SDA Church responds to ‘wall-to-wall cover-up’; discloses it expelled student involved in sex scandal

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SDA Church responds to ‘wall-to-wall cover-up’; discloses it expelled student involved in sex scandal
Alexander Biscette
Alexander Biscette

PRESS STATEMENT – The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates four schools in this country: three primary schools and one secondary school. Our secondary school, the SDA Academy, has been educating the children of our nation for over 50 years.

The alumni of the Academy are shining luminaries in all walks of life both here and abroad. They have taken their rightful place in society among the best in the nation and internationally. Our school has produced outstanding Civil Servants, doctors, lawyers, academicians, educators, successful entrepreneurs and CEOs, leaders in government including a Prime Minister of this country, to name a few.

The SDA Academy aims to instill in students not just academic excellence, but also values and principles that will help them develop quality character that will position them for service to God, to their country and to humanity. Character that will equip them for success.

The spiritual, moral, and ethical values and principles embraced and instilled at our schools and at the Academy, are second to none. While as a redemptive institution, the SDA Academy over the years has given second and even third chances to many students who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks, the school does not tolerate immoral, violent or disruptive behavior by students, teachers or anyone associated with the institution.

Wall-to-wall Coverup simply does not apply to our school, its board or the leadership of the Saint Lucia Mission of SDA. Over the past school year only one matter involving a sex-tape scandal was brought to the attention of the school board and the administration of the Saint Lucia Mission of SDA.

The school board cautiously deliberated on the matter of the sex tape. The discussions were prioritized around three serious concerns: (1) The best interest of the student body, the children that parents have entrusted to our care. (2) The best interest and future of the young lady who was at the center of the scandal, and (3) the reputation and image of the school and the ability of the school to continue to uphold the high moral values that have been its hallmark as a Christian institution in this country.

Even though it was painful, the board made the decision to expel the young lady in the best interest of the students and what the school represents as a Christian institution. I can recall very clearly the school board asking the administration of the school to visit the home of that student to help the parents and the child find an alternative path to prepare to write her CXC subjects because of our concern for her future.

While we try to be redemptive, we uphold our emphasis on discipline and proper conduct. We expect students and teachers who become aware or who know of immoral or any unacceptable behaviours to report same to the principal, the vice principal or someone in the administration of the school. We can assure the parents, our school constituency and the public that we are working all the time to improve how we respond to such reports in the best interest of all concerned.

When it comes to teacher turnover, it is not uncommon for young persons coming out of A-Levels or CAPE to take a job as a teacher for a year or two, and in some cases even for a few months on their way to pursuing their desired career. The SDA Academy is not the only school who has had to deal with that kind of situation, but in our case, those young teachers usually serve for a full year or a full term, as the case may be, and the school usually finds suitable and qualified replacement in a timely manner so the students are never left without teachers.

During the last school year, we have not had any high teacher turnover at the Academy. In December of 2016 we had one teacher who left the SDA Academy due to salary issues. School was closed for the Christmas break at the time of her departure, but when the students returned to school on January 1, 2017, there was a capable and qualified replacement; a teacher who had taught the students during the study leave of the outgoing teacher.

In May 2017, a young lady who had taken up a temporary teaching job at the Academy left to pursue medical studies. While we were disappointed that she could not finish the school term, the students were not left to suffer. The Vice Principal, a highly qualified and capable educator, immediately took up the class and taught for the rest of the term.

When it comes to SBAs we have had some challenges in terms of submitting them early, but we have always been able to submit SBAs on time for CXCs. We are working hard to improve things in that regard so that parents and students can have the comfort of knowing that SBAs are submitted much earlier.

As we close the school year, we are aware that a number of the young teachers who were with us at the Academy during the year will not be returning, however, we have had a lot of applications from very qualified and capable prospects for teaching positions, some of whom have already been employed so we expect no problem for teachers come September.

We continue to work hard to improve the product that we offer. We have appointed an Education Reform Committee and work is ongoing, including incorporation of comprehensive life skills programme to assist students in making wise decisions and dealing with challenges of sexuality and growing up in today’s environment, drawing from experiences with the Adolescent Development Programme (ADP) framework (Servol and CARE; and the International Youth Foundation Passport to Success and NSDC Life Skills Programmes).

St. Lucia owes the SDA Academy a lot of credit for the work it has been doing over the past 50 years and the kind of contribution it has made to the country in the quality of students that have left its walls to serve and advance the development of the nation. Whereas most of the leading schools on the island have high cut-off points of 70% pass and above for accepting common entrance students, the SDA Academy has saved as a safety net, accepting, alongside the very bright students that come to our school, those that are struggling, and who might not have received a high-school education other-wise.

