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Sunday, April 02, 2006 

Sunday, April 02, 2006

BUT: Ministry must offer more for problem kids

Teachers are ill-equipped to handle students with behavioural problems of the kind that led to a walkout at CedarBridge last Friday, according to the teachers union. Michael Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, told the Bermuda Sun this week the Education Ministry needs to expand its programme for disruptive students.

He said the behaviour some students are exhibiting nowadays has to be managed in a certain way and the average classroom teacher is just not trained for that. He made his comments in the wake of an incident last week in which a 14-year-old CedarBridge student hurled a sexually offensive insult at a teacher.

Teachers walked out on Friday in protest over the way the Education Ministry handled the matter. The ministry had overruled the student’s suspension, which allowed him back into the class pending an appeal. The student is now believed to be serving an in-school suspension, following the appeal, and teachers aren’t happy about that either.

Mr. Charles said teachers are not strangers to bad behaviour — they have to deal with it on a daily basis. And while there is a special school, known as Tech and located in Devonshire, for out of control students, programmes need to be expanded to handle more students than the approximately 14 students they currently have.

Efforts to get a response from the Education Minister were unsuccessful yesterday. One CedarBridge teacher, who spoke to the Bermuda Sun on the condition of anonymity, said a lot of student behaviour problems were “born out of sheer anger and frustration from not having their needs met.”Another teacher said an example of what might cause frustration would be requiring a student to take an intermediate Spanish class despite being unable to read basic English.

Copyright 2006, Bermuda Sun Ltd.

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