Step in, PM

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The African Heritage Foundation (AHF) is pleading with Prime Minister Mia Mottley to intervene in a case where a child was recently denied homeschooling and was placed into the custody of his father.

President of the AHF Paul Rock is making the appeal, pointing out that since the removal of the boy from homeschooling, his education could become “further retarded”.

“The Ministry of Education needs to be investigated. Not only because of this case. A meeting with the Prime Minister or the Permanent Secretary is needed,” he said.

Rock said it was unfortunate that a court would grant custody of the child to the father although there was an older son who also lived with the mother and there was no issue before.

“The mother lost custody of her son and as such, the boy now attends New Horizon Academy. The AHF is of the opinion that the boy will be further retarded by all that has transpired. The mother has reported that her son is threatening to run away,” said Rock.

The issue first surfaced in 2017 when the mother of the child went to the AHF for assistance with teaching her son because he was being severely physically bullied at a state secondary school.

After successfully helping the mother to apply to the Ministry of Education for homeschooling, classes began at the Two Mile Hill, St Michael AHF location.

However, that did not last as the Ministry of Education informed the mother last year that the permission to homeschool was revoked.

This had drawn the ire of the AHF, who insisted that the mother still send her son to classes at the AHF for at least English Language and Mathematics.

“Please note that the boy was 12 at the time when this action to homeschool was taken and he could not read ‘I am going to the bus stop’. He did not know words such as ‘there, up, the, you’. How did he pass for a secondary school?” said Rock.

Rock said two weeks ago the mother was informed “through her lawyer” that the father had received custody of the child.

However, the upset mother said her son “don’t want to go and he don’t want to go to any other school”, although she encouraged him “to be brave”.

“He told me he is going to run away, I just don’t want him to get hurt,” said the worried mother.

Questioning why the child was removed from the mother’s care and sent to the New Horizon Academy, Rock said during several meetings officials did indicate they “had no doubt that the AHF was “achieving success” with the children in its care.

“The boy, while still at the AHF, said he wanted to be with his mother and did not want to leave the AHFs homeschooling service,” Rock said, adding that “when he left the AHF he was mastering his consonant blends and phonic construction of words and he is now reading and doing word searches”.

Rock also expressed concern that the mother had “no documentation” to show any form of visitation rights.

He described the situation as sad and very detrimental to the overall development and wellbeing of the child.

“Homeschooling should be a family decision. Cases such as this should never be allowed to happen. While the father and the ministry of education feel justified and vindicated in their accomplishment, a little boy is suffering,” said Rock. 

The post Step in, PM appeared first on Barbados Today.

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