All Teachers At West Pembroke Call In Sick

November 30, 2018

[Updated + Written by Don Burgess ]

All the teachers at West Pembroke School have called in sick today.

This action comes after the teachers decided to work-to-rule on November 21,  and their main concerns listed at that time included:

1. The reinstatement of a lower learning support teacher to support the academic needs in the first three year levels. Research has proven that early intervention is the key to academic success.

2. The need for an additional para-educator in the Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom due to the increasing student population.

3. Ministry to address and support the learner profile of students with behavioural concerns, i.e., smaller classroom, therapeutic environments and alternative placements. [Note: West Pembroke School has followed the Ministry of Education's protocol with the implementation of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support model when addressing academic and behavioural concerns.]

4. Ministry to delay the implementation of Standards-Based Grading by providing comprehensive professional development to the entire school system.

5. Ministry to improve the technological infrastructure of all schools so that important functions such as inputting grades, attendance, incorporating technology into lessons can be facilitated. The internet bandwidth is insufficient [10 megs for the entire school] and causes major delays.

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain met with staff at that time to hear their concerns.

Today, Mike Charles, General Secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT], told Bernews “I understand the teachers have called in sick today. There are a number of situations happening at the school. They’ve attempted to get the Ministry to sort it out.

“They’ve had problems with their autistic programme,” he added. “It’s not supported well. They don’t have enough personnel there.

“They cannot do the job they would like to do, and they are supposed to do because of insufficient support. They’ve taken it to the Ministry; they’ve had discussions with the Ministry, and nothing gets done.

“I imagine the teachers in an effort to bring some attention to their plight, and the plight of the students because that’s what they are there for. They cannot do the job they’re supposed to be doing with the support they are getting from the Ministry on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr Charles says promises were made to the West Pembroke teachers and “that didn’t happen so they are at their wits’ end, and would like to draw some attention to that.”

He added said a meeting would hopefully happen over the weekend to address the issues.

Bernews has reached out to the Education Ministry for comment, and will update as able.

Update 1.29pm: We asked Education Minister Diallo Rabain for comment, video below

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Comments (25)

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  1. Paul says:

    To all the great teachers out there, stand firm most parents stand behind you.

    • Good idea says:

      BS!! To call in sick is a cop out and we are not all behind these teachers who are supposed to lead by example! Get back to work you lazy lot!

      • Stinky D. says:

        Ok Slave Driver

      • Please inform says:

        Please inform us of the proper way to protests. Your thinking is in line with the POTUS who doesn’t understand when NFL players take a knee. Protest are not meant to be comfortable or convenient.

        • Eye 4 and Eye says:

          It’s not a protest when you call in sick. That is a selfish act that takes no one else’s feelings thoughts, or well being into consideration other than their own. Calling in sick gives them the ability to still get paid. Again thinking of nobody but themselves. A normal person would have approached the government and stated that if their concerns were not by the end of the upcoming holiday then they would not return to work. That would allow parents to plan and put measures in place so that their kids could be safe. However something tells me that you’re still too thick in the skull to understand the difference.

          • Lots of internet bosses says:

            ok so I guess guess the parents aren’t normal either since they support it. The teachers have been asking for this well before this week and Govenrment has been made aware. Let me show you how important they are. These issues have been known and not one mention in the throne speech. (drops mic)

        • Question says:

          If you’re on strike, go on strike. Calling in sick is lying and weakens your case.

      • Dee says:

        Better yet, YOU GO DO THE JOB AND TEACH!!

  2. Think says:

    Education in Bermuda is in crisis. We have had more ministers of education over the last 30 years than one can count. All have been sincere and well meaning but ultimately completely ineffective.

    Our politicians must for once place their egos to once side and come together in a bipartisan manner to resolve the matter. How may more generations of children are we prepared to fail?

    I really believe the PLP and the OBA need to stand shoulder to shoulder on this one, pledge to take politics completely out of education and do the right thing for our children.

    I hope this action by the West Pembroke school teachers will lead us to make the right decisions.

    • Wahoo says:

      For the price we pay we should put our kids in boarding schools.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      In all fairness to the countless Ministers on both sides of the political divide, they don’t run Education though they are the public face of it.

      The real problem for decades has been the DOE that works in a nice cosy cocoon with their jobs for life no matter how bad their performance. They are the ones who are supposed to carry out any Ministerial policy, not do their level best to get in the way.

      The DOE should be taken apart & reassembled as a much smaller leaner & meaner overseer of public education. When was the last time most of them saw the inside of a classroom?

  3. 2 Bermudas says:

    Time to throw another Wakanda party!! Ha ha ha!!

  4. Fool me once says:

    ha ha, plp has all the answers.
    Thanks voters.

  5. Press on says:

    If the parents support the cause that says alot. Theres people telling the teachers to get on with it and stop complaining. Those people likely have never been managers and never will be with that attitude. That school of thought suggest the teachers should deal with the issues even if it means the well being of childrens education suffering all because some of you dont like that your “tax paying dollars” are funding a sick out.
    Has everyone missed the obvious, if there has been many Ministers but many of the players remain the same in the DOE you are literally expecting one person to break “team of individuals that do things a certain way that seem to end up in either failure or confusion. You probably need a change management team to address the root of internal operations.

  6. Trufth says:


  7. Family Man says:

    So it’s OK to lie?

    Not a very good example to set for your kids.

  8. watching says:

    While we all support the teachers and students having the best conditions possible for their education, we all must realize that these problems were not created overnight and cannot be fixed overnight.
    As the Minister says, those that can be addressed will be, but those that need time will obviously need time.
    The teachers and parents need not be disingenuous and follow the correct protocols and procedures.
    Yes they realize they have “power” but who wins at the end of the day?
    The Minister has his own daughter in public school, so clearly he is invested in the public education system, more-so than any other recent Minister. Lets take him at his word. There are obvious issues in education, but in my view this Minister has been more vocal, more accessible and more open than many others. Lets stay focused.

  9. Sailor says:

    No bow tie today Mr Minister?

  10. Stevie says:

    Time for a snap election.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Why? The problem is not with the Minister, or any of the previous Ministers who have run into a stone wall at the DOE.

  11. Current Teacher says:

    Seems like the teachers might actually have a point on this one. No demands for better pay makes me feel like this might have a chance of being about the students…

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Fear not. They’re just testing the (political) waters to see what they can get away with in terms of manipulating the very people who they know count on them for their votes.
      More money (that we do not have) will be coming soon .

  12. Y-Gurl says:

    They need to get time out, it’s a strike by another name, semantics and sends a really bad message to those you are supposed to be shaping, get back to work and stop being so irresponsible

    • Since when says:

      Glad none of you are doctors cause the only sick you can comprehend in your limited understanding is physically sick in order to not attend school. Irresponsible to request better conditions and resources? Oh my shame on them…lol You got some of you alls bebe kids disrupting classes and the teachers are supposed to magically teach. Oh oh and waaaah I don’t have nowhere to put my child I’m being inconvenienced by this sick out on this one day. Try a term of inconvenience but yet the teachers are the selfish ones. Tell me again how your house is not made of glass?