Father against mother homeschooling son
The father of 13-year-old Shaquille Bryan is denying that his son would be better off being homeschooled.
Neville Boucher was referring to a story which appeared on page 12 of the October 8 Daily Nation, in which Shaquille’s mother Betty Bryan was appealing to the Ministry of Education to allow her to continue homeschooling her son.
“The story is misleading to the public and unfair to the Ministry of Education. In the paper she stated [there was] an incident where the child was struck in his head and he had a concussion and was bleeding from his nose and had to be rushed to the [Queen Elizabeth] hospital; that is untrue. He had no physical marks or injuries from being hit by a rock. Anytime a child is hit by a rock, enough to give him a ‘goofy’ and blood come from his head, there has to be an external mark,” he said.
“Shaquille is a slow learner, and was taken out of three primary schools by his mother . . . . When he returns to school, he is not placed in a lower level where he stopped learning; he’s placed in an above level, making it difficult for him to be on the same level as the children in the class,” he charged.
Boucher added that his son had been placed at St George Secondary, and when the work became too intense, Bryan applied for homeschooling through the African Heritage Foundation.
Permission was granted, Boucher said, and several meetings were called at the ministry for both parents to attend. However, he said, Bryan never attended.
“[Ministry officials] went to the house to have visits with the mother and on two occasions they were denied entry. On the third, when they came and saw the work being done, it was not satisfactory to their level, so they summoned me and her to several meetings, of which she refused to come,” he said.
Since then, homeschooling had been denied and Shaquille mandated to attend classes at New Horizon Academy.
“I see Shaquille almost every day, and me and my girlfriend go through work with him. My girlfriend does remedial work to help him, because at 13 he can’t read and write,” Boucher said.
However, Bryan was adamant that homeschooling was better for her son.
“Shaquille was bullied at St George and his spectacles were damaged. Yes, I get permission the first year to homeschool, and I still got permission. Right now they ain’t stop it. Shaquille is seeing a psychologist for no reason – and all this is the father doing. At the end of the day Shaquille is still being homeschooled,” she said.
She added the ministry was awaiting a report from the psychologist to make a final decision.
“I told the woman I don’t know where that school [New Horizons] is, I never heard anything about it and my child is not coming. He goes to the African Heritage Foundation,” she declared.
Efforts to reach ministry officials for comment were unsuccessful.