FULL STORY: Angry parents

Anesta Henry,

Added 17 October 2012

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Angry parents yesterday descended on the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, demanding the immediate withdrawal of 265 suspension letters issued by principal Matthew Farley for alleged uniform infringements. The parents started converging on the former Garrison School compound from as early as 8 a.m. And by 10 a.m. more than a dozen could be heard outside the principal’s office loudly venting their concerns. This follows Monday’s all-school inspection, carried out by Farley and other senior teachers, which ended with the issuing of the controversial letters of suspension to members of the 942-strong student body. Police were called in to keep the peace, and when a team from the MIDWEEK NATION visited, the office was crowded with students and parents who were being met one at a time by the principal. Sheldon Gittens, whose son, a third former, was sent home for five days for wearing oversized trