Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Students in ripped jeans locked out of Jamaica Day celebrations

Published:Saturday | February 22, 2020 | 12:17 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Dozens of students stand along the roadway outside the gates of Oberlin High School in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, on Friday. The students were locked out of Jamaica Day celebrations because they wore ripped jeans.
Dozens of students stand along the roadway outside the gates of Oberlin High School in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, on Friday. The students were locked out of Jamaica Day celebrations because they wore ripped jeans.

Students sweated in the early-morning sunshine as school authorities locked out dozens of Oberlin High pupils who turned out in ripped jeans for Jamaica Day celebrations in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, yesterday.

As early as 7:30 a.m. on Friday, our newsroom was bombarded by calls from students and parents who complained that administrators’ decision to draw a line against ripped jeans was heavy-handed.

The Gleaner understands that although the children were permitted to sport jeans as part of Jamaica Day celebrations, ripped jeans showing too much skin were not allowed.

A large gathering of students who thronged the outskirts of the school gate wandered about for several hours.

President of the students’ council, Tevin Ellis, said that attempts to negotiate a compromise were shot down by officials.

“Apparently most students are here in jeans where a little part of their skin is revealing. The solution I made is that if they can get a rag or kerchief or something to cover the skin, so the skin is not exposed, then they could have them let in, but apparently that solution is being overlooked and those students are aren’t entering,” Ellis told The Gleaner.

“However if the jeans were made with a rip where the material underneath the cover was made with the jeans, then they are allowed to go in. So while some students are going in, some students are being deprived,” he added.

After the hours-long stand-off, the students were allowed inside.

However, a snap meeting was reportedly held and students were warned that jeans day would be scrapped in the future.

“Our principal held a meeting with all the grades in the auditorium. She said students don’t obey the rules, so there will be no more jeans day. The students think it’s unfair that their voices are not being heard,” said Ellis.

Attempts to contact the principal, Michelle Spencer, were unsuccessful, as The Gleaner was told to call back Monday.

Jamaica Day is celebrated in prep, primary and secondary schools. It focuses on national traditions, folklore and food.

This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Highlighting our Icons in the Arts, Agriculture and Technological Innovations’.