Tuesday, 10 July 2012 02:30
By Dr Hensworth W C Jonas, GCH, BA, MA, DPTh, DMin
Antigua St John's - The ongoing saga surrounding five-year-old Kendall Samuel and his lost place at the Baptist Academy of Antigua has taken a bizarre turn.
Principal of the Baptist Academy of Antigua Dr. Hensworth Jonas has sought to answer questions relating to his institution’s refusal to renew the contractual relationship governing young Kendall Samuel’s relationship with the school.
In a lengthy missive issued to Caribarena.com, Dr. Jonas has implied that the Baptist Academy’s refusal to re-admit the five-year-old into their educational program had nothing to do with the child’s academic standing, personal conduct or even financial status.
Instead, the principal’s statement suggests that the decision to deny young Kendall Samuel a place in the academy was triggered solely by perceived shortcomings on the part of his parents.
Dr. Jonas’ release suggests that alleged “insolence” on the part of the child’s father was the critical factor behind the action taken by the school.
The full text of Dr. Hensworth Jonas’ response to Caribarena.com and to the parents of five-year-old Kendall Samuel follows:
BAPTIST ACADEMY ANSWERS KENDALL SAMUELS, et al
I was abroad at a conference when I learned that our school was in the media. I write to clarify the matter that Kendall Samuels has placed in the media concerning the Baptist Academy of Antigua and his child. However, I must recommend that you and your readers seriously consider Proverbs 18:17. It reads, "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth (cross-examines) him."
The term "expelled" is being used inaccurately, for the school has no problem with the child and has never terminated his enrollment before it expires. It should be noted, however, that all enrollment contracts with the Baptist Academy expire at the end of each academic year. Both the parents and the school are given the opportunity to make a decision on the way forward. There is no indefinite enrollment in our school, and this has always been the case from the founding of the school.
The Baptist Academy has always disclosed, without apology, that the partnership between parents/guardians and the school is indispensable to the educational process and methodology used in our programme, and we do understand that in some schools such a partnership is not necessary. We have stated repeatedly that we never give up on the students, but we do give up on irresponsible parents.
Unfortunately, even good students are impacted by the poor decisions of irresponsible parents. Our school has decided that it will not enter into a new contract with Mr Samuels, the old one having expired. There seems to be some convenient amnesia on his part concerning the reason, and he claims that he is searching the Scriptures for one, but he needs to search his own heart. He has been directly rude and disrespectful to me personally on one matter as well as to another staff supervisor who confronted him on a different matter. His conduct has been most egregious. We will not enter into new contracts with persons we perceive to be thugs and vagabonds. Such a partnership is destined for disaster.
It is possible that Mr Samuels has dealt with others in this manner with impunity, but at the Baptist Academy, we are not impressed. His values are not welcomed on our campus. He has played the victim in his statement in the press, but the truth of the matter is that his insolence has victimized his own son, not our school.
Of the over 450 children who will attend the Baptist Academy of Antigua in the upcoming academic year, four (4) former students were affected by their parents not being accepted by the school for a new contract. It does not surprise us that the affected families now have some regrets about their loss of access to our programme. The high value of a Baptist Academy education is obvious to all. In these cases, the finances of the students were in order and the academic performance of the same is not an issue.
It should be clear by now that attending the Baptist Academy of Antigua is not a right, but a privilege. It should also be clear that our priorities are more than financial or even the academic performance of the children, for we are not a business, but an agency of a conservative Baptist church and ministry, affirming the Reformed Faith.
Over the 20 years of the life of the school, the few parents who have been considered to be 'not a good fit' for our programme presented us with a variety of challenges including, but not limited to, a clash in philosophy or methodology of education, an adversarial and ungodly disposition in their dealings with the administration and staff, lifestyle practices that are so egregious that our ministry prefers to distance itself, clear evidence of their working to undermine the efforts of our ministry, clear evidence that the relationship is likely to pose a security threat, situations where there are students with special needs for which the school is not equipped to provide, and an unwillingness to accommodate or adapt to the religious commitments of the school, among other issues.
Parents and guardians are regularly encouraged to assess their needs as well as count the cost of their attitudes and actions, for these things can and will affect their access to the programme. Over the years, the overwhelming majority of our parents and guardians have been exemplary in their conduct and in their support of the priorities and programmes of the school. We are
determined to be true to our motto, "Academic Excellence With Biblical Values."
Soli Deo Gloria,
Dr Hensworth W C Jonas, GCH, BA, MA, DPTh, DMin
Presiding Elder, ECBM Baptist Circuit of Churches
Principal, Baptist Academy of Antigua
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