Updates: Schools To Close Today, Teachers Meet

May 31, 2019

[Updating: The Ministry confirm that 'a decision has been made to close all public schools for the remainder of today, 31 May']


There will be an ‘Emergency Meeting’ for the membership of the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] at 8.30am on Friday morning [May 31] at the Heritage Worship Centre on Dundonald Street in Hamilton, the BUT said, while the Ministry said “teachers are not authorized to absent themselves from work but are expected to report to school.”

Update 7.04pm: A Ministry spokesperson said, “The Department of Education was reliably informed early this evening that the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] has called an emergency general membership meeting for teachers at 8:30am tomorrow morning, 31 May.

“All teachers should be aware that the BUT has not requested time away from work for their members to attend this meeting. Therefore teachers are not authorized to absent themselves from work but are expected to report to school for the regular school work day.

“However, the Department will work with the BUT in alignment with correct protocols to find a more suitable time to hold a general membership meeting rather than disrupt the teaching day for students.”

We continue to seek clarity and further information and will update if able.

Update May 31, 8.11am: We have no further comment in, however are outside of the Heritage Worship Centre now, where the meeting was called for 8.30am, and we will attempt to update if able.

Heritage Worship Center Bermuda May 31 2019 1

Update 8.15am: We do see some people arriving, someone is carrying the signs below

BUT Bermuda May 31 2019 1

BUT Bermuda May 31 2019 2

Update 8.38am: People continue to arrive and BUT General Secretary Mike Charles and BUT President Shannon James were just seen walking in.

Update 9.00am: Don Burgess reports: Teachers were on site at the Heritage Hall Worship Center before 8am ahead of its 8:30am meeting calls by the BUT.

Members continued to stream in past well past the scheduled start time to discuss a host of issues. The agenda for the meeting includes T.N. Tatum Middle School, which it was announced yesterday would cost $3 million and 10 months of time to fix.

Another school specific issue is dealing with Elliot Primary School. It was announced earlier this year that Elliot would not have a P1 class because it had only four students apply for enrollment. Also on the agenda are: negotiations, para-educators, non-teaching deputies, and pre-school scale posts.

Update 9.08am: We have asked the Education Ministry for comment on what is happening at schools and will update as able.

Update 10.33am: We are still outside the meeting, and hoping to possibly get an update from the BUT when it concludes.

Update 11.19am: Live video of a statement coming soon…

The 4-minute live video replay of the BUT statement is below:

A live replay is below, showing the teachers leaving together..

Update 12.05pm: The Ministry confirm that “a decision has been made to close all public schools for the remainder of today, 31 May.”

A spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Education just received email correspondence from the President of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, Mr. Shannon James, that a motion agreed to by teachers stated that they will not return to school until a meeting is held with the Ministry.

“In the interest of the safety of students, teachers and other school staff who reported to work this morning, a decision has been made to close all public schools for the remainder of today, 31 May.

“Parents are asked to collect their children, and to continue to check for updates.”

Update 12.15pm: Teachers are now walking onto the grounds of the House of Assembly..which is in session today.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 32-minute replay is below

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Comments (77)

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  1. Why says:

    And you would like the public to put our kids in public schools while you are calling meetings to disrupt kids education….why?

    • Marching Band says:

      You abandon the children once again but this time at the end of the year and during Exam time when our kids need you the most you are abandoning them! Wow! Could you not have had a meeting at lets say, hmmmm 4:00pm? or Saturday?!

      Yet another example of why so many Bermudian Families do whatever they can to put their kids in Private schools or homeschool.

      There was a time when most teachers taught because they loved giving back. loved filling kids with knowledge, loved watching them blossom, and watch them grow. Now sadly, many of them take the job because they get holidays, weekends and summer off.

      All of you teachers should be ashamed of yourselves. Ashamed because you think this is okay and even if you don’t because you don’t stand up to your union.

    • Billy says:

      Is there school or not?

      • hmmm says:

        The PEOPLE will not vote for the UBP aka OBA. So don’t get your hopes up LOLOLOL because you will be holding your breath for a long time.

