IT APPEARED TO be business as usual at the Alexandra School when the striking teachers made their first appearance for the term yesterday.
There was no pomp and flair, but the return of the 30 teachers who had been on strike for three weeks looked to be triumphant.
Having not seen their charges since the last day of the Michaelmas term and vice versa, it was a grand reunion as students ran to teachers and hugged them. Teachers and students had warm smiles on their faces.
Most of those exchanges had to be captured from a distance. Just before 8 a.m. a female guard asked members of the Press to vacate the premises and closed half of the gate.
All 30 teachers seemed to be accounted for before the first of three bells rang around 8:30 a.m. Just about a minute later, principal Jeff Broomes drove through the half-closed gate without making comment to the Press.
Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson told the DAILY NATION the reintegration of the teachers went “very well”.
“We had a short assembly and teachers went back to their classes. All teachers were accounted for and the day seemed to have gone uneventful . . . [and] we will continue to work with the principal,” Adamson stated.
Similar reports came from president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman. She said the BSTU reported an uneventful day with classes being conducted as normal. There was reportedly no interaction between them and Broomes for the entire day.
Adamson said senior psychologist Juanita Brathwaite and senior education officer Pat Warner were also on hand for any student or teacher who might have needed them.
President of the Parent-Teacher Association, Carl Benskin, was also present to ensure things went smoothly. He said he had spoken with Broomes and the education officials and all was well.
While parents were glad to see teaching resume at the school, some were still waiting for a “true solution”. Most of them said they had put measures in place in terms of lessons or working with their children at home on assignments and the like.
“I hope that in the fullness of time, a true and decent solution will be found for what has occurred,” Hugh McClean said, after dropping off his son.
“I would hope that school resumes, as it should have been three weeks ago, and the teachers and the students are on good par so that the children can get on with their work,” another parent added.
Stacey Briggs-Saunders, who is also a teacher, said she was confident that the day would go well.
“I thought it best to bring her myself this morning, just to see what the atmosphere was like and I’m happy to say things seem to be quite calm . . . I am hoping and
I know that things will be alright today (yesterday),” she said, adding that her daughter was always taught that school was important and to be respectful of her teachers.
She said she was hurt by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s statement that the children were dragged kicking and screaming into the “circus”.
Briggs-Saunders said it was “unfair” that Stuart did not find it necessary to go to the school to speak to the children first hand.