Dancehall is inextricably linked with the culture we Jamaicans hold dear to our hearts. After all, it was our own belief in freedom of expression which spawned the dancehall, reggae and other music/movements which today we are proud of.
Talk Up Yout believes in the adage that there is a time and place for everything. However, on the issue of the Maggotty High School video, we believe an infraction which comes down to a breach of decorum cannot warrant so strict a response as expulsion.
We understand the principal's plight. He has described the incident as ugly and lewd and admitted that he personally is unable to stand such behaviour. However, these young ladies are products of a society that not only condones this behaviour, but encourages it.
We are sexual beings living in a country whose native music is hypersexualised. Babies as young as one year old are hearing this music, and it stays with them right throughout their adolescent and adult lives. We know that society is expecting the principal to make a decision.
As agents of social change, Talk Up Yout believes no child is to be written off as a lost cause. Two years ago, some girls made a poor decision. Some of them have left the school, some have not. Expelling the current students does not help the situation. The result of this action is a group of girls who will resent figures of authority and educators.
Help them, Principal. Talk Up Yout firmly believes in the power of conversation and counselling. Get to the root of the matter. Ask the whys, the hows and what ifs? Empower these students to think of this behaviour as potentially damaging to all their dreams, goals and aspirations.
Give them the opportunity to talk about their issues, find the details. Speak to their parents/guardians. In fact, Talk Up Yout would be willing to facilitate this session with the stakeholders and the children.
Talk Up Yout in no way wishes to interfere with the internal governance of this school. However, as an advocate for and voice of these students, we cannot sit by and watch their lives be potentially ruined because of a mistake they made years ago. They did something they see on television every day, in broad daylight, in dark corners and possibly in their homes. They see their role models, figures of authority, everyone around them doing it. With that logic, expelling these students would be an egregious, hypocritical, knee-jerk response.
EMPREZZ GOLDING &
THE TUY TEAM