Dr. Peter Phillips
The Parliamentary Opposition wants a review of the education code of regulations to provide more protection to teachers.
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said there is a problem in many schools where discipline is concerned.
He said the ministry should find ways to address the situation with amendments to the education code.
"We can't transfer willy nilly the authority that should be exercised by the teacher to people who are not in the classroom, not at the school. And so I think that we should, as we look at the reform of the educational code, we should examine how we do that. Obviously, there have to be protections against abuse by particular teachers, there has to be a review procedure; but first of all, we have to respect the teacher. Too many of our teachers are women and they come under abuse day after day after day in the classroom," he lamented.
Dr. Phillips said steps should also be taken to encourage discipline in the classroom and to strengthen the authority and powers of teachers.
"Once the ministry or the regional authorities undercut the respect for the teacher and the authority of the teacher then parents and the general community will also lower their regard for the teacher," he reasoned.
Dr. Phillips was speaking with RJR News during a tour of western St. Thomas on Friday.
His comment follows a recent incident at the Pembroke Hall High School in which a teacher was captured on video threatening to harm a student.
There have been reports that the teacher's tirade stemmed from rampant indiscipline at the school.
Dr. Phillips believes national effort is needed to transform the education system.
He said greater focus should also be placed on providing adequate resources to schools, such as textbooks, chairs, desks, and other infrastructure.