The following comment was posted on another blog by Simple Simon in response to a question from BU about the sudden closure of Alma Parris, a school that was established to serve special needs children. Is there a need for such a school in Barbados? – Barbados Underground
@David June 29, 2017 at 10:49 AM “An impassioned interrogation by Cynthia Forde of the Ministry of Education on the talk show today, why was the Alma Parris School at Speightstown closed without proper disclosure?”
You can be sure that the Ministry of Education would not dare to close Harrison College, or Lord forbid Combermere School unless there was first extensive consultation with “stakeholders”
According to M.P. Cynthia Forde on Brasstacks on Thursday, the teachers and the principal were informed about the school’s closure after 2 p.m. on Monday. It seems that the students were informed on Tuesday morning, and that the parents like the rest of us heard about the school’s closure on VOB’s 12:30 p.m. news on Tuesday afternoon. This is not good enough.
Was this a hasty decision? When did the Chief Education Officer first hear of the closure? When did the School Board hear? When did Cabinet hear? Was the Chief Education Officer consulted about the closure? Or was she simply told? Was the School’s Board consulted about the closure or was the Board simply informed? Was Cabinet consulted about about the closure or was Cabinet presented with the Cabinet paper regarding the school’s closure only at their Thursday morning meeting?
Is the school’s closure a part of the Ministry of Education’s clumsy attempts to deal with declining enrolment because of declining birth rates? And if so why Alma Parris? Is it not true that the parents of Alma Parris students have more that done their patriotic duty by producing more than the average number of children unlike those demographically unpatriotic parents who have produced a single child for Combermere or Harrison College.
This school’s closure means that these special needs students will be separated from their peers, siblings, cousins etc. come September. Changing schools is stressful for even the best of students, for these students the change will be even more stressful, and will increase the likelihood that these students will withdraw from school.
The truth is that when it comes to special needs students we never treat them as well as we treat the “bright’ ones.
A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin (Daniel 5:25)”
We will be weighed in the balance and found wanting.