Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Don't turn away kids for uniform breaches

Published:Monday | September 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: In response to the issue of students being locked out of school for uniform violations, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has asked principals to "be reasonable". This, in my opinion, is woefully inadequate and deserves a response similar to the hardline view that students should not be turned away from schools because of their inability to pay school fees.

Everyone, including this writer, believes in discipline, but I cannot agree with the schools' handling of this matter by barring students entry, and, by extension, instruction missed.

In any of these cases, were parents notified to pick up their children, or were they left to the elements of nature and predators? What would the minister, the principals and the school boards say to parents if some act of violence should be committed against these children while they are unsupervised and on the streets?

These students who are in violation, as deemed by the schools, should be kept on the compound; given detention, if necessary; and their parents or guardians contacted.

The issue of uniforms has been a running battle between educators and students. The educators have lost their grip on discipline and are seeking to regain the upper hand through this means. While in principle this may seem practical, if the methods are heavy-handed and unreasonable, it would only defeat its intended objective.

While the students need to conform to rules, they must appear to be fair and allow for student involvement.

It may be time to revisit the uniforms as they now exist with a view to getting input from parents and students on what they will have to wear. In so doing, there would be no room for disagreement or miscommunication. The students of each school would feel like an important decision maker and take ownership of an important part of their identity.


Toronto, Canada