        • Seriously says:

          That might be true but when your kids or grandkids don’t get the education they deserve and don’t get into the university they choose and don’t get the job they want. Thank the PLP and the BUT. Pathetic…power hungry people

    • Not to be Rude says:

      A school was just closed and you wonder why?

    • Christle says:

      A pathetic shame. We dropped five year old off this morning. Didn’t find out till 11:00 by chance look at my email that there was minimal to no supervision at his school.

      I swear by the grace of God had he been harmed in any way under while supposed under your watch, every last one of you who was present at today BUT meeting would be facing a lawsuit.

      The children were found in classrooms supervising themselves!!!

    • Bermudiana says:

      The goal was not to disrupt kid’s education. It is unfortunate that it got to this point, but what other options do we have? When you have repeatedly expressed concerns and peaceably asked for resolution and have waited and waited patiently for a response, there comes a point where there is no time left to continue without an agreeable solution.

      If this is what finally gets government attention to do what needs to be done, then so be it.

      • Mb says:

        Well what do you want???
        It would be nice for the public who pay your salaries to know!
        You complained about Tatum mould so the government addressed it and now you are not happy it’s being closed and I assume jobs will go and people offered new positions they may not want
        Elliott has four kids what do you want to keep it open??
        Please let the public know and please behave responsibly when it comes to kids…
        Also who is it that ignored your issues as they are in wrong g too

    • Maddog says:

      No…put them in a private school for $25.000 a year

  2. Red rose says:

    Prison officers, bus drivers and now teachers …

    • Paul says:

      What a mess this Island is in …so what do parents do with their children tomorrow ? due to the emergency meeting at 8.30 am !!!
      Where the hell is our so called PREMIER ? we are in a sad state of affairs.

      • somuchless says:

        Out traveling the world smh

        • Paul says:

          The Premier does seem to like to travel, he should focus more on whats going on here in Bermuda.

    • Donderered says:

      Indeed, who next?

    • Marching Band says:

      BUT Still no marches? Where is the ever vocal Rev Greed?

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    Why can that meeting not be held at 4:30? Oh…that’s right…disruption would be minimal if it were held after school hours.

    • Dude says:

      Triangle Drifter do you go to meetings for your first job on your second job’s hours?

      Clearly you do not understand how many education staff have other jobs and responsibilities during their unpaid hours.

      • question says:

        If you can’t devote the time needed to be a teacher, and that includes holding your union meetings at some time when you’re not supposed to be actually teaching the kids that you’re paid to teach, then maybe you need to get another career.

        • Dude says:

          Dearest dumb dumb, if educators were paid for the amount of time they put into teaching that would be at least one item of concern finally addressed on the list of decades old issues…

          But educators aren’t paid for what they do; they are paid for some of what they do and volunteer the rest of their time for the love of their craft and your children hoping that one day the promises from each and every government over the past few decades will actual be delivered on…

          Yet they still show up everyday and put in the work knowing that they will be ridiculed online, in the news, on the radio, having their profession ridiculed by any and all, while they continue in required contractual silence…

          Don’t remain an idiot when there are more than a thousand teachers you can ask a question to personally and get an in-depth personal response…

          Even your ignorant a** deserves an education on this important topic, but you’d rather dribble non-sense than ask for clarity…

          • Politricks says:

            Don’t mean to be rude. But what would you say is the biggest issue for out public education system as of now? Year after year the GCSE checkpoint results note that more than half of the students taking the exam are not meeting international standards for the basics such as math and english. Is it the resources, the parents, the curriculum, sub-standard teachers (not all)?

            • Dude says:

              Which part of your question is supposed to be rude so I can temper myself lol

              It’s a great question to ask!

              Do you think students not meeting minimum standards at checkpoints should actually sit IGCSE exams?

          • question says:

            Er no. Teachers are paid to teach children during school hours. That is the basic non-negotiable minimum. It is the very least they have to do. That isn’t anything extra or special. It’s basic. If they don’t want to do it, they can use their fantastic world-class skills and considerable unique talents, which I’m sure they all have, and get another career where they don’t have to actually turn up.

            You’re the ignorant a@@. Frikin moron.

            • Dude says:

              Teachers brought their fantastic world-class skills and considerable unique talents from a number of careers to their classrooms for the benefit of our students on the promise that they are treated fairly and equitably.

              Like all employees the free world over, they indeed have the right to withdraw that labour, and “don’t actually have to turn up” when aggrieved with their employer…

              It’s like your fundamental human right to verbalize your ignorance…

              What’s your special skill?

          • M J King says:

            No worries. The children can all become politicians!

          • Mb says:

            Oh Cry me a river
            We all work overtime and don’t get paid all those hours
            And yes in fact I do often have to work weekends and well after 5 and have a family too and guess what I do t get the entire summer off !!!
            So grow up and either teach or find a new career
            You should NOT as a teacher have two jobs… no wonder the schools’ results are not good if everyone is working two jobs

      • Bermudiana says:


      • Jessica says:

        It could be argued that parent’s with their children in the public school system feel that the education staff clearly do not understand or empathize that they have jobs and responsibilities during school hours.

        • Dude says:

          Oh if the balance of trade in empathy could be tracked…

      • Hair says:

        Dude, teachers have salary that pays them on the 2 months they are off in the summer, go figure!

  4. I love the PLP says:

    So wasn’t a PLP government supposed to sort all this out? Why can’t they? Doesn’t the “L” stand for Labour?

    • question says:

      No, it stands for Layabouts.

    • ImJustSayin says:

      When you have a labor government there will always be labor unrest. They prove my point every time.

  5. Billy says:

    So is school in for students or no?

  6. puma says:

    Pandering with our tax dollar !!!!!!!!

  7. gustav says:

    it was clear
    it is Friday and the sun is shining

  8. seepasttheBS says:

    Same crap every year, Buses, Teachers and i’m sure the Trash collectors will be next… Suns out and tourists are coming so lets screw the island..

  9. D says:

    Work to Rule list as at 31 May 2019:

    Prison officers
    Dept. of Public Transportation
    Dept. of Human Resources
    Bermuda Union of Teachers

  10. campervan. says:

    Hows it go OJ?
    “Shut De Island down!!!!” LMFAO.
    Happy yet?

    • William says:

      All this and the TRUTH IS the oba will never win!!! LMFAO

      • Double S says:

        Just a sad indictment on the electorate. Not really funny at all.

        • Anbu says:

          Hes too stupid to understand that lmao

          • Swing voter#989 says:

            I don’t think their stupid the PEOPLE don’t trust the obaUBPEEEE. They would rather not vote than vote for you clowns again did you not receive the memo. It’s a fact now stfu.

            • LaV says:

              “I don’t think their stupid ”

              I think you are…you can’t even get your point across in text. pathetic.

  11. question says:

    25-11. The PLP owns it.

  12. Bill says:

    Why couldn’t this meeting have been held this evening, or tomorrow a.m!

    Again, the students comes last.

  13. Concerned Non-Bermudian says:

    Because, sadly, this is the kind of disruption that’s necessary for them to take teachers serious!All for the benefit of your own children and this island!

    The Concerned Non-Bermudian

    • Bermudiana says:

      That’s exactly right. When you have repeatedly expressed concern and peaceably asked for resolution and have waited and waited patiently for a response, there comes a point where there is no time left to continue to wait.

      Unfortunately students are affected, but there was a solution and that was to address the teachers’ concerns. Not every teacher is impacted directly, but colleagues are and it is often when we come together and say here’s where we draw the line that there finally is a proper response. This has been ongoing for too long.

  14. Blind Sheep says:

    Is the PLP working for you?

    • Bermudiana says:

      all governments are flawed and imperfectly run at times, which is why, at times, the people have to mobilize speak up and let their concerns be heard

      just a note…the OBA certainly wasn’t working for us during their administration…well, not all of us anyway…

      • LaV says:

        “just a note”

        You’re a liar and a fool…sit down and shut your ignorant mouth

      • Onion says:

        If you work for the government the only reason you didn’t get mass layoffs was the OBA cutting the deficit in time.

