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Saturday 22 September 2018
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Parents protest ‘Mr Lover’ teacher’s return

A TEACHER, suspended on allegations that he wrote a love letter to a 11-year-old female pupil at the Trinidad Muslim League (TML) primary school in San Fernando, has been reinstated much to the chagrin of parents, several of whom protested yesterday and blocked the teacher from entering the school.

Police had to be called out to maintain order as some of the parents in attempting to block the 35-year-old teacher, almost came to blows with him. The teacher telephoned Schools Supervisor Amina Hosein, who arrived at the school to assist him in facilitating his reinstatement as a teacher at the school.

Opposition to the teacher’s return to the school, stemmed from parents’ complaints in December 2011, that he had written a love letter to the 11-year-old student. At the time, the child was in Standard Five. In the letter, he is alleged to have expressed his love for her.

The issue was widely publicised when parents in December 2011, vowed to have the teacher removed from teaching at the school, after he confessed to another teacher, his love for the child.

The teacher’s “love letter” and his verbal confessions were reported to the school’s Principal Camille Hosein and the matter was discussed with the TML’s Education Board. It was on the recommendation of the Board and the school’s PTA, TML board secretary Farouk Khan said, that the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) suspended the teacher in 2012 and launched an investigation.

Last month, a tribunal of the TSC completed investigations and exonerated the teacher from any wrongdoing. Board secretary Khan said that last week Tuesday, the teacher was given a letter of reinstatement.

On Thursday afternoon the school’s PTA held an emergency meeting at the school in which parents expressed outrage at the TSC decision. PTA president Wazir Hosein said, “Not even the Board was informed of the TSC’s decision and its reasons. We took a decision that we would protest the reinstatement of this teacher this morning (yesterday), until there is disclosure on the reasons for the TSC’s decision.”

Yesterday, at about 8 am, a group of parents gathered in front the gates of the school and locked arms after the bell was rung, the children sang the National Anthem and said prayers. The school is a denominational institution managed by the TML board.

At 10 am, when the teacher arrived and attempted to enter the school, the parents began chanting, “Protect Our Children!” This went on for ten minutes.

Schools Supervisor Hosein arrived a short while later and requested the parents permission to allow her to enter. The parents obliged, but not without making their voices heard that they did not want the teacher on the compound.

Two police officers arrived in a marked police vehicle and while they were speaking to the parents at the gates, the teacher attempted to walked pass them (the parents) but he was again blocked.

Inspector Ramnarine of the San Fernando Police Station arrived in another police vehicle. A discussion was held with the Schools Supervisor, the teacher and the school Principal. The teacher then left the school in his car, to loud applause from the parents.

PTA president Hosein said that it was agreed, after consultation with the Ministry of Education, the teacher, the board, school’s principal and Ramnarine, that the teacher would report to the Victoria Education district, pending a meeting with the ministry’s Chief Executive Officer and the board.

Hosein told Newsday that legal action is being contemplated against the TSC, if the issue is not resolved. TT Unified Teachers’ Association president Davanand Sinanan told Newsday he was aware of the issue, but intends to gather more facts as to what transpired yesterday morning. “But in a general sense, if due process was followed and a teacher was exonerated, then we all have to abide by it,” Sinanan said.

For his part, TML Board Secretary Khan said, “I am in full support of the parents in this matter. We are shocked at the Teaching Service Commission’s decision.”

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