Letters — 13 March 2015
Problems at Belmopan Baptist High School

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to share a few urgent matters that need attention at Belmopan Baptist High School. The purpose of this letter is NOT to tarnish the reputation of the school but rather to seek assistance for the students and develop the standard of learning at the institution.

As a young child I always dreamt of becoming a teacher and I also had a passion for teaching. As soon as an opportunity arose, I capitalized on it and took up employment at a small high school, Belmopan Baptist High, which I felt would be an advantage since I am a novice teacher.

Every day I start on a positive note because as soon as I arrive at work, my students make my day by welcoming me and most of them are eager to learn. This is what stands out and motivates me as a teacher.

On the flipside, there are some matters that are occurring at the institution that need to be addressed such as, having students serve detention or suspension during class sessions and lunch break. This practice has been ongoing for the past six months and it is very disheartening because the majority of the students have learning difficulties, and when they are deprived of a few classes, it becomes extremely challenging for them to “catch up.” I do support the notion of discipline, but it should not affect or interfere with a student’s learning.

Another situation is, some students commute on a daily basis and at times they miss their buses or the buses do not stop for them. Whenever students arrive late, they are sanctioned. If they are lucky they are allowed to enter the compound and serve a detention. While those who are unfortunate, are asked to return home. For those of you who know where Belmopan Baptist High school is located, it is out of bounds, with high bushes, and sometimes students have to walk an isolated path back to their homes.

In the past, a few students have been held up on the road. I hope to goodness history will not repeat itself.

The percentage of dropouts has been extremely high. About 10–12% of the school population has either been expelled or dropped out due to frustration, since the beginning of the new school year. Some classes have very small numbers of students, such as 10, 12 and 14, and a few of them are concerned that they might be next on the list to be expelled.

Recently I made an inquiry at the Ministry of Education to find out how many credit hours are required in order for a teacher to be classified as a Full Time. I was informed that the minimum is twenty. At the present, a favorite of the principal has ONLY 16 credit hours and is hired as a Full Time teacher.

These concerns should be addressed by the Baptist school board but unfortunately, the members have turned a “blind eye” to what is transpiring at the school.

I end by quoting the American Negro College: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I do hope those in authority will give attention to students of Belmopan Baptist High School. They are crying out for help.

Sincerely,

A teacher
(Please allow my name to be anonymous in order to protect my job. Also note that I can provide evidence of the numbers of students who have dropped out of school.)

(Ed. NOTE: The principal has the right to reply to the concerns raised above.)

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