Principal of the Edna Manley School of Performing Arts, Dr Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson has lost her court bid to have the Supreme Court revoke her suspension from the post.
The decision was handed down in the Supreme Court yesterday.
William Mitchell has been reading the ruling and files this report.
Dr DeGrasse-Johnson sought judicial review in 2020 after the school’s board suspended her pending an investigations into sexual harassment allegations made at the school.
The principal sought judicial review challenging the authority of the board to impose disciplinary action and seeking her reinstatement.
Attorneys for Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson argued that the school was acting outside of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts Scheme which made no provisions for punishment through a personnel committee.
The school’s board in addition to board members Donahue Martin, Winston Ewart, Dorraine Reid and Marigold Harding were all named as defendants in the matter.
Dr Degrasse-Johnson argued that there might be an appearance of bias in the proceedings as two of the board members sat on the personnel committee.
In the ruling handed down on Friday the court found that the decision to refer the matter to the personnel committee was not improper or illegal.
The court also found that the committee had the jurisdiction to hear the complaint as the college is governed under the Education Regulations of 1980 rather than the schemes of the school.
The court found that the process was not tainted by the appearance of bias.
In addition the court ruled that natural justice was followed as Dr DeGrasse-Johnson was given the opportunity to have a fair hearing.
The ruling opens the door for a disciplinary hearing to be held for Dr Degrasse-Johnson.
Dr. Degrasse-Johnson was suspended in August 2019 after a sexual harassment scandal erupted at the school.
There were also complaints about the school’s handling of allegations made by several students.
Dr Degrasse-Johnson, at the time, declined to take voluntary leave to facilitate an investigation into the allegation, leading to her suspension.
She was to be the subject of a disciplinary hearing by the personnel committee of the board into her knowledge of the allegations.
She was represented by King’s Counsel Andre Earle and Diana McPherson.
Annaliesa Lindsay and Josemar Belnavis represented the members of the board.