The many sides of the Merle Grove debacleTuesday, September 28, 2021
When I read the article headlined 'Suspended Merl Grove principal gets teacher support ahead of today's hearing', which appeared in the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, I realised that, by their reaction and disclosures, the group of 12 teachers had effectively made the case for the chairman of the board in requiring the principal to give an account for the breakdown in discipline at the school and proved that he was justified in carrying out this action.
The title of the article should therefore be: 'Chairman gets Merl Grove teachers support ahead of today's hearing'.
Quotations from the article, attributable to the group, paint a picture of a school in crisis, spiralling out of control. Unconsciously, the group has depicted the social atmosphere at the school as an environment divided into hostile groups, engaging in a battle over relevance and supremacy.
The group of 12 spared no effort, by its adverse response to the events, to highlight the malaise that has characterised the school under the watch of the “transformational principal”. “This is a result of laziness, jealousy, lack of respect, greed, overambition, and the lack of morals. We will not, in any way, entertain, promote, or ignore the assassination of Dr [Marjorie]Fullerton's character and her office,” the group writes in reference to the accusations made against the principal.
This statement represents the state of affairs, in the opinion of these teachers, in existence at Merl Grove, whereby a group of teachers, inspired by what they believe are unfounded accusations against the principal, are willing to go on record, in the full glare of the public, to castigate, reprimand, and degrade another set of teachers, casting them as lazy and jealous, and lacking in morals.
Should we, therefore, deduce that this has been the type of environment over which the principal has been presiding? Aren't these situations an indictment on the management of the school?
Without any hint of subtlety, the group of 12 has framed the education landscape at Merl Grove to make it appear as though they are the only ones who are performing and working hard. They describe themselves as “hard-working, honest, and dedicated”. The others are deemed to be “… afraid to be held accountable in their roles and responsibilities as educators”.
What is clear, though, is that the group's hostile attitude towards the other set of teachers confirms the deep division that exists between the groups and the dramatic collapse of interpersonal relationships among teachers.
There can be no doubt that the management of the school has gone awry when a set of teachers feel it necessary to publicly denigrate other teachers and accuse them of carrying a vendetta.