Staff stage sit-in at Ottos Comprehensive School

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The Director of Education said that he has already scheduled meetings with the necessary stakeholders – the security providers and the Teacher’s Union – in a bid to speedily resolve these issues.

By Orville Williams

Staff at the Ottos Comprehensive School (OCS), yesterday, protested a lack of adequate security, after reports of a break-in at the institution located on Mary E Piggott Drive.

After reports of an incident occurring yesterday morning, OBSERVER media visited the school campus and witnessed scores of students heading off-site and a large number of teachers, gathered in an open public area.

While no official information was shared at the time, OBSERVER was reliably informed that the students did not leave the campus on their own accord, but were instead dismissed by the school’s administration. We were also informed that, as a result, the teachers were not actively in the classrooms.

Director of Education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Clare Browne, also visited the school’s campus yesterday and confirmed the reports in a release, saying, “I [can] confirm that the teachers at Ottos Comprehensive are currently sitting in.”

According to Browne, he was contacted by the Education Officer – Secondary Schools, with information that the OCS was once again the target of larceny on Tuesday night. He shared that this break-in was supposedly the third such incident at the school in as many weeks.

Browne said he was then contacted by the union representing the educators at the institution.

“Subsequent to that call, I was called by the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) and they alerted me that the teachers are sitting in until such time as the school is provided with security,” he said.

The teachers are said to be very unsettled with certain conditions at the school, with security being a major issue – and they shared these concerns with Browne during an emergency meeting at the school.

“They mentioned about security personnel, 24-hour security; the school has not been having that, as per union contract. They also talked about the broken fence – there are several breaches in several parts of the fence – and the losses that they have suffered.

“They have also indicated that they are having issues with fleas and stray dogs on the compound, that has been going on for a little bit, and so we are seeking to mobilise the various agencies to assist us in correcting the situations at OCS,” Browne said.

The Director of Education said that he has already scheduled meetings with the necessary stakeholders – the security providers and the Teacher’s Union – in a bid to speedily resolve these issues.

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