Fri | Apr 26, 2019

‘Tracks man run this school!’ - Abused teacher blasts Calabar for shielding Champs stars

Published:Saturday | March 23, 2019 | 12:24 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Sanjaye Shaw, physics teacher at Calabar High School, who was allegedly physically abused by student athletes at the school in December 2018, addresses members of the media during a press conference yesterday at the Family Life Ministries.

Calabar High physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw, the man at the centre of assault allegations involving two of the school’s biggest track and field stars, De’Jour Russell and Christopher Taylor, has chastised the school’s administration for dragging its feet on the matter.

Shaw, who also made mention of a bribery attempt by an unnamed individual, yesterday presented four videos at a press conference at the Family Life Ministries in St Andrew, where he also made calls for stronger action to be taken by the school against the popular athletes.

The situation comes days before the Red Hills Road-based school starts its defence of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships title, with the pair expected to play a big part in their efforts.

Taylor, Russell and several other student athletes were seen in a verbal exchange with Shaw on the videos presented. However, Taylor was seen in front of a cluster of boys who swarmed the teacher. The footage did not capture the rest of the altercation after the phone fell to the ground. The incident allegedly took place on December 15, 2018.

But Shaw alleges that one of the athletes grabbed him by the shirt after his cell phone, which was being used to record the exchange, was knocked from his hands.

“I was in the physics lab and the boys from the track team kicked down the door and came in the physics lab,” Shaw recounted. “I asked them to leave the physics lab and Taylor said that is ‘tracks man run this school’.”

He continued: “When he (Taylor) ‘draped’ me, I didn’t do anything. I just allowed him to do what he wanted to do, and the 63 students who were on physics camp were present in the room.”

According to Shaw, the altercation started after he tried to borrow some beds from the track team for his physics camp.

The Gleaner understands that members of the track team were trying to retrieve their beds from the physics lab when the alleged assault occurred.

Shaw told reporters that after the incident, he called acting principal, Calvin Rowe, 19 times without answer.

He said that Taylor and Russell were singled out because they were the only students who physically assaulted him.

Shaw also claimed that he was offered $250,000 from an unknown person on Tuesday to not go public with the incident.

“After I called the acting principal and didn’t get an answer, I called the police and I decided not to press charges there because I wanted the matter to be dealt with internally,” Shaw said. “The acting principal came the following day and apologised to me even before I told him what happened, and I didn’t hear from him until January 11 when he asked me to send the WhatsApp videos.”

According to Shaw, no action was taken against the accused boys up to January 29, when he raised the matter in a staff meeting.

“The day after the staff meeting, I got a letter from the acting principal requesting a meeting, and I asked for the dean of discipline rep from JTA (representative from the Jamaica Teachers’ Association), and the teachers’ representative to be present in the meeting, but he said that it was not a board meeting and he would only meet with me,” Shaw said.

“When I met with him on February 1st, the teachers’ rep was not allowed in the room and he tried to stop the JTA rep from coming into the room. He eventually allowed her in the room but [she] was not allowed to say anything.”

Shaw noted that despite this, no disciplinary action was taken against Russell and Taylor until March 12, when they were suspended for a week.

The teacher presented a document that showed that both students were suspended from March 12 to 19. He does, however, take issue with how Taylor’s suspension was served.

“De’Jour served his suspension, but Christopher Taylor was seen at school during the period and was allowed to represent the school, wearing a Calabar shirt,” Shaw said.

Despite the backlash he has received after deciding to go public with the incident, Shaw wants to continue teaching at Calabar.

“I love teaching at Calabar and we have achieved some things and I want to continue, but I don’t know,” he said.

Shaw, for the first time yesterday, made a formal report to the Constant Spring Police Station. However, he did not press charges against the student athletes.

Meanwhile, Calabar’s board chairman, the Reverend Karl Johnson, said he would only make a statement after he was able to view Shaw’s press conference, which he had not done up to late last night.

akino.ming@gleanerjm.com