Minister, you serious?

Corey Worrell,

Added 08 November 2012


Just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I jumped into my jeep and was on my way to work. As usual, I stopped and bought a paper from the vendor on the side of the road. While waiting in at the traffic lights, I decided to skim the Front and Back Pages of THE NATION. The Back Page headline Give An Inch – Jones: Principals Must Use Discretion In Enforcing School Rules caught my attention. I looked up and the lights were still red, so I proceeded to read. After reading the first four paragraphs, I was blown away by what I saw. How on God’s green earth can a Minister of Education say “It says that as leaders of an institution, there is a discretion where you operate and if I say that something must be two or three inches in length, if it is an inch and three quarters, once in my view there is what I call decorum, once there is decency shown, I would allow the school to function”? Seriously, minister? Seriously? What message are you really sending to our children and to our parents? In my view, you have just shot down everything that Mr Farley and other principals have fought for as it relates to instilling discipline. You have also given recalcitrant parents ammunition to use against teachers and principals. In general, you have just contradicted the purpose of a rule. The minister believes that discretion should be used in relation to established rules. Based on this premise, contributors to my Facebook discussion believe discretion should be exercised in the following: a. Since teachers work five days a week, discretion should be exercised and they should only attend work for three days. b. Since things are tight financially, discretion should be exercised on my paying no income tax. c. Although my road tax is due, discretion should be exercised to allow me to pay only $200. d. Shopkeepers aren’t to sell alcohol to minors, but discretion should be allowed so that they can sell to 15-year-olds. e. Even though it is illegal to sell coconuts on the shoulder of the highway, discretion should be allowed for them to break the law since they have to make a living. f. Bringing contraband into the island is illegal, but discretion should be exercised to allow one spliff per person. g. Since my car insurance expires today, discretion should allow for me to drive uninsured until payday at the end of the month. h. The rules say that my ZR should only carry 16 seated passengers, discretion should be exercised to allow me to remove the seats from my van, pack in a load and make sure the people get to work early, increase productivity in the work force and not be harassed by policemen. i. If a teacher punishes my child, I as the parent should be allowed to exercise my discretion and flog the teacher. j. The rules say follow the One Way arrow but discretion should be exercised and I should be allowed to go in the opposite way to save my expensive gas. k. Although it may be dangerous, discretion should be exercised for me to smoke a cigarette in a gas station. l. I should use my discretion and park in handicapped spots wherever I go because they’re much closer to where I wanna go. m. Since in the workplace you can wear polo shirts on casual Fridays, discretion should be allowed for men to wear Speedos and women to wear “crutchies”. n. If you lose overs in cricket because of rain, you should use your discretion and add overs because of sun, especially if ya batting good. Rules are established to bring order, discipline and develop character. The use of personal discretion to determine how, when and where to exercise rules is a dangerous practice, which will lead to inconsistencies. The Ministry of Education, principals and teachers must all sing the same tune and be in harmony on the policies and practices established in our schools. • Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email

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