Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Suspended for sex video - St Catherine High students sent home over raunchy social media challenge

Published:Thursday | October 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
St Catherine High School.

A group of students at the St Catherine High School have been suspended following their participation in a raunchy social media challenge, which encourages participants to verbalise the extent that they would go for sexual pleasure.

The challenge has provided an outlet for many to rap about their sexual desires and has seen several international celebrities joining the movement, which has gone viral.

The male and female students, in flexing their lyrical muscles, did not spare details as they shared that they would, among other things, be willing to skip school to gain access to male or female genitalia.

Vice-principal of the St Johns Road-based institution, Geraldine Palmer-Allen, said that the video was brought to the attention of school administrators on Monday, and the students, who are all in grade 10, were given a five-day suspension the following day. Members of the school board are expected to meet shortly to discuss the matter.

Palmer-Allen said that she has been getting calls from past students, who have expressed concern that the video has brought the school into disrepute. Among the institution's past students are Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, member of parliament, Juliet.

"I understand that it is a challenge that is going around. I wasn't even aware. It is when this thing came to light that I heard that. I don't know why anybody would want to have a challenge about that. To me, sex is a private matter. If there is such a challenge going on, it is not for kids," the vice-principal said, while noting that both those who had verbalised their desires as well as those who had made the video were suspended.

Palmer-Allen shared that they have held several sessions in recent times aimed at teaching students how to act responsibly on social media.

"We are concerned about them. We talk to them all the time. We have Girls' Day, we have Boys' Day, and we try to teach these students in every way as to what is acceptable behaviour, what is Christian practice, and values that we expect them to uphold," she said.

 

NOT WIDELY ACCEPTED

 

Education Minister Ruel Reid said that he saw the video after The Gleaner brought the matter to his attention, but checks by his ministry have shown that the challenge has not been widely accepted by students at local schools.

"I am not seeing significant reporting, and it has not been officially reported to us," said Reid.

He noted that there was definitely need for digital literacy, given the far-reaching impact of social media.

"It is a new age of technology, and there has to be this socialisation and teaching our students and young people what we consider morally and culturally appropriate to share online," he said.

President of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, Everton Hannam, said that schools will have to put in place measures to curtail social media activities that contravene the rules of their schools.

"While we are not running a monastery, we have to at least maintain some core levels of discipline," Hannam stated.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com