TNT & Victor Scott Parents Start Legal Action

May 22, 2012

Legal proceedings by both the TN Tatem and Victor Scott School’s Parent Teacher Associations seeking to challenge the transfer of various principals in the public education system is expected to begin at 11am today [May 22] in the Supreme Court.

A statement released on behalf on the two groups said; “On 16 May 2012, both the T N Tatem Middle School Parent Teacher Association [TNT PTA] and the Victor Scott Primary School Parent Teacher Association [VS PTA] commenced joint legal proceedings for judicial review, in the Supreme Court, to challenge the recent decisions of the Commissioner of Education to change the respective principals at their schools.

“TNT PTA and VS PTA both hope that these legal proceedings will serve as a catalyst for the increased role of parents in the educational welfare of their children, and will serve to foster an improved relationship between those in the Ministry of Education and those who have the everyday responsibility of protecting the well-being of the younger members of their families.

TNT and Victor Scott students marching on Cabinet last month to protest the changes:

“At 11:00am on 22 May 2012, the first hearing in this matter will be held where the court will be asked to determine whether TNT PTA and VS PTA have leave to pursue the matter further.

“Furthermore, the court will be asked to suspend the Commissioner of Education’s decisions until a final, legal resolution is reached. Essentially, this would mean that the principals in question would not be moved unless, and until, it was determined by the court that TNT PTA’s and VS PTA’s combined stance was improperly held.

“At this preliminary hearing, TNT PTA and VS PTA will argue that the Commissioner of Education’s decisions are unlawful because they were made in circumstances not justified by the Education Act 1996.

“It will also be contended that the decisions are, in many respects, unreasonable. In addition, and of extreme importance, TNT PTA and VS PTA will say that the Ministry of Education had an obligation to consult with parents before making a decision of such wide-ranging potential consequence.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. Yng Black Mind says:

    Ok – - I did a little research this morning. I read the entire Education Act 1996, which the two PTA’s are using as their defence in their stance against the MOE. I am not a lwayer; however, I do have a background in my profession which allows a serious understanding of the legislative jargon in Bermuda.

    Based on that working knowledge, I do not see how their legal reps are willing to go forward with this case. They are citing the decision was “not justified by the Education Act 1996″ – this statement does not make sense to me.

    In the Act, the Minister and the Commissioner of Education have several different justifications to remove/change principals, teachers or staff – and this is legally binding as it is in legislation. Some reasons are a little more “out there” than others, but if the Minister or the MOE has any evidence to support their position – - the PTAs really don’t have a leg to stand on. (Sorry – but it’s the truth – legally).

    This isn’t to say that the PTA’s fight to be more involved in the decision making process of their schools is not warranted – - but the MOE has the right to change the principals, teaching staff of any school at this point.

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

    • Itsaboutallofus says:

      Exactly!

      • DoThisBermuda! says:

        I am glad that you read the whole education act now the next thing for you to read will be what the VSS AND TNT PTA are figting for. After you read that, then you will understand why we have a case and why they were wrong in the process in which the decision was made :-)

        • Yng Black Mind says:

          @DoThisBermuda!:

          I have read all documentation – - and I do not agree that you have a case – - you are basing your argument on your perception of what their intention was. It is not based in fact – just opinion.

          I reference this situation to another arena – - let’s say that I participate in a community club. That club has an executive body which is in charge of the day to day operation of the club – decision making power, right to hire or fire as they see fit (based on the club’s by laws and constitution). They decide to move the assistant coach into the head coach position because they want to “move in another direction.” So if they don’t include me, a member who does not have the right to vote as I have already put my trust into the leadership of the club, I have the right to legally stop the club from operating?

          Think about it – - I am a father and my children’s education is my responsibility. It matters not who is the principal, teacher, or staff member – - I will always hold them accountable and keep the standard of education to the level which my children deserve – plain and simple. If a principal is not to a standard, they will see me, hear me, receive emails from me – until they know that my children WILL receive the best – even if that means they need to be removed from the school.

          Again, I do know both principals at TNT and VSS – they are both capable. But this whole situation is not about the principals, is it? This is about the hurt and anger and bruised egos of the PTA’s who felt that they SHOULD have been involved in the decision making process of their specific schools – WHEN NO PTA IS INVOLVED IN THOSE PROCESSES.

          If the review is allowed to proceed, it will simply create a level of chaos in the running of the public schools in Bermuda – which already need to remain focused on their primary goal – the education of our children. Remember – that is the purpose – our goal – - not to bring down and destroy the same department/people who should be educating our next generation. Just words to allow people to think and discuss.

          Yng Black Mind
          (those who know understand)

    • DoThisBermuda! says:

      Another thing, for almost two months we have requested information/ reasoning for the move and we have gotten nothing. According to their press release, their reasoning is to spread the wealth. So if one school is not performing well they will swap that principal with a well performing principal in order for both schools to get a chance at underperforming. They will do that instead of trying to fix the problems of that underperforming school without interfering with the education of all the other Brrmudian children.

  2. Bda Speaks says:

    Interestingly niether of these orgs (PTA or MOE) quote the desires of the Principals in question. Maybe they do want to transfer, maybe they don’t…I guess we will never know. However, I agree with Yng Black Mind, that I can’t see what legal standinf they have to challenge the moves.

    • DoThisBermuda! says:

      Oh the PTAs have stated numerous times that the principals do not wish to move.

  3. RobbieM says:

    Well the judge thought they have a case as he approved their request for a judicial review.

    • DoThisBermuda! says:

      and i am glad he did. All children deserve it.

  4. Pastor Syl says:

    I applaud the respective PTAs for standing up for what they believe is right and taking steps to try and correct what they see as wrong. For too long, we have complained about things without making any appreciable effort to change them. Whether or not this test cast succeeds, at least these folk have the courage of their convictions, are putting their money where their mouths are, and are refusing to just mutter and complain while knuckling under. I hope they are successful. It may inspire more of us to step up to the plate.

  5. DoThisBermuda! says:

    And i applaud you for speaking your mind :-)