Isn’t it amazing that a school catering for such a mix-multitude, accepting all and sundry, so to speak, the brilliant and not so brilliant; the capable and seemingly in capable; both high and low percentages and still be able to consistently remain in the top ten schools in the country? No education institution is without challenges; whenever you have students, as wonderful as they may be, you will have problems. We will continue to strive to help our students become the best they can become.

The SDA Academy remains committed to delivering academic excellence in a spiritually charged environment, where high moral, ethical and spiritual values are taught, embraced and respected.

(53)(7)

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52 COMMENTS

  1. So many nice words. A short note on the young woman. Was this necessary really. As an EX SDA, I think this could have been handled in a more mature and private way. You continue to assure me I was correct in my decision to cut ties and association with your kind of 'governance' and self righteous attitude that moves you away from being spiritual and makes you just a RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.

    All these words are an insult to the core situation. Our young people today are the leaders tomorrow, I pray that the universe aligns positively for this young woman to carry her experience in a way that it does not hamper her personal growth.

    (7)(0)

  2. NOT one person commented on the fact that the girl was expelled and nothing was said about the boys. Says a lot about GENDER EQUALITY!...........SDA HYPOCRITES.

    (9)(1)

    • Who said he was a school boy? Or rather from the same school. They can only be responsible for what's theirs

      (0)(0)

  3. if u expel people from church then who paying ur electricity bill for u? who go oil ur bank account for u

    (3)(3)

  4. You'll do not have to put that on Saint. Lucia News Online. Already the young lady is ashamed of her act, it is embarrassing for her. To put this back on the News, is being very selfish. You people need to know how to handle situations. Grow up, immaturity

    (8)(8)

  5. I will reiterate here: Enough with this Ubaldus foolishness! Because none of you are interested in righting the situation with the enactment of a moral code or law.

    Ubaldus is not representing the people, he works for the government. You elect your Reps for representation. If you want you can lobby your Rep to get laws/ethics enacted for the workers that it employs in the Senate and even themselves. The rules should never be arbitrary to accommodate persons who have been charged with serious offences such as rape or condemn people whose private nudity have been exposed.

    On the other hand if the photos are indeed that of Ubaldus you cannot tell the man who he should have sex with, neither is it your business If he cheats on his wife (Maybe his wife actually enjoys or allows it). Ever heard about threesomes? Is that wrong too? That's a private affair and nobody's business because nobody knows where your nose goes, whether it is under h----s clothes or between toes. If somebody is having a private affair with another and they choose to betray that confidence and extort money in return then thats against the law and there are consequences for breaking the law.

    Why is it so hard for St. Lucians to understand this simple point. Ubaldus has not broken the law and if his wife chooses to leave him then thats their business (Hilary Clinton didn't leave). You cannot make a decision for her. So if I have my pic at home, you steal it or somebody I send it to expose it: you telling me that I have to resign from my work? Given that's its so difficult and expensive to prove that a photo on the internet belongs to somebody you want to go down that road? And then when the man sues for wrongful dismissal you would complain about paying higher taxes or deficit when it comes to compensate him?! Its all absurd! Being moral is an arbitrary construct. What is moral to me might not necessarily apply to you, and that's why there are laws which applies to everybody. So if you want try to put it down as law or as an enforceable moral code.

    Don't be stupid, you either do something meaningful or else leave that alone.

    Every week is a yap, yap yap. Ubaldus this and a Ubaldus that. Well look for somebody to extort too.

    (4)(11)

    • You don't get it. The SDA school is run by the Adventist Mission, just as the church. If the young female was barred from school on the basis of the mission standing on morality amongst its students, what about morality amongst it's members. The double standard, stinks to high heaven.

      Yes also the image is that of Ubaldus Raymond and he does represent the people. Above all else, being an elder art the time, the church view responsibility to how he represented it MORALLY.

      You all live to bamboozle outside for your agendas, but God is neither blind nor stupid. Pretend you are all morally upstanding, by picking on someone who can't fight you.

