Former Students protest for removal of Bishops’ Head Teacher

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By Devina Samaroo

Former students and other concerned persons on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, protested for the removal of the Headmistress of the Bishops’ High School, Winifred Ellis who reportedly chastised female students at the public school for not “defending” a teacher who is accused of having sexual relations with multiple students.

The group of protestors were outside the Bishops’ High School and waved placards calling for swift action to be taken; they chanted slogans for the Headmistress to be sacked and for the victims to be protected.

Kemol King, who attended the high school just a few years ago, said it is sickening that the persons who are responsible for protecting children are sexual predators or are involved in the practice of victim blaming.

“He could not have done this had he not been given the environment where his predatory ways were allowed to flourish,” King said even as he referred to the manner in which the Headmistress addressed the matter.

Kemol King

“We know for a fact that she did not try to create a safe environment for these students to air their complaints so we believe that Miss Ellis, the Headmistress, should be dismissed,” he stated.

Nicole Cole, a Commissioner on the Rights of the Child Commission and the Women and Gender and Equality Commission, said it is disheartening that all the work done by the entities have proven futile in this very scandal.

“We’ve been visiting schools pertaining to child sexual abuse and what to do to report the cases. I feel as though all of our work has gone to zilch. When I listened to the diatribe spewed by Miss Winifred Ellis [Headmistress], I could not believe that I was living in the twenty-first century,” she posited.

Nicole Cole

Cole also lamented the culture of silence prevailing in a society where persons seem to normalise a wrong.

“We have a culture of silence, silence of the lambs and what that has done, it has conditioned us to accept the abnormal as normal and we are in a crisis,” she emphasised.

Cole explained that the scandal at this prestigious public high school highlights many flaws in society regarding how matters of child sexual abuse are addressed.

Meanwhile, other concerned parents, whose children attend other public educational institutions, said they joined the protest because they would have been furious if their children were victims of sexual abuse.

The group of persons intends to continue their picketing exercise until satisfactory actions are taken against those guilty of misconduct.

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