Friday, March 1, 2024

Canteen closure causes chaos


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Millinese Howell has closed her canteen at St Leonard’s Boys’ School, citing both lack  of respect for her,  and low sales.However her services were apparently missed by some boys who assembled at the school gate, saying they were hungry.Other boys were seen purchasing snacks  from vendors outside  the compound.Howell who closed shop on Wednesday evening told WEEKEND NATION in a telephone interview yesterday: “For a long time, sales were going down because of the vendors selling outside the gate, as well as another vendor who sells  on the compound. “He was supposed  to only sell sno-cones,  but he sold everything except food. Because of this I could not maintain my staff.”Howell said the final straw came on Wednesday around 8:15 a.m  when a child told her he had no breakfast and was hungry.“I went inside to get him some chicken, but when I came back, he was gone and the principal [Joseph King] was there,” Howell said.“I asked him where he [the principal] was when there was all the bullying at lunch time and that it was getting out of hand, but he ignored me. Truthfully, I started to cry,” she added.“He is running away hungry children. I couldn’t take it any more.”When a WEEKEND NATION team arrived around 11 a.m yesterday, students at the gate said they were not being allowed off the compound to get food. However, some of them were seen purchasing snacks and drinks from the nearby vendors.A security officer at the school said King was not seeing anyone. During a subsequent call to the school, it was said neither King nor acting deputy principal Karl Rawlins was  on the premises.Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Gittens, when reached by the WEEKEND NATION, said it was the first time she was hearing about the matter and that she would contact the principal on it.During a subsequent call, Gittens said: “Things were put into place where the students were allowed to buy food from the vendors, things like pizza, which they are accustomed buying.School was closed early today at around 12:45 p.m and hopefully by Tuesday the situation will  be addressed. “In the meantime, school will be closed half day tomorrow [today] and the students are advised to bring a snack,” she said.Gittens said the circumstances were abnormal and it was “impossible” for any school to “turn around” a canteen owner within 24 hours. She added that initial plans “fell through”. (CA)


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