Police to probe sexual misconduct against Bishops’ Teacher, HM to be disciplined

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The Ministry of Education says it has concluded its investigations against embattled Bishops’ High School Teacher, Coen Jackson and the matter has been handed over to the Guyana Police Force.

A statement from the Education Ministry on Friday, November 24, 2017, noted that the investigation was conducted by the Ministry’s Education Welfare Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection.

Jackson, 39, was sent on administrative leave earlier this week, following allegations that he engages in sexual activities with his students. The teacher’s actions were first brought to light by Cultural Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson, who detailed numerous reports he received from present and past students of the teacher, who allegedly sexualized his lessons, had inappropriate conversations with female students and engaged in multiple sexual relationships with female students. Johnson has so far compiled a list of approximately 30 victims.

A student has since confirmed to Johnson that she had entered a sexual relationship with Jackson while she was in 5th form at the Bishops’ High school.  She related that he made sexually inappropriate contact with her a month before her 16th birthday, reminded her a few days before her birthday that she was approaching the age of consent and a few weeks after that, began a sexual relationship with her inclusive of penetrative sex.

Jackson has since denied the allegations but admitted to having sex with two former students of the said school, one of whom he is currently in an intimate relationship with.

HEADMISTRESS TO BE DISCIPLINED

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry also noted that it has concluded its investigations into the actions of schools’ Head Mistress, Winifred Ellis, who berated female students at the public school for not “defending” the teacher.

The Ministry said that the Head Mistress had an opportunity to provide an explanation and based on the evidence presented and the explanation proffered, the committee found the Head Mistress culpable of breaching the regulations under the Education Act 39:01 section 35 which deals with “Inappropriate behavior by teachers in school” and which is liable to a first warning.

It was recommended that the Head Teacher be reprimanded, she must apologise to the students and teachers and that the Ministry provide training and support to teachers on how to deal with children on sexual issues.

Head Teacher of the Bishops’ High School. Winifred Ellis

It was further recommended that the Ministry of Education provide counseling support which was requested by the students.

The Head Mistress’ alleged diatribe against the female students took place on Monday morning (November 20) during an assembly and it was recorded by students, who released it to the media.

In the recording, the Head Teacher could be heard describing the young ladies as “loose” and “slack” and even asked them to “step out the line” if the teacher ever touched them.

The team which investigated the Head Teacher included: Chief Education Officer (CEO) Mr. Marcel Hutson (Chief and final arbiter), Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Education- Ms. Kelly-Ann Payne-Hercules, Guyana Teachers Union Representative Mr. Lance Baptiste, President of the Bishops’ High School Board Mrs. Ruth Lee, President of The Bishops’ High School Parent Teachers Association (PTA) – Mrs Sondra Lowe, National PTA Co-ordinator- Ms. Nadia Hollingsworth, Co-ordinator  of Health and Family Life Education (HFLE)- Ms. Coleen King-Cameron and the two Head Prefects of the Bishops’ High School.

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