We have told you about developments here in Belmopan where one teacher is accused of having sexual intercourse with a student at Belmopan Comprehensive School.
That teacher, Michael Guzman, now faces criminal charges as the student’s educational life has been cut short.
Minister of Education Patrick Faber is not possessed of the actual details, and says he does not need them, because the decision on how to discipline Guzman and other culprits falls to the school’s board.
“I don’t know what hey will find and I cannot just go on our feeling if it cannot be proven and things are not there. This is why we appeal to those who have information, let us know; let the management of the school board know, so that the cases can be dealt with. But if nobody wants to talk (and I am not sure if that is the case, but this is quite often the case), nobody wants to bell the cat, so to speak, then these people are allowed to slide and this is what you may be referring to as cover up. If there is no evidence, you can’t just go on hearsay, and you will understand that there might well be cases that people are trying to be malicious against other people, and so, we can’t merely can’t go on that; as he officials in this ministry, but also the managing authority of the schools need to be able to determine that yes, this teacher did commit some kind of offense and of course, once they make a decision, work with the Teachers Services Commission to discipline a teacher like that. But failing the due process and failing the proper evidence to do so, then, I am sorry, we are not able to do anything about that”.
Minister Faber noted that while his Ministry has representatives on such school board, there are others involved and they must collectively come to a decision.
But he also made it clear that the Ministry will not condone illicit behavior in schools and repeated his plea for those with important information to step forward.
Hon. Patrick Faber: “You are right, we are very, very concerned, but to say that it is a trend, I am not sure that you can even say that it is a trend at that particular high school where we know that there has been at least one or two other instances with teachers or those from the staff of the school. But I don’t think that it is a cause for panic to say that it is a widespread trend in Belmopan in that matter, but for the entire nation. But indeed we are not panicking, but we are very concerned. Imake the appeal now to those who of course have information and I am also willing to point out that we frowned upon in the ministry that is against the law for this kind of relationship to happen. So, where there is information that can help us to weed these people out of teaching, (When I say this to the Teachers Union, there they, of course, accuse me of badmouthing teachers) but these things are reality; they are very real situations that occur in the classrooms and we must engage our stakeholders in for us everybody to weed out these unfit people in the teaching profession”.