The Soloist, Contributor
During my years as a school teacher, I did not put up with foolishness from students in any shape or form. That began with their dress and deportment. My pep talk with them at the start of each school year included telling them what looking good at all times involved. In addition to the rules of the school and those laid down by the Ministry of Education, I had my own. I made sure to use the first meeting with each class to emphasise what these were.
I made sure to tell students that I would not accept excuses for being out of proper uniform because I had to be in mine five days a week except in a real emergency. And my parents would never allow me to disobey any rules laid down by the school. I clearly remember that for about a year I had only one white blouse because that's what my parents could afford, but as soon as I got home from school each afternoon, I had to wash it, put it behind the fridge to dry or dry it in a towel. Then I had to iron it for school the next day and no one knew I had only one blouse.
Sense of pride
I recall well our preparations for high school. My parents got the sketch for the uniform design from the school and took it to the dressmaker who followed those specifications. When we showed up that first day of school, we all looked alike and we understood it meant that we would all be safe and identifiable. It also meant that no one knew who was rich or poor. But best of all, it made us feel a sense of pride in showing our school colours; the pleats in the tunics were sharp and the seams in the boys pants were a straight, single line because they too were learning that a properly ironed pair of mens pants, had just one seam. The boys had clearly defined waistlines (what a concept). No sloppy pants loosely falling midway down their butts while exposing brief-covered bums and shirts clearly showing an allergy to their pants. Today's schoolboys usually either look like urchins who have lost a street fight or drunkards who have temporarily lost the battle with sanity.
Parents, today, these are the pictures of your sons. You are sending or driving them to school in pants you bought but which they have altered to the latest close-fitting and other styles. Parents, you need to let your children know that school is not the place to express their fashion sense. It is the place to learn, develop skills of analysis, study hard, pass exams and qualify for college.
Parents, you must take back control and help your children understand this. The minister of education should not have to waste time listening and responding to principals and parents argue over flouting of the school dress code. Can you believe it? Just weeks ago, these same parents were begging, pleading and crying with school authorities to take children who had not even been given a space there (many did not meet the required standards). It was a hassle, the principal accepted your precious little brat. You attended orientation, you agreed to the rules, you signed on the dotted line, and then come September 3, you allow your to child to show up in his/her interpretation of the uniform.
You condone them breaking the rules. You suddenly allow them to call the shots; you have suddenly become afraid of them. You suddenly start the road to your children becoming lawbreaking citizens!
It is time to instill some discipline in children, starting with obeying school rules. Get a grip on children; restrict their overuse of the Internet, cellphones and things that distract them from the task at hand. You are responsible for them, so act like it!