304 pupils suspended over demos

ST ALBERT’S Secondary School in Centenary recently suspended 304 pupils who walked 52km to Mt Darwin demonstrating against the expulsion of 23 others.


By yesterday some of the pupils had returned to the school. Sources within the school said the 23 pupils had been expelled without the approval of the regional education office, as required by the law.


The pupils were expelled following violent demands for a disco to play. They had paid money for the disco in advance, but it got to the school when it was time for the pupils to retire to bed.


The school headmistress allowed the disco to play into the early hours of Sunday September 18.


Sources alleged that school-leavers and other outsiders who had been allowed to attend the disco were partly to blame for the damage which left some windows shattered.


Most of the suspended pupils are in Forms Two and Three with a few Form Ones. St Albert’s, which offers both day and boarding facilities, has a total of 625 pupils.


Some of the concerns by the pupils were that there were too few text books for A-level Geography and Divinity pupils, alleged victimisation by some teachers who borrowed money from pupils, the quality and quantity of food and too few exercise books for A-level pupils, who felt they should be given more than the other forms.


Sources also said the pupils were worried about the number of teachers going out with female pupils. The headmistress of the school, Sister Romano Donato, sent circulars to the parents of the affected pupils.


The circular required the pupils to write a report to the school indicating the reasons for taking part in an “illegal strike”.


Efforts to get comments from the regional office and the Ministry of Education and Culture were fruitless. HERALD


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