An unfortunate incident temporarily clouded the guidance trajectory of the 48 newly-arrived students from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in the Netherlands this week. The reason: a bug or bugs in a hotel room and overreacting parents of two students.
The incident took place in the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. Two Saba students, staying together in a room in the hotel in Amsterdam, where the first part of the orientation week took place, sounded the alarm over some bugs they found in the room.
Coordinator Roos Leerdam-Bulo of the Student Support division of Aalse and Partners, in charge of the guidance of the students from the Caribbean Netherlands, was alerted about the situation. She immediately went to the hotel in the middle of the night to check what the problem was.
Seeing that the students were clearly uncomfortable, Leerdam-Bulo decided to move the students to a different hotel that same night. The matter could have been left at that if it were not for the fact that this incident was put on social media and the parents of the two students made a big deal about it.
The Daily Herald learned that there were several negative postings on social media that the hotel where the students were staying was ridden with bedbugs and/or other insects. One of the guidance counsellors received an angry message from one of the parents. Consequently, government authorities sought clarity from the Student Support division about the issue. A photo taken of the bug in the room showed that it was a (kind of) beetle, not a bedbug as had been suggested. It should be noted that with the windows being open at night due to the current warm weather in the Netherlands, it might have been very likely that the bug(s) flew into the room.
Student Support asked the parents to apologise for their behaviour, as it adversely affected the process of guiding their child through the first days/weeks in the Netherlands. The students in question were informed that if their parents did not apologise, Student Support could no longer provide the services to them.
The parents of the two students did offer their sincere apologies in the course of Wednesday. One parent stated that she did not do this with any malicious intent, but merely to inform the other parents of the situation. The fact that their children were far away and that they were unable to address the situation from a distance also played a role in their overreaction and making assumptions before hearing the details.
“The students are, in general, very satisfied with the service that we provide. This was an unfortunate case where the parents made a wrong assumption,” said an Aalse and Partners spokesperson. The incident left a bitter taste in the mouths of the team, which includes close to 10 volunteers who all have been working tirelessly to assist and coach the new students.
The incident did not involve or affect the other 46 students from the Caribbean Netherlands. In total eight students from Saba, six from St. Eustatius and 34 from Bonaire arrived in the Netherlands on Monday morning to further their studies in the Netherlands.
The Daily Herald.