Cat Island parents declare war on District Supt.
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
While the rest of the country is battling the coronavirus, parents on Cat Island have declared war against District Superintendent of Education Jerome Forbes, organizing a series of protests and printing “Forbes gatta go” t-shirts.
Chanting “Safety first, education always”, parents and students demonstrated outside of the school while standing six feet apart from each other.
They plan to protest once again this week.
Parents claim they have lost confidence in Forbes, whom they accused of bungling the amalgamation of schools on the northern part of Cat Island.
“Forbes is now the Superintendent in charge of too many districts, having replaced at least two other areas that had their own Superintendents of schools,” explained one parent.
“Therefore, the problems and concerns that now exist are not receiving the attention that they deserve and the PTA is of the view that they have lost confidence in Mr. Forbes and want him gone.”
Among their concerns are students’ inability to access the virtual learning platform, a burnt out water pump, lack of space for social distancing and insufficient bathrooms at the designated school as well as the decision to place the 95 children in the North in what parents feel is an “unsafe environment”, namely Arthur’s Town Comprehensive School.
Parents argue the school is in no condition to accommodate students and suggested they learn at Orange Creek Primary school instead.
However, Forbes hit back at the parents, accusing them of spreading mistruths and encouraging their children to disrespect him.
The district superintendent claims that the children were unable to access the virtual platform because their classes weren’t scheduled to begin until the following week and they attempted to log on during orientation week.
“ I don't understand why students are being taught to show disrespect to authority. I am their District Superintendent. If the parents want to get personal, go ahead. But don't teach it to the children. It is me today but it can be the police, a pastor or even their parents tomorrow. That's wrong,” said Forbes.
As for the decision to bring students of the various schools together, Forbes said,”I agree that amalgamation is a necessary but painful experience. North Cat Island has 95 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. To maximize our teacher and other resources, we had to consolidate.”
“All of the students can be accommodated on one campus. In times of crisis, people must work together and not fight at every turn,” Forbes wrote.
However, parents claim the only painful part of the amalgamation process is that Forbes refuses to work with them.
“We have accepted the amalgamation,” one parent wrote.
“We have said to you repeatedly for weeks the Arthur's Town Comprehensive School is not ready to accept our students because of the issues already articulated. You, Sir, have refused to work with us. You have been most unreasonable Sir and refuse to compromise.”
“We are not destroying education in North Cat Island, Sir, you are!”
“You don't care about us, therefore we call on your superiors to remove you.”