Petition for Murray's dismissal hits 500 signatures
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The online petition that was launched calling for the dismissal of Hampton High School principal, Heather Murray, hit 500 signatures a short while ago.
The call for dismissal was as a result of her decision to attend a court session in the case of a minister of religion who is accused of sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl.
In an apology from Murray, she had admitted to signing documents relating to clergyman Rupert Clarke’s move to secure bail.
Clarke, a Manchester-based pastor, was recently charged with rape and having sexual knowledge of a person under 16. He was last Wednesday grated bail in the sum of J$800,000 when he appeared in the St Elizabeth Parish Court.
Initially, Murray said in a statement that she was at the bail hearing to provide moral support to the pastor’s wife, who she described as her friend.
However, social media users and at least one politician have called for her removal as headmaster of the all-girls institution.
Last Friday, Councillor for the Trafalgar Division in South East St Andrew, the People's National Party’s (PNP) Kari Douglas called for Murray to resign or be fired from the post.
The group responsible for the online petition, Jamaicans United Against Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, called on Education Minister Ruel Reid, the minister with responsibility for gender affairs Olivia Grange, Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison, and the Board of Trustees of Hampton School to immediately dismiss the principal.
They urged the authorities “…to act swiftly - Summa virtue et humanitate - to restore the people's trust in leaders of institutions of learning, leaders of the church and above all the Government of Jamaica's ability to protect and provide peace of mind and safety…”
In the meantime, Reid is expected to meet today with administrators of the Hampton School for girls.
Speaking this morning at a press briefing at Jamaica House, Reid was guarded when asked about the tone of the discussion is expected to take.
"At the end of the day when matters impact the leadership and governance of an education institution I have to be held accountable and in that regard persons who preside over institutions have to be accountable to the minister. There have been a lot of public discussion on the matter and I feel that, as the (education) minister, I need to have a discussion and give some direction as to the way forward," he told journalists.
The petition is expected to be delivered to the education minister, Grange and Gordon Harrison.