Education ministry to investigate strip search of teachers

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The Ministry of Education has promised to investigate the “deeply” disturbing and troubling incident that led to 14 educators at the All Saint Secondary School being strip searched by police.
On Thursday of last week, the educators were still on the compound when lawmen responded to a report made by the school’s music teacher that the $4,500 which she left in her handbag at the staff room was stolen.
Lawmen strip searched the male and female educators and instructed them to squat and cough in an attempt to find money which was not recovered.
Yesterday, Director of Education, Clare Browne in a release to the media stated that he contacted the Acting Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney who indicated he had no knowledge of the incident, but, the top cop promised to launch an investigation.
“I am kind of groping for words because I am deeply disturbed by what I would have heard, it just seems troubling and the Ministry of Education will spare no effort in getting to the bottom of this,” Browne said.
OBSERVER media reached out to the police, the head of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers and Browne after word reached our newsroom about the incident that left the educators feeling violated and humiliated.
While police and A&BUT head, Ashworth Azille confirmed the report was made by the female teacher, Browne was not immediately reachable by phone.
“I would perhaps rather not comment on this at this juncture because I woke up [yesterday] morning to the paper and it was there that I realised that this incident would have occurred, the strip and search incident at the All Saints Secondary School of teachers would have occurred last week Thursday. Upon getting to work I immediately called the principal and he gave me just a quick verbal account of what would have transpired at the close of the school day on Thursday last,” Browne said.
“I have asked him to furnish the Ministry of Education immediately with the report so that we can take it from there. I certainly intend to investigate and get
some legal counsel on what would have transpired and we will certainly go from there.”
Some of the teachers said that they felt violated when the officers, including an inspector of police, carried out the cavity search.
A teacher who was amongst the group that was strip searched said they are outraged by the claim their colleague made, because according to them, the teacher claimed that the money was in her bag, however, she left the compound to reportedly check at her home for the money.
It was only after the music teacher returned to work she reported the matter to police and lawmen responded.

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