The Ministry of Education has announced that it has completed its investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against Bishops’ High School teacher, Coen Jackson.
While not disclosing its findings, in a statement, the Ministry announced that it has called in the Police and has handed over the matter to Police investigators. It offered no other comment in relation to the male teacher.
However, with regards to the HeadMistress of the School who was caught on tape berating female students as “slackers” and being “loose” and firing off at them for not defending the teacher on social media, the Ministry has announced that the investigative team has recommended that she be sanctioned and also made to apologise to the teachers and students of the school.
Additionally, the Ministry announced that it will provide training and support to teachers on how they should deal with children on sexual issues. Additionally, counseling will be provided to students of the school.
The 39-year-old teacher at the centre of the sexual misconduct accusations has denied ever having any sexual relationship with his students. However, he admitted that his current girlfriend is a former student and the girlfriend before her is also a former student of the school. The teacher told a media briefing earlier this week that while that scenario may look bad, his relationships with both young women started after they would have left the school and entered adulthood.
The allegations against Mr. Jackson were brought to light by Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson. He claims that he has statements from a number of former students of the teacher, including one who allegedly claims that she became sexually involved with the teacher just after she reached the age of sixteen.
The teacher has denied that he was involved with any of his students during their school years and said Johnson has attacked him because his ex-girlfriend is now dating Johnson and Johnson may not be too happy that she is also still in contact with him.
FULL STATEMENT FROM MINISTRY OF EDUCATION:
Today, the Ministry of Education concluded the matter pertaining to the Bishops’ High School Headteacher Ms. Winifred Ellis. The Minister of Education Hon. Nicolette Henry convened and met with the committee tasked with the handling of the matter.
The team comprised of the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Mr. Marcel Hutson (Chief and final arbiter), Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Education- Ms. Kelly-Ann Payne-Hercules, Guyana Teachers Union Representative Mr. Lance Baptiste, President of the Bishops’ High School Board Mrs. Ruth Lee, President of The Bishops’ High School Parent Teachers Association (PTA) – Mrs Sondra Lowe, National PTA Co-ordinator- Ms. Nadia Hollingsworth, Co-ordinator of Health and Family Life Education (HFLE)- Ms. Coleen King-Cameron and the two Head Prefects of the Bishops’ High School.
At the consultation, a recording of the Headmistress’ address to the students was presented and the Head Mistress had an opportunity to provide an explanation. Based on the evidence presented and the explanation proffered, the committee found the Headmistress culpable of breaching the regulations under the Education Act 39:01 section 35 “Inappropriate behavior by teachers in school” which is liable to a first warning.
It was recommended that:
1. That the Headmistress be reprimanded
2. An apology be offered to the students and teachers
3. The Ministry of Education will provide training and support to teachers on how to deal with children on sexual issues.
4. Ministry of Education will provide counseling support which was requested by the students.
MOE’s concludes investigation against Mr. Coen Jackson
In the case of the Bishops’ High School teacher, Mr. Coen Jackson, the Ministry of Education Welfare Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection concluded its investigation and handed the matter over to the Guyana Police Force.