Tue | Dec 10, 2019

Bad-word ban lifted - Student blocked from school for using expletives to resume classes tomorrow

Published:Sunday | January 6, 2019 | 12:10 AMArthur Hall
Reid

The 13-year-old student who has been blocked from the Little London High School since November for allegedly using expletives in the presence of a teacher is to return to classes tomorrow when the new school term begins.

Education Minister Ruel Reid, who ordered a probe into the matter after it was brought to public attention by The Sunday Gleaner, said that following discussions, it was decided that the boy would be readmitted to classes and efforts made to prevent a repeat of his behaviour.

“We have arranged with the school authorities to have the young man reinstated,” Reid told The Sunday Gleaner late last week.

He noted that based on the reports, the 13-year-old has a history of behavioural issues in addition to his reported use of expletives.

The Sunday Gleaner has also learnt that based on his conduct, the dean of discipline at the school had received written permission from his father for the 13-year-old to attend a behavioural-modification camp but he failed to show.

“We will have the school authorities and the ministry’s regional guidance unit work with the young man to see how we can normalise his behaviour and have him fully integrated back into the school system,” added Reid, even as he admitted that the leadership of schools sometimes struggle to deal with students with serious behavioural issues.

“The regulations exist for the school authorities to take action against regular problem students,” said Reid.

“If it is a critical incident, the matter must be communicated to the school board and the board will provide the support for the school authorities. But the key thing is that they have to follow due process,” added Reid.

REPORT BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS EARLY

He argued that school authorities sometimes take too long to report cases of students with behavioural problems.

“I want to make the point to school authorities that once they come across students who are persisting with antisocial behaviour, they need to escalate it to the ministry’s regional offices so that we can bring support,” said Reid.

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency, which had also intervened in the matter based on a report from the parents of the 13-year-old, is also to provide counselling for him.
Venessa Todd, the mother of the 13-year-old, had reported that he had been denied entry to classes since mid-November, when he was sent home with a letter that a parent would have to accompany him to a meeting before he would be allowed to return to classes.

She said that since then, she has been trying, without success, to get the school to give her formal notification on the fate of the child.

Under the education regulations, students who have been suspended from school for a maximum of 10 days without notification of any subsequent action or decision taken by the authorities during that period cannot be further punished for the same offence.

During this initial 10 days, the student must be informed of any further action taken, such as expulsion. Only the board of directors of a school has the power to expel a student.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com