The Saint Lucia Teachers’ Union has sent a strong message to the Ministry of Education on student discipline, indicating that all options would be open if the union is displeased with how the Ministry handles the matter.
In an address on Wednesday in observance of Teachers’ Week, SLTU President Don Howell declared that a teacher should not be subjected to any form of abuse on the job.
As result, Howell reiterated a call to the Ministry of Education to take a firm stance on student discipline in Saint Lucia.
“As the SLTU, we will engage our members on this, and as they come up, we will speak to our members,” the SLTU President stated.
“And let me make it clear to the Ministry of Education that all options for the SLTU remain on the table if we are not satisfied with the stance that they take as it relates to student discipline,” Howell asserted to applause from his audience.
The SLTU President disclosed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the union partnered with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation on a study relating to the pandemic’s impact on teachers.
Howell said the raw data pointed to high levels of psycho-social trauma teachers experienced.
“The research also highlighted the growing feeling among teachers of being under-appreciated. They felt that they were disrespected during the pandemic. Importantly, they were given no rewards for using their own resources to keep the education system afloat,” he revealed.
Howell said that based on the findings, the SLTU has already started its work to support its members.
He, therefore, called on the Ministry of Education and the government to expand the Employee Assistance Programme.
Howell observed that the SLTU negotiated the initiative but it was handed out to everyone in the public service.
According to Howell, the programme has to expand to ensure that teachers benefit.
He also urged the government to give teachers some concessions.
But while urging concessions from the government, Howell also spoke of plans by the SLTU to support its members.
Among the initiatives he outlined were expanding the union’s disaster committee beyond dealing with natural and seeking to provide counseling support to members.
Headline photo: Don Howell (Stock image)