THE EDITOR, Sir:
As a former student and head boy of Maggotty High, and like many fellow Jamaicans, I found the 2011 dance video vulgar and inappropriate. However, I am also troubled at the overreaction of the adults and administration to this two-year-old video.
Adults, as well as students, must be taught to consider the consequences of behaviours that are situationally inappropriate, not only for themselves but also for the institution they represent - especially when wearing the uniform. [If these students were not in uniform, I do not believe we would
Not only is talk of expelling the only current student identified - two years after the incident - non-proportional justice, but it also absurd to call for the revocation of the licence of Apple Valley Park.
There is no question that poor judgement and lack of supervision contributed to this incident which brought disrepute to the school. However, we must guard against overreaction and hypocrisy. Behaviours like this 'dirty dancing' are not new. All that is new is that it was on a medium for the world to see - two years later.
What is evident is that students with raging hormones need supervision at social gatherings - on or off campus. This was true 25 years ago when I attended, as it is today.
A few months ago, many found it amusing when the good-humoured minister of agriculture was filmed 'daggering' on his toes or doing the 'cow dance'. I recall very little public outcry. Nor do I recall any of his colleagues, or the Ministry of Education, condemning the behaviour. Today, however, adults at the Ministry of Education and the administration at Maggotty High are ready to sacrifice the students' future on the altar of outrage to mask embarrassment. I encourage restraint.
We save the future generation one student at a time. I would hope that these youths - especially those who are still students at Maggotty High - are now more mature and understand the inappropriateness of these behaviours - two years later.
Behaviours like these are not confined to Maggotty High. They are societal. Streaking, twerking, daggering, dutty wining, drinking and smoking are dances and behaviours that can be controversial. Globally, youths in high schools and colleges engage in them. Yet, many have gone on to lead productive lives after engaging in questionable behaviours as students.
My message does not condone inappropriate behaviours but rather encourages a measured response.
Growing up includes making mistakes, learning their consequences, and, most important, moving on. Let's all grow up.