Monday 13 July, 2020

ISSA says it can't intervene in Calabar's alleged bust-up

Christopher Taylor (2nd left) poses with teammates after competing at the Corporate Area Championship on March 9, 2019 at the National Stadium.

Christopher Taylor (2nd left) poses with teammates after competing at the Corporate Area Championship on March 9, 2019 at the National Stadium.

The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), has said that it is no position to intervene in the dispute between a teacher at Calabar High School and two student-athletes who are alleged to have assaulted him.

Head of the school’s physics department, Sanjaye Shaw, has told the media he was assaulted by Calabar track stars, Christopher Taylor and De'Jour Russell.

Taylor allegedly draped him while Russel reportedly knocked his phone from his hand and stomped on it. The students have denied the allegations and the school has said video evidence promised by Shaw has not been forthcoming.

The dispute stemmed from an attempt by Shaw to borrow excess cots from the track team for boys who were part of a physics camp on the same weekend. He was reportedly verbally assaulted by a coach who he said called him a "dumb ass" and Taylor and other boys went to the physics lab, ostensibly to retrieve cots belonging to the track team when the alleged incident happened. 

The school has said it "strongly reprimanded" them for entering the physics lab.

Now ISSA, which stages its biggest showpiece event - the annual Boys' and Girls' Championships from this Tuesday to Saturday inside the National Stadium in Kingston, was asked to intervene.

But, ISSA, which is made up of principals of secondary schools said in a statement on Monday that while it is troubled by the reports and while said reports are of deep concern to the organization, it has no jurisdiction in the matter.

“As principals, we are troubled by a number of allegations that are being made by the various parties. We are concerned that actions of the nature being described are not in keeping with our expectations that schools should be a place of learning where there is utmost respect for authority and there is mutual respect and appreciation for the role of each member of the school community.” ISSA said.

ISSA acknowledged that there have been calls from various quarters for it to take action against the athletes. However, that will not be forthcoming.

“While we understand the great level of unease amongst members of the public, ISSA must be respectful of due process. The matter is an internal (to Calabar) issue which must be resolved by Calabar under the dictates of its own school rules as well as the stipulations of the relevant sections of the Education Act (1980),” said the ISSA statement.

It continued that: “ISSA currently has no jurisdiction over the general discipline of students outside of our competitions but rely on the good governance of our member schools to ensure that students who participate in our competitions not only meet our eligibility rules but serve as good ambassadors for our respective competitions.”

ISSA expressed the hope that the matter will be resolved quickly in the best interest of all parties concerned.

In a statement on the weekend, acting principal at Calabar, Calvin Rowe launched a broadside against Shaw. He suggested the teacher was trying to dictate the type of discipline that should be meted out to the boys. He also accused Shaw of not providing video evidence of the December 15 incident despite it being requested on several occasions. And Rowe noted that the boys denied assaulting Shaw although one did admit to damaging his phone.

Shaw had taken issue with the fact that Taylor was allowed to attend school and train and also participate in a track meet while supposedly on suspension that was handed down some three months after the incident. According to Rowe, the school took the decision to allow Taylor access to its facilities and to continue working on his SBAs as the type of discipline meted out is not the prerogative of Shaw.

Shaw has delayed pressing charges against Taylor who he said draped him up although the police turned up at the school on the day of the incident. Taylor has denied assaulting the teacher who said he only wants Taylor to be properly suspended and for him not to participate in the Boys’ and Girls’ Championship.

 Calabar are the seven-time defending champions and the athletes in question are expected to contribute significantly towards them retaining the Mortimer Geddes Trophy.

GraceKennedy is the title sponsors of the Boys' and Girls' Championships.

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