School board to get report by May 2 re girls expelled for kissing Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The personnel committee of the board of St James High School has been mandated to undertake an investigation into the circumstances under which two schoolgirls were expelled from the institution in January.

The two were expelled by the principal for kissing, reportedly without due process being followed, and without the input of the school’s board.

At the same time, human rights group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), which is supporting the families of the expelled students, want steps to be taken to get one of them who has been at home since the expulsion, to be immediately enrolled in an institution.

The other student has been enrolled in a private institution for the past month.

The two girls were expelled from school after one of them posted a video of them being intimate, on her WhatsApp account. The school’s board met on Thursday to discuss the matter and Loop News understands that the personnel committee was tasked with probing the matter and reporting back to the board within a week.

In its news release Thursday, JFJ argued that if media reports on the incident are true, it finds no merit in the grounds used for sanctioning the students.

“What it raised was the need for ongoing age-appropriate comprehensive sexual education for students without shame and moral judgment.

“Secondly, the decision to bar the students from school, effectively expelling them, breached their right to education as well as the fundamental principles of due process as outlined in the Constitution of Jamaica,” said JFJ.

It added that the Education Regulations of 1980, which were effected pursuant to Section 43 of the Education Act, outlines the framework regarding how expulsion in schools are to be done.

“Reports that the principal’s decision was reportedly based on moral judgement rather than established guidelines is of grave concern and ought to be condemned. By circumventing the board, despite the education regulations, there was no transparent consultative decision-making process and the students were also denied their right to appeal any disciplinary actions imposed,” JFJ remarked.

The lobby group is pleading with the leadership of the Ministry of Education to address the situation with a sense of urgency.

Said JFJ: “While we understand an investigation is ongoing and the ministry awaits a report from the institution, it is imperative that the child who is unable to enrol in school as a result of this incident is assisted expeditiously to mitigate their disenfranchisement”.