Call made for resignation of Cumberland High board

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) caretaker for St Catherine South Eastern, Robert Miller is insisting that the board of Cumberland High School resign, saying it has damaged the reputation of the institution.

In a press release Monday, Miller said the board should immediately resign “to make way for a new board of directors to continue the transformation now underway at the school”, accusing it of mishandling of the process of selection and recommending a principal for appointment showed disregard for established procedures and natural justice.

When the Jamaica Observer contacted board Chairman Samuel Chambers, he declined to comment on the matter.

Darien Henry, who has been leading the transformation process at the secondary school, was recently appointed principal of the institution, but Miller said this is after being initially snubbed by the board, which has “demonstrated that it cannot be trusted with the future of the children under its care to discharge its responsibility in managing the affairs of the school in a fair, objective and transparent manner”.

Henry was appointed in September 2017 after Cumberland High made headlines following a reported fracas between the then acting principal and a female student.

Miller said he was not surprised that the Samuel Chambers-chaired Board had made an about face in recommending Henry for the job, although he was the highest-scoring candidate, and who has been occupying the position as acting principal for two years.

“I had brought this issue to the public months ago because of the serious implications of their approach. I am very happy that the prime minister intervened in the matter for good sense to prevail. The entire school, and the community at large, should be relieved that the board was held accountable and had to follow the rules that guide the proper recommendation of a principal,” Miller stated.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness reportedly wrote to the board over questions in the public domain about the selection process used by the board when recommending the appointment of a principal.

Miller is charging that the board has lost its moral authority to govern the institution, and has lost the confidence of teachers, students and the community to effectively provide efficient oversight.

Miller's call comes on the heels of reports that a recommendation by the school board to bypass Henry and appoint another person had enraged parents and students, who planned to publicly protest last month.

“We want the Government to know that parents and students of this institution appreciate this man and we need him in our school. By doing this we want Government to understand that we're not doing it because of politics, we are doing it because of the love and appreciation for this man — so hopefully, our voice will speak very loudly for him,” Parent-Teachers Association President Rebecca Reid told the Observer.

It is understood that some parents were threatening to pull their children from the school if Henry was not appointed principal as he has led the charge for significant improvements in the school's academic performance and image over the past two years.


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