Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Education Minister justifies move to house students near Foxy’s Bar

Education Minister justifies move to house students near Foxy’s Bar

Suggestions that parents were not on board with the Education Ministry’s move to house Jost Van Dyke Primary School students near the Foxy’s Bar have been roundly refuted by Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley.

Addressing the issue on the VIP’s Let’s Talk radio show last evening, the Education Minister said all of the feedback he received at a meeting he attended indicated everyone was on board with the move.

Dr Wheatley explained that the move became necessary after it was determined that the current school structure was not fit for purpose; largely due to incessant mould infestations.

He said most persons declined to choose virtual learning as an alternative because they were not having a great deal of success with the online initiative.

According to Dr Wheatley, this was primarily because parents were working and it was very difficult for them to accommodate their children while doing so.

“So the principal and the teacher came up with a wonderful idea of finding a different location and this location is – they considered many different places but they ended up coming up with what was considered the best solution, which was going on top of an area of Foxy’s that’s a huge open space,” he explained.

“This was discussed with teachers and parents. The principal had a meeting and everyone found it to be a favourable situation,” Dr Wheatley said.

Misleading media reports

Making comments about a recent media interview with some parents, the Education Minister suggested that this interview was misleading since some persons may not have been present when the alternative school location was being shown.

“So perhaps maybe [they] didn’t understand what the situation was at the establishment, and gave some very misleading information in their broadcast,“ Dr Wheatley stated.

According to Dr Education Minister, the broadcast mentioned that the children were required to share bathroom space with the patrons of the Foxy’s bar establishment. But he said this was far from the truth.

“I went there [yesterday], and the students have their own dedicated restrooms for both male and female, quite clean facilities and not interacting with any of the patrons at Foxy’s,” he explained.

“Based on the media reports, I expected to find Mardi Gras happening there at Foxy’s,” Dr. Wheatley said.

The Education Minister said there were barely any patrons or tourists at the time he visited.

“The few patrons I saw were quite far away because Foxy’s has a bar area that is far off from where the restaurant is,” the Education Minister said. “We went there and we had a meeting with the teachers and we had a meeting with parents. Parents were invited to the meeting with myself and the Chief Education Officer, the Deputy Chief Education Officer and the Education Officer responsible for governance and 100 percent of the persons who gave feedback – including teachers and parents – said they were quite pleased with the environment there,” he related.

“This is all very contrary to the reports that we received at this one particular media house, which I must admit, has been one of the main culprits in spreading misinformation and I would certainly ask for them to refrain from that type of reporting and to become a lover the truth, and to spread the truth,” he added.


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