This morning tensions ran high at Paraiso Government School in the Corozal District as a group of parents gathered in front of the school in solidarity of the National School Shut-down organized by BelizeCan Patriots who want government to freeze the National Gender Policy 2013 until further consultation. But the situation got out of hand when a few parents tried to take their children out of class and police was called in. Reporter Victor Castillo has the story.
Victor Castillo – Reporting
Classes at Paraiso Government School were expected to run as per normal today and they did, at least until around 9:00 in the morning. As the buzzer rang and students prepared for their first lesson, a group of parents concerned about the National Gender Policy 2013, gathered outside the school’s compound to learn more about the national school shutdown organized by BelizeCan Patriots.
After listening to a presentation made by President of BelizeCan Patriots, Patrick Menzies, four parents decided to take their children out of class. And this is where the situation got out of hand.
We understand that as one of the parents intended to take her two children out of class, the management of the school reported the matter to police who were immediately dispatched to the area.
“Me sacaron y no me dieron el derecho de sacar a mis hijos de la escuela el día de hoy me dieron a demostrar que como mama no tengo derecho, solo porque no estoy de acuerdo con la ley que quieren implementar el gobierno y me dijeron que yo no puedo sacar a mis hijos y hasta un policía me tomo mis datos, todos mis datos personales y me dijeron que me van arrestar, yo no ofendí a nadie simplemente dije que yo no quiero que mis hijos vengan a la escuela porque voy a poyar para que no se lleve a cabo esta ley y yo no siento justo que me haiga quitado este derecho el día de hoy, y el ministerio de educación a mí me dijo que me pueden arrestar por no traer a mis hijos a la escuela porque estoy yendo a contra la ley de la educación de mis hijos si lo puedo entender que lo afectaría en su educación pero no quiero que se lleve a cabo esta ley que el gobierno quiere implementar y por eso es que yo estaba sacando a mis hijos de la escuela y no dejaron que yo los sacara el día de hoy.”
Deputy O.C – Daniel Arzu
“We were called in, basically when we arrived here we saw about a dozen or more parents apparently they wanted to enter the school compound to get their children out while classes in session and we are saying no to that because the teachers are the guardians while the children are inside the classroom so we were not in a apposition to allow the parents to go inside the classroom to takeout their children because the class session was in progress and for us that was no, no.”
Reports are that the woman was told by police that once classes have commenced the child cannot be taken out of school, even by his or her parent. According to Menzies there is no such law.
Patrick Menzies - President of BelizeCan Patriots
“What was shared? Is that the parents want the kids inside the compound are not authorized to go back into the compound and take their kids out that is what was shared with the police department. I ended up calling Belmopan instead and of course it was clarified that there is no law that says that a parent cannot take their kids back out of school ones they are in school so this is a up and down situation however we know and recognize that the police Corozal has been great and trying to just do their jobs and so especial the commander we respect him highly, however, we do disagree with some of the ways that things are being done and again I think that the government really needs to pay attention, they don’t want the maid mess up and mess with one parent anywhere in the country, I am warning the government do not mess with one parent because the other parents, this is being pushed by other parents, not BelizeCan, not us but the parents will not sit idly by and allow that to happen so if we want problems in Belize I challenge you government do not touch any parent with their kids and I her rumor that for charging parents for taking kids out of school, try it and you will see what will happen nationwide, es la volundad del pueblo que forma la base del gobierno en una sociedad democratica, gobierno ten cuidado te esta metiendo con gente equivocada, government you are messing with the wrong people, don’t mess with the parents and their kdis,”
While the woman was not detained by police and the situation was resolved by the time students were dismissed for lunch, there are parents who are adamant to see the retraction of the Gender Policy even if it means having to support a national school shut-down.
“Bueno realmente me encuentro aquí porque soy madre de tres niñas y los que está pasando con los que quieren implementar yo no estoy de acuerdo en nada y hay muchos padres que nos están explicando y no podemos estar de acuerdo con lo que está pasando porque nosotros como padres tenemos el derecho de corregir a nuestras hijas y ya con esto que pase ya nos van a quitar totalmente el derecho y el respeto de nosotros como mama con nuestras hijas y en lo que va a ver de los homosexuales ha existido por anos pero ya explicárselos a un niño de escuela no estamos de acuerdo y queremos que llegue la vos a Belmopán y que lo tomen en consideración porque queremos que haiga un Belice fuera de corrupción.”
A meeting with pastors and concerned citizens is scheduled for tomorrow night at 7:00pm at the Central Park in Corozal Town. The main topic of discussion will be the Gender Policy.
All our efforts to get an interview with the management of Paraiso Government School proved futile. We understand that the parent who tried to take her children out of class works at the school.
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