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Why? 'Ministry' trying to mash up schools

Friday, June 18, 2021

Dear Editor,

I am convinced, more and more, that the elected legislators and those at the very helm of the education sector are the reason our schools are plagued with certain problems. These leaders seem to be sending mixed messages on important issues.

By their words, they are seeking to erode principals' authority in schools and attempting to weaken the very foundation on which schools are built.

Look at the recent media release issued by the Ministry of Education regarding hairstyles of students. It is scandalous for the education ministry to issue such a statement which is suggests that anything goes. Don't we know that some of the hairstyles that young people sport are inappropriate for schools? Are we to believe that the minister of education is telling our society that students can turn up at school with just about any hairstyle and it should be business as usual? Are we so modern that certain principles and rules are outdated?

Well, if principals and other school leaders cannot correct students and guide them into acceptable behaviour then the minister of national security needs to accept all the proposals to build more prisons because we are going to need as much space as possible.

Instead of working counter to good discipline and deportment, the Ministry of Education needs to provide as much support to our schools to maintain decency among our population.

Part of discipline is the grooming of the hair. And even if a particular hairstyle is worn for religious reasons, proper grooming will not interfere with one's right in that regard.

The discussion is really about those hairstyles which are promoted in some of our hip hop, dancehall music videos and movies. Those with a fashion statement. We do not need them in our schools. Schools are supposed to teach students how to determine appropriateness of behaviour.

As someone who works in the school system and has taught students with behavioural problems, I know that many parents wish that schools could provide an antidote for their uncontrollable children.

I suggest to the powers that be that, with all the societal decadence, crime and violence, gangs and criminal enclaves, schools — and the Church — remain the only institutions vested with the influence to create any sort of meaningful change among our young people.

Let us not rob our youth of the discipline which they may not know they need until later on.

Many adults today, when they look back at their earlier years, can only express gratitude to those who corrected them, even through tough love. No chastening seems good at first, but the value is priceless later on.

Allow our principals to continue to chasten our students to be the best men and women of tomorrow.

Marie Henry