Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Letter of the Day | Do not ‘mash up’ the schools

Published:Saturday | June 19, 2021 | 12:06 AM


I am convinced, more than ever, that the stakeholders and those at the very helm of the education sector are the reason that our schools are plagued with certain problems. These leaders seem to be sending mixed messages on important issues. By their words, they are seeking to erode principals’ authority in schools and attempting to weaken the very foundation on which schools are built. I refer to the recent media release issued by the Ministry of Education regarding hairstyles of students. It is scandalous for the ministry to issue such statement, which suggests that anything goes. Don’t we know that some of the hairstyles that young people sport are inappropriate for schools?

Are we to believe that the minister of education is telling our society that students can turn up at school with just about any hairstyle and it should be business as usual? Are we so modern that certain principles and rules are outdated?

Well, if principals and other school leaders cannot correct students and guide them into acceptable behaviour, then we have a grave problem at hand.

Instead of working counter to good discipline and deportment, the Ministry of Education needs to provide as much support to our schools to maintain decency among the student population. Part of discipline is the grooming of the hair. And even if a particular hairstyle is worn for religious reasons, proper grooming will not interfere with one’s right in that regard.

The discussion is really about those hairstyles which is promoted in some hip hop and dancehall music and films – those with a fashion statement. We do not need them in our schools, where we are supposed to teach students to determine appropriateness of behaviour.

As someone who works in the school system and has taught students with behavioural problems, I know that many parents wish that schools could provide an antidote for their uncontrollable children.

I suggest to the powers that be that with all the societal decadence, crime and violence, gangs and criminal enclave, the school (and the church) remain the only institutions vested with the influence to create any sort of meaningful change among our young people. Let us not rob our youth of the discipline which they may not know they need until later on.

Many adults today, when they look back at their earlier years, can only express gratitude to those who corrected them, even through tough love. No chastening seems good at first but the value is priceless later on.

Allow our principals to continue to chasten our students to be the best men and women of tomorrow.