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Union wants teachers restored if no sex abuse charges to be filed

Bahamas Union of Teachers(BUT)president Belinda Wilson yesterday called for the return to the classroom of 43 teachers if no formal charges related to sexual misconduct are to be laid against them.

She said they have been placed on administrative leave by the Ministry of Education over the past three to five years.

Wilson added that these teachers have been pulled from their regular duties and they are receiving full salaries for doing nothing.

“I would have written to the ministry. I would have said to them in person if there are no charges brought against our members then they need to be placed in the classroom and they need to get to work,”she said at a news conference at the union’s Bethel Avenue headquarters.

“If there are concerns, then let’s deal with the concerns expediently. But we have persons who are receiving money from the public purse and are home.”

Wilson said sexual allegations were made against the 43 teachers–90 percent of whom are reportedly Bahamian.

When contacted yesterday, Director of Education Lionel Sands said their records show that only 31 teachers had allegations of sexual impropriety leveled against them.

Out of the 31, Sands said 14 were terminated, four retired, four are on administrative leave and the remaining were interdicted.

“Once we have the completed investigation from the police, and of course once we have gotten all of the legal dealings, then we determine whether…they should be placed before the public service for their consideration with respect to whether there(were)any breeches of public service regulations as teachers,”Sands said.

Once the Department of Public Service determines there were no breaches to the public service rules, Sands said the teachers would return to the classroom.

“The others who were interdicted, we have to wait until the court cases are completed,”he said.

The four teachers who are on administrative leave are still collecting full salaries.

“I can’t send them back into school until the investigations are complete. And certainly the ones who have(been)terminated, there is nothing I can say about those and certainly I can’t say much about those who have been interdicted,”Sands said.

Wilson stressed that every accusation against a teacher cannot just be accepted.

“We would have found that some allegations would have been made falsely,”she said.

In those instances, Wilson said no example was made of the students who reported the false allegations.

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