OCHO RIOS, St Ann (CONTROVERSY): Education Minister Ronald Thwaites yesterday won support from the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), even as residents in the St Ann community protested the action, scolding over Prickly Pole events

Friday, September 25, 2015
OCHO RIOS, St Ann -- The sacking Wednesday of the Prickly Pole Primary School board chair by Education Minister Ronald Thwaites yesterday won support from the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), even as residents in the St Ann community protested the action.
Hanna… was a target of the protesters. At right: THWAITES…
 accused of acting ‘expeditiously’ to dismiss Robb-Oddman
"We wish to remind the minister of education and the National Council on Education of the critical role school boards play in the education system. Therefore, persons so appointed should have the education of the nation's children as their sole agenda," the JTA said in a statement.
Thwaites revoked Vinnette Robb-Oddman's appointment after it emerged that she helped to organise a protest in Claremont last Friday which included students from the school.
That protest was staged, the residents said, to demand an answer from Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna about money that was allegedly allocated for the paving of the schoolyard.
But the protest drew national attention after the death of 11-year-old Prickly Pole Primary student Akella Lewis, who was initially reported as being a part of the protest. However, the child's mother has denied this.
The child, who had fainted on previous occasions, reportedly fainted on the school grounds and was taken to a doctor in Alexandria, where she died.
Three days after the incident, the Child Development Agency (CDA) reported that its investigation showed that 19 children from the school were transported by buses to participate in the demonstration.
The CDA said that when the buses first arrived at Prickly Pole Primary, school personnel did not allow the children to leave in the first instance.
The buses, the CDA said further, left empty but later returned with parents and relatives of the children and also included Robb-Oddman. more

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