A second-year student at Antigua State College (ASC) is making an impassioned plea for the campus’s recently suspended acting principal, Na-Ajele Williams-Buffonge, to be returned to her post immediately.
The female student, who wished not to be named, called Observer on Thursday and was near tears as she shared how much Williams-Buffonge means to her and her peers at the Golden Grove campus.
“We want back our voice. We want back our light. We want back Mrs Buffonge,” the student insisted.
The students reportedly found out that their principal had been placed on leave through the media.
Williams-Buffonge, who was appointed to act in the position on December 18, was sent on forced administrative leave on Monday, for apparent insubordination to Minister of Education, Michael Browne.
And, according to reports reaching Observer, the acting principal and the education minister have often had loud and forceful exchanges.
Despite her short stint in the role, “Mrs Buffonge has been our rock … she listens to us”, the caller said.
“When you have a principal that listens to you and hears your opinion on different matters, it is something that is really exceptional and something that the students really take to heart,” she continued. “It really put a toll on us because, if we needed something done, Mrs Buffonge was always the one to do everything in her power to get it done.”
Before her appointment as acting principal, Williams-Buffonge was the college’s literary professor for many years and later headed the Liberal Arts Department.
In addition to playing the lead role in launching numerous clubs on the campus, Williams-Buffonge also chaired ASC’s debate team, which is currently participating in the 48th Leeward Islands Debating Competition in Montserrat.
“The debaters are not taking it well. Hearing that Mrs Buffonge is on leave is not settling well. Mrs Buffonge was their cheerleader. She did everything for that team. She was our mother… our parent at school,” the second-year student said.
When asked what she thought of the disciplinary action taken against the principal, the student responded, “maybe it was because she is a woman; Mrs Buffonge is strong-willed and she does not take anything lightly.”
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