      (0)(0)

  6. It is no surprise that such action was taken. It seems we forgot the purpose of this school. We do not understand that this is an Academy and not a regular secondary school. This institution was built for development of people and to instill moral and spiritual values. the crop of students that the school receives every year comes different family background. Those who comes from a challenging background in terms poverty, abusive and etc. that is where more love and care need to be shown to those students, not neglecting the better crop. In this day and age people and more bold and upfront in things that they do. This where now the school and the church need to step in and to put a structured program in place to the help students in situations like this and if there is no change then other actions are taken.
    How many times have we done and bad to God? When we do we rush and ask for forgiveness. Does he forgives us? This student deserves a second chance because she is one with can help can reach the kingdom God. When she is expelled what do we say we are doing? We are tying the save the image of the school and the church and a person is sent out there who is in need of help. I am not saying that we should accept everything that someone does, but there consequence to negative actions.
    As a former teacher of this institution enough is not being done to help students. Before expelling this student she should be counseled and assessed.I will reiterate that this institution is an Academy which deals with holistic development, hence the reason why it accepts people of all ages. The focus of this school program should change from pure academics to a more holistic life development program because this is what an academy is all about.
    As a church and school we should think of saving lives for God's Kingdom before sending people in the world. When we do send them in the world then we go back to minister to them to try and get them back.....smh. Laws governs everything that we do and rules are for guidance. Image is important, however, lives are more important.

    (11)(1)

    • I'd think it wasn't about saving the image of the school but limiting the influence this student has on other students. If she was allowed to remain might that not give the other students the impression that you can do the same and get away with it?
      You remove a bad apple from the pack to save the others because if you leave it there it will cause the others to start spoiling.
      I don't know the details, but if this student was not sorry for her actions or thought she didn't do anything wrong then how could you leave her there?

      (4)(3)

      • I guess u didn't read my comment carefully. Measures in place for such actions. I taught there for 5 years and i know what i am saying. do you know how many students are involved in sexual activities and it doesn't come out. All of people on the outside will look at differently and just put the child out of the school, but when u have been on the inside then you think differently. SDAA receives all types of students and there must be programs in place to accommodate everyone. The Mission and school board needs to be put out instead of this student.

        (4)(2)

      • Like Ubaldus an elder staying and telling the people immoral behavior is acceptable and the church confirming its ok also when it comes to those who contribute good money to their coffers.

        (0)(0)

    • As much as this is a student and people believe that she shouldn't be expelled, deep thought has to be considered. As much as students do need a lot assistance with the current battles of the negative agents surrounding them, one must consider the repercussions of this student still being in the presence of other students.

      Would that child experience a series of bullying which would further hinder her progress of overcoming her mistake?

      What's about the well being of the other students who may suffer bullying from otherschools because they want to hold up their integrity?

      One must understand decisions should be made for the greater good.

      I believe the right decision was made by the SDA board. We should not allow disciplinary actions to fo down the drain.

      Im sure this child was equipped enough to understand the consequences of her actions.

      Our kids are very intelligent andshould put this energy forward in activities that provide growth.

      They are not giving up on her rather assisting her to complete her education. How many other institutions would give that help?

      (0)(0)

  7. Yes the church leaders are not the best example to our children. However the church should take a stand against sexual emorality. Let us not put ourselves in a position to judge other, rather let us focus on being an example to the youth.???

    (2)(0)

  8. So even though as you ask. To expel guy and u bald us from church...it maybe only from church records...but they cannot be stop from attending church...secondly nothing wrong in still calling brother... their alleged act is for GOD...no one has the right to cast judgment or condemnation

    (3)(0)

    • But the church distancing themselves and making that clear would go a long way in assuring the public and its members, it stands on morality.

      (0)(0)

  9. My neighbor had a troubled child and I was amazed when i heard about the progress he did at SDA school. Very good. They should be commended for doing some good as well.

    (11)(1)

  10. I will be forever grateful to the SDA school for helping my son to be a better person. I can say this school did a fantastic job with him. Thank you.

    (18)(2)

  11. Lololol I don't understand some of you people. You are in a sports group things are not right you leave, you in a church you upset with the pastor or priest you leave, you in a job things don't work the way you wanted you walk out. You in a relationship, a marriage it's not what you thought it was, you divorce and move on; but you want a school and it's teachers to entertain and tolerate you BAD children? Hell no!! No school in this country should tolerate that!!

    (31)(2)

    • And the catholic priests who have continued to molests little boys but hve yet to be proscecuted???

      (11)(0)

    • Not a word, not a word, not a word. They quick with a Press release for this one? Maybe her tithes not big enough? Stop the cover ups. How are you different from the world and the other religious groups you snub your nose at?

      (5)(2)

    • There were three pastors involved in a SEX scandal??? it is interesting how people twist information to get a point across...... St Lucians need to take their time to read and get their facts straight before making foolish statements online...

      (0)(0)

  12. How come Ubaldus has not been expelled from the church after his exposure on social media? Has he been an example of to the very students or youth in the church?

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