  15. trump supporter says:

    Keep them in office just a little longer, more things to screw up yet!
    Well done voters!

    • Bermudiana says:

      Voters of all demographics got sick and tired of the OBA agenda, which seemed to focused on a particular class of people in our country…they were not listening to the majority of the people…which is why they lost their seats…it would have been silly to keep them in office, given their performance…it was logical to give the PLP a chance to do better…

      PLP are imperfect and I don’t agree with everything, however they are generally focused on working for the Bermudian people

      • Double S says:

        Hahaha. Yeah, causing taxing the bejeesus out of the ‘people’ is akin to ‘wprking for the Bermudian people.’

        Name one thing that has gotten better and more affordable in teh last two years.


      • trump supporter says:

        Really, ill give you the benefit of the doubt, name 3 yes just three things the govt has done for all of us, not a select few, like 1.2..
        Im all ears..

      • Invictus says:

        That’s right, reducing our tax deficit, spending rates so we can get ourselves out the red is focusing on just one particular class….

        Less need for taxation at all is just one particular class….

      • toadinthehole says:

        so working for the Bermudian people equates to the sugar tax, the new dividend tax, increased health insurance, it means nice mortgage relief for the civil service or $160K a year for meaningless cabinet positions, or failing to prevent 12 consecutive months of retail decline, or stopping business confidence from reaching rock bottom … I could go on.
        How is that working for Bermudian people?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        * they were not listening to the majority of the people…which is why they lost their seats… *

        LOL , that and all the hundreds of other excuses trotted out have nothing at all to do with them loosing . Why don’t you all just face up to it and call a spade a spade ?

  16. Bill says:

    A mother who was just in our office whose child is at West Pembroke, said there were 5 parents in charge of the entire school.
    They had no choice but to put the students out on the playing field.


    • bigga says:

      that shows the teachers at West Pembroke has parental support !

  17. Blind Sheep says:

    How ia that Landslide looking now?

    • wahoo says:

      They are reaping what they have sown for the last 50 years or so. Now they are dealing with unions and all the BS that comes from telling people that all they need to do is withdraw labor and wait. Cannot be fired and they get paid so what is to lose? I hope that we are at the point now where all our teachers are fully qualified for the job.

  18. Paul says:

    Thank God nothing happened to any of the students, can you imagine if one of them were taken sick !!! this is a serious situation, so one has to wonder will the schools be open on Monday.

  19. puzzled says:

    The end is nigh.


  20. U.B.P./O.B.A. has left US in a terrible bind.
    Yup!! Discriminatory practices on your party’s part(U.B.P./O.B.A.), will NOT be forgotten.
    Leaving Bermuda public children in a mess, then RAN AS FAST AS HE COULD,to America Cup.
    Bermudians could care less about A.C.B.(America Cup Bermuda)!!
    To U.B.P. and O.B.A. , YOU have created a mess which you do not care about, nor your off springs!!!!
    Terrible, phony group!!

    • Ringmaster says:

      Does 17-21 mean anything to you? It means the PLP have had 17 years in the last 21 to change Education, but haven’t, can’t or can’t be bothered as it it is a useful political tool used by people like you.

  21. Cole Simons was a DISASTER happening daily!!
    He was fulfilling the work of THEM!!

    • Double S says:

      Shut up you racist POS

    • Wahoo says:

      What does Cole Simons have to do with this?

      • Anbu says:

        why u so jealous of “them” straightforward? Seems like your whole gov is doing “their” work considering how theyre sticking it to u. But u like it tho. Seems “backward” to me

    • PBanks says:

      Seriously, we get your role in this forum, but this is beyond ludicrous. Take ownership of these issues.

  22. John E. Thorne says:

    I will say it again where is the People’s Campaign?

  23. PBanks says:

    Nice that David Burt was pleased to meet the head of the BUT. At least somebody is pleased at something during this chaotic melee surrounding Education.

  24. Dready says:

    Plp putting Bermudians last! 25!11 ha ha!

  25. cpm says:

    Where is Tweed and the peoples campaign?
    Tweed is very quiet-undercover status?