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City of Banjul
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Principal explains Marina school closure

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By Olimatou Coker

The Principal of Marina International School, William Arthur has said the school is currently closed for safety reasons until at least Wednesday when matters will be assessed again.
But he also added that the closure could last until 18 March when a court case emanating from his decision not to end the expulsion of a 13-year-old student would come up.
The principal is being taken to court for contempt of court after he refused to comply with a court injunction restraining him from continuing to expel a 13-year-old student.

Explaining his side of the story, the principal said sometime in February the student concern, who is confirmed to be 13 years of age, came to a school event with a car and started spinning the car in a very dangerous game, putting fellow students at great risk.
“Acting on the school rules and because of the gravity of the matter, example the risks posed to lives, the school decided to expel him with deadline for an appeal.
A woman, who identified herself as the mother did hand in an appeal on the deadline after creating a scene in the school.

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“I photocopied the appeal and passed the original to the board. However the woman said in the appeal that her child could not even drive a car. So I took it that we are not even talking about the same person. The following day a lawyer visited me with what he said was a court injunction for me stop the expulsion which I could not do because I have never in my long career of administering private schools ever seen a school disciplinary matter become a matter of the judiciary,” the principal said.
But according to him, the trouble ballooned on Friday when again a man arrived at the school introducing himself as a bailiff from The Sheriff’s Division asking him to end the expulsion of the child.

“I refused and he came back with a note attached to the same document said to be written by a judge. Again I could not get it and refused to do it. Then immediately after a policeman, said to be the orderly of the judge, appeared in the school to force me to go with them to court. The sight of the police and the tension they created agitated the students who protested vehemently against any attempt to take me away. In the end I had to appeal to the children to calm down and I was whisked to court where I was told that I am charged with contempt of court and I am granted bail and one condition of that bail is for me to end the expulsion of the child. But while I was away and after the commotion at the School, the teaching staff held an emergency meeting and decided that they will not teach in the school when that child is admitted back into the school. So this naturally raised a supervision issue so we had to close the school to avoid any future trouble while I communicate to the parents of all students about the matter. So the school is closed from yesterday Monday to Wednesday but it could even be longer because they say the case will come up on March 18,” Mr Arthur said.

He said he could not understand how a matter strictly dealing with a private school dispensary matter could suddenly become of monumental interest to a judge so as to warrant such a huge controversy.
“This is where matters stand. We closed the school for the safety of students and all in the school,” he concluded.

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