Archbishop Edward Gilbert yesterday intervened in the Kalifa Logan issue and ordered St Charles High School's principal, Sisiter Adrianna Noel, to accept the 12-year-old. Logan's mother, Lynette Marshall, was notified last week by school principal Sister Adrianna Noel that she could not attend the private school because her dreadlocks were not in keeping with the school's dresscode or policy. Sr Noel yesterday backed down after a meeting with Archbishop Gilbert, and was yesterday "welcoming" Logan to take a place at the institution. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain also issued an apology to Logan and her family.
There has been overwhelming public outcry following the principal's decision. Members of Parliament have been critical as well as attorney Israel Khan, who described the school's decision as a blatant act of discrimination and a serious breach of Logan's constitutional rights. Archbishop's House issued a release at 9.35 am yesterday stating that the Kalifa Logan issue was referred to Gilbert's office and he had "scheduled meetings on the matter and has promised a prompt resolution to the case." In a subsequent release from the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Gilbert said he held a joint meeting with the Episcopal Delegates for Education (Hazel Reis), Social Justice (Leela Ramdeen) and Communications (Clive Belgrave), Catholic Education Board of Management and the principal of St Charles.
Gilbert said based on consultation, he decided, "Kalifa Logan, a registered student at St Charles High School, who was not recommended for transfer for religious reasons, shall be welcome to take a place at St Charles High School without prejudice, should she wish to do so." Gilbert also extended apologies "to Kalifa and her family for any misunderstanding." When Newsday sought to get additional information from the Archbishop, a member of staff at Archbishop's House said he was having lunch and a release was sent to the media. Another worker said Gilbert would not be available at any time yesterday. Contacted for comment about St Charles accepting Logan, communications specialist at the Education Ministry, Mervyn Critchlow, said he could not comment because the ministry preferred to have discussions with her parents. Critchlow said the ministry had no telephone contact for Logan's family and her mother has not made any contact with the ministry.
"When we were first advised of the situation we sought to have Kalifa placed at a school - Five Rivers Junior Secondary," Critchlow told Newsday, insisting that the media was blowing the issue out of proportion and that Kalifa would have to go to Five Rivers. However, Newsday has been reliably informed by a senior official at the Education Ministry that Logan has been assigned to El Dorado Secondary School. Asked if the ministry will seek a reimbursement from St Charles since Logan has decided not to go to the school, Critchlow said this did not arise. "The situation is the school informs the ministry of how many are sent and the school will indicate who has registered and is attending." Critchlow said payment is made based on the number of students attending.
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