Thu | Oct 21, 2021

Penwood senior teacher loses bid to quash dismissal

Published:Thursday | September 23, 2021 | 4:56 PM
Stephenson, who was employed to the school in 2004, was fired by the board in March 2017 because of neglect of duty. He was dismissed for his failure to submit the School Based Assessment (SBA) samples for several subjects to the Caribbean Examinations Council in 2016. - File photo.

Former Penwood High School senior teacher Christopher Stephenson has lost his legal battle to quash his dismissal by the school board.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday refused the application and granted legal costs to the respondents, who were the school's Board of Management and the Teachers Appeal Tribunal.

Supreme Court judge Justice Carol Barnaby had in June dismissed Stephenson's application for leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to quash the board's decision to fire him.

Stephenson then filed an application in the Court of Appeal.

Stephenson, who was employed to the school in 2004, was fired by the board in March 2017 because of neglect of duty.

He was fired for his failure to submit the School Based Assessment (SBA) samples for several subjects to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in 2016.

He was selected as the school's coordinator and had the responsibility to submit the SBA samples.

When CXC results were published in August 2016, students and their parents converged on the school to ask why the samples were not submitted.

The board referred the matter to the school's personnel committee, which had a meeting in November 2016 and ruled that Stephenson should answer to a charge of neglect of duty.

A hearing was held by the school board in December 2016 and a decision was taken that Stephenson should be dismissed.

He appealed to the Teachers Appeal Tribunal contending that several breaches took place during the hearing and also claimed that the punishment was excessive.

The tribunal found that it had no basis to disturb the sanction. 

The Court of Appeal upheld legal arguments from attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman, who represented the school board, and attorney-at-law Tamara Dickens from the Attorney General's Chambers, who represented the tribunal, that Stephenson did not show that the school board or the personnel committee committed any jurisdictional errors.

- Barbara Gayle

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