: ” People have to respect the rule of law. If you made an allegation against the teacher and the relevant authorities followed due process, conducted an investigation, found no evidence to substantiate the allegation, they obviously had no choice but to exonerate the teacher and to have the teacher reinstated. ”
He said the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) who conducted the investigation was not obligated to share any information with the PTA but he was not sure if there was an obligation to inform the school board.
Sinanan said: ” When the Commission cleared the teacher of the allegations, the Commission will simply reinstate the teacher that’s all and the Ministry of Education officials, the school supervisor would have accompanied the teacher and would have made the relevant log entry what have you in the school. If the parents wants to get information regarding what transpired, they need to communicate with the school principal or the school supervisor.”
He added: ” While the parents are adamant that the teacher should not be allowed to re-enter the school, what they are in fact doing is breaking the law. They are preventing a teacher from entering his place of work. That is an offence under the Industrial Relations Act. We cannot condone this kind of lawless behaviour on the part of any group of parents.”
Sinanan said: ” If they have new evidence that the teacher is guilty of any wrong doing, then it is their responsibility to bring that evidence to the attention of the authorities so that the authorities can act. If there was any truth to the allegation, then a formal charge of misconduct would have been laid by the Commission against the teacher and the teacher would have been put through the entire process of giving their response and the matter coming before the tribunal etcetera but it didn’t even reach that far.”
And he said it was not good enough that the teacher be asked to transfer to another school.
” If the teacher is unsuitable for one school what would make the teacher suitable for another school?” he asked.