The Bahamas Educators, Councillors and Allied Workers Union (BECAWU) is speaking out regarding the conduct of a school principal on the island of Grand Bahama. Teachers at the Sister Mary Patricia Russell Jr. High School staged a protest this week against working conditions at the school under the leadership of its principal. When union officials attempted to visit the school they found the gates were locked with padlocks.

Vice President of BECAWU Venola Sears Nelson told ZNS News, “in education even though we want everything to go right we realize conflicts and things will happen. And so we want to deal with them at the school level first that is the first stage in an individual grievance. We want to have the matter dealt with in house. We don’t want to air our dirty laundry, we want to have it dealt with in house. So the first stage in the grievance process is actually to meet with the principal and try and see how best to resolve the issue. Now the second stage, if the situation is not resolved at the principal’s level it is then that the principal then brings in the district superintendent. So the next stage is carrying the matter to the district superintendent who then now seeks to resolve the situation.”

According to Nelson, attempts by teachers to meet with the principal to voice their concerns were unsuccessful.

BECAWU Secretary General Pamela Murphy said that it is the lack of training and a lack of dealing effectively with what is happening on the campus why teachers had to reach out for the union’s intervention.