first_imgAppalling school sex scandal…for calling female students “slack and loose”…implicated teacher denies allegations but admits to dating former studentsSeveral activists and members of civil society took to the streets on Tuesday, calling for the sacking of Winifred Ellis, Headmistress of The Bishops’ High School, following her derogatory remarks aimed at female students.Her remarks came in light of the recent widely-publicised sexual assault allegations against a male teacher of the school, to which she allegedly turned a blind eye.Coen Jackson (second from left) flanked by his attorneysThe Education Ministry has launched a full-fledged investigation into the appalling allegations that Bishops’ High School economics teacher Coen Jackson groomed female students and then had sexual relationships with them.The news first broke on social media with several former students confirming the allegations. It was in light of this that Headmistress Ellis called a general assembly, where she berated students for not defending Jackson.“I remember once I am coming down the corridor and I had to step back and ask a child to close her legs. A male teacher is teaching. How many times I telling y’all, don’t touch the boys. Don’t touch the boys. How much times I am standing at my office door and when y’all see me y’all running inside ‘cause you hugging and touching the boys? You are very slack. Very loose with youself,” Ellis told the assembly.A section of the protesters“Do you know, Mr Jackson? I want to see the hands…if you felt uncomfortable at any time, step out the line. If he ever touched you and you tell me, step out of the line. Y’all saw it on (Facebook) right? Y’all know what I talking about, right? Can you corroborate that story? I didn’t see any of you going and defend him on this story. Not one. Don’t lie. Tell the truth!” she further declared.Her derogatory utterances were made public after a student used a cellphone to record her rant and then shared it on social media.Outraged by her actions, several former students, activists and members of civil society picketed the top secondary school on Tuesday.Organiser of the picketing exercise, activist Akola Thompson related that a resounding call should be made for the termination of Ellis as head of one of Guyana’s most senior high schools.“After the allegations about Coen Jackson would have broken, one of the first things the Headmistress did was call an assembly and basically ‘slut shame’, victim blame and castigate students for not coming to the defence of a predator. That is a very dangerous message to be sending to your students, particularly when it comes to female students, because we already have a high rate of persons not coming forward…,” she said.“…so when we have situations like this now, it just makes it more difficult, because persons feel like they have nowhere to go. If they have no faith in the system, then we will continue to fail them,” Thompson posited.She noted that there was widespread information, in almost every school in Guyana, of some teacher having sexual thoughts of students and in some instances those thoughts are acted upon with no consequences.At one point during the protest, students held placards out of the windows in counter protest. One of the placards read “Our HM did not fail us.”“We just had the kids up there saying that their HM did not fail them and I think this says a lot about what will happen with this school and it’s mostly about protecting the reputation of the school rather than protecting the students,” Thompson lamented.Meanwhile, activist and Commissioner of the Rights of the Child Commission, Nicole Cole, said that no adult has the right to berate children, particularly students, the way Ellis did. She noted that ever since the recording was shared on Monday, she made the call for Ellis to be removed, adding that what she did was “victimise the victims”.“What she has done is to make every child who would have gone through the heinous abuse re-victimise them twice. Just like the court system. We wonder why Guyana has a burgeoning rape culture. It’s because of adults like her. Here she is telling the students how loose they are. I wanna say to you, Ms Winifred Ellis, you are loose, you are slack, you are running a bloody horror school, not The Bishops’ High School, because if you had this teacher in your midst and information has come that you have girls who are subjected to abuse, then you have a right to intervene and to ensure that those students are given the best type of care,” Cole declared.Also among the protesters was former student Kemol King, who said that Ellis failed to create a safe environment for the victims of Coen’s abuse and as such, she should be dismissed with immediate effect.“She did not try to create a safe environment for these students to air their complaints, so we believe that Ms Ellis, the head mistress, because of the things she said, she should be dismissed and so we’re calling for the administration to dismiss Ms Ellis immediately,” King said.The picketing exercise continues today at 12 noon.Teacher admits dating former studentsMeanwhile, several calls were made for the Education Ministry and the Child Care and Protection Agency to step up and have the matter taken to the Police so that justice against the alleged sexual predator is served.Over the course of the latter part of last week, allegations of Jackson’s grooming and sexual molestation of several teenagers while serving in the capacity of an economics teacher took social media by storm.A formal complaint against the teacher of over 15 years was made to the Education Ministry over the weekend and was addressed to the Education Minister Nicolette Henry; Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan; Social Protection Minister Amna Ally; Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence; Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams and Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton.Since then, Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson has informed the media that an investigation has been launched, while the Social Protection Ministry issued a short statement outlining that it was “aware of the allegations levelled against a senior teacher at The Bishops’ High School. The matter is currently under investigation and the Ministry is actively involved in this process. The Ministry takes these complaints seriously and holds paramount the protection of our nation’s children.”As news of the alleged sexual molestation implicating Jackson broke out on social media, a number of past students reportedly came forward and related similar experiences.Meanwhile, in the presence of his attorneys (Jerome Khan, Priyanka Sookraj and Siand Dhurjan),  Jackson broke his silence on the allegations against him, which claimed that he abused his position of trust as a teacher and groomed female, and some male, students for sexual activity.At a press conference on Tuesday, in the office of Attorney Khan, Jackson denied the allegations made against him.He said that the complainant “has created this caricature of me as a beast, as a predator. There are many students that could testify on my behalf. My professional conduct, my ability in the subjects that I teach, the performance record of me as a teacher is there. I have contributed to the CoI on education…I have a track record of high performance.”However, Jackson did admit to dating two former students of Bishops’.He explained that he was currently in a relationship with a 21-year-old former student and has been involved with the young woman for a number of years.Jackson posited his belief that the matter was only brought to light by a notorious character in society only after he [the complainant] became engaged in an intimate relationship with a former student of The Bishop’s High School, with whom Jackson had been involved.“In the process, I have been accused, prosecuted and convicted in the court of public opinion…I wish to deny the accusation being peddled by [the complainant] and believe that he is using this as a basis for his self-promotion, disregarding what damage is done to many, many persons’ profession, reputation and character,” he said.Jackson and his attorneys noted that there have been several libellous statements made on social media and that they were monitoring them and would take further action soon.The accused also indicated that he was open to any type of scrutiny by any government agency and/or ministry. (Lakhram Bhagirat and Ramona Luthi)last_img read more

first_imgThere will also be tasty treats available through the tournament’s concession and refreshment stands. The tournament’s entry fee is $500 per team, and today, Wednesday, July 25, is the final day to submit a team.For more information or to register for this weekend’s baseball tournament, email cjsmemorial@hotmail.com, or call Carla at 250-262-5860. Askoty was heavily involved in Peace Region baseball, participating in as many baseball tournaments as possible, traveling all across the Peace Region to play the game he loved.The tournament, being held at the Taylor Baseball Diamonds, guarantees competing teams at least four games, while also featuring a home run derby for those looking for flex their baseball muscles. The co-ed tournament will run on a 7 and 3 format, meaning a team’s roster must include 7 males and 3 females. – Advertisement -Gameplay will abide by ASA rules, and players are only allowed to play for one team. The tournament will also be providing carded umpires to call the games.There will also be a variety of prize giveaways throughout the weekend, including cash prizes based on competition, prizes designated for the Most Valuable Player, equipment prizes as well as a 50/50 draw. Advertisementlast_img read more