Teachers stripped search

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Teachers at the All Saints Secondary School said they were violated by police when over a dozen of them were stripped searched after a colleague reported to police that over the $4,500 went missing from her bag.
OBSERVER media was told that last week Thursday, a female teacher called police after she claimed the money she left in her bag in the staff room was missing.
When lawmen arrived at the school after classes had been dismissed for the day at 1:30 p.m., 14 teachers, who were still at work were stripped searched by a group of police officers. The educators said one of the responding officers was an inspector of police.
“Man and woman had to remove every piece of clothing; panty and bra and we were made to squat and cough in front of strangers. It was humiliating and we feel like our civil decency was violated by the police and the woman who orchestrated this chain of events,” one of the teachers told OBSERVER media yesterday.
A teacher who was amongst the group of educators who were strip searched said they are outraged by the claim their colleague made specifically because according to them, although she reported it was stolen at school, she still went home to check for the money.
It was only after the woman returned to work she reported the matter to the police and lawmen responded.
“The claim was that the money was stolen at work, but the teacher left the compound to check to see if the money was there [at home] and then come back to work to call the police. Who is not to say she lied about even having the money in the first place,” the irate educator told our newsroom yesterday.
The teacher claimed that the educators who were searched were not aware that they could refuse the search from the police officers who were not armed with search warrants.
Police public relations officer, Inspector Lester Bagot confirmed to OBSERVER media that a female teacher from the All Saints Secondary School reported that an undisclosed sum of money went missing from her bag.
While he did not know the nature of the police’s response to the report, Bagot said proper police protocol dictates that officers would be dispatched to the school to make inquiries.
The educators said they intend to put their outrage in writing to the Ministry of Education because they are not satisfied with the response of the school’s principal.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT), Ashworth Azille said yesterday that the matter was brought to the attention of the union, however, he is awaiting the formal complaint from the teachers before making any public pronouncements on the matter.
OBSERVER media reached out to the Director of Education, Clare Browne and up to press time calls remained unanswered and messages were not returned.

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