Casual in class - Students don jeans and T-shirts as uniform woes hit Clan Carthy
While most children spent last week settling into their routine for the new school year, students, teachers and staff at Clan Carthy High School in St Andrew used the time trying to sort out a uniform conundrum which had some parents fuming.
Dozens of students at the school were allowed to wear jeans and T-shirts to classes last week as the institution was not able to satisfy all the orders it received for uniforms this year.
"We are asked to direct all complaints to the Ministry of Education. They were here and they told us not to speak to the media. They asked us to direct you to them," said a male staff member when our news team visited the school last Wednesday.
Neither the principal nor the staff members said to be directly responsible for the issuing of the uniforms were available to speak to our news team.
However, one staff member, even while stressing that she was not authorised to speak on the matter, argued that the school was not at fault.
"It's not our fault that the orders don't come in. We sent them out and the uniforms have not come back from the company. There is nothing that we can do about that," said the staff member.
But that was not enough for the parents who had paid their money for uniforms which they were told had to be bought at the school.
The mother of a grade-10 student said she paid a little more than $5,000 for two sets of uniforms in July, and despite several visits to the school, she has not been able to collect them.
"I just have to send her to school in the old uniforms. Luckily, I bought them big and so they are not that small or tight on her this year," said the parent.
Other parents questioned why the administration did not allow them to source their children's uniforms rather than this rigid system where they have to be bought from the school.
They noted that the argument is that aspects of the uniforms have been changed this year, and the school wanted to have them built to ensure uniformity.
But Racquel Williams, the mother of a grade-seven student, is not interested in any excuses from the administration.
She told our news team that she paid some $5,000 for two sets of uniforms on July 19, and so far has been given only one tunic and two blouses, which she collected last week.
"I hear them talk about the design for the uniforms change and about colour and so on. But they could have given us a sample and then we could have built it from that. But I don't care what them say, I know I am not buying anymore from them again," said Williams.