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Teachers Back at Guy Benjamin After Sick Out

Feb. 14, 2005 –– Teachers at Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay are still waiting for a requested meeting with William Frett, superintendent of schools for the St. Thomas/St. John district. One teacher, who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity, said the teachers had asked for a meeting in November 2004.
By last week, they were tired of waiting so most of them called in sick on Thursday and Friday.
The teacher said faculty members had problems with principal Margaret Bowers' leadership style.
She said that although part of the problem stems from the transfer of the special education teacher to St. Thomas, the remaining teachers face other problems that include difficult communication between Bowers and the teachers.
"We find out from outside when something's done," the teacher said, adding it was Bowers' style to communicate by written memos rather than speak directly to the schools six teachers.
Bowers put the number at five of the school's six teachers out on Thursday and four out on Friday.
The teacher said the school has six teachers and a substitute for a total of seven. She said that six of the seven were out on Thursday, and one was off attending a workshop.
"That's 100 percent gone," she said, adding that the itinerant gym teacher didn't show up either.
She said that on Friday, five teachers didn't come to school. And the itinerant librarian didn't make the planned visit to Guy Benjamin.
She and Bowers said that all teachers were back on the job Monday.
"After two days, it gets tough on the students," the teacher said.
Frett could not be reached for comment.
Education Department spokesman Juel Anderson said the students were sent home early.
On the days that the students showed up and the teachers didn't, and before the students were sent home, they were, reportedly, tasked with activities that were below their grade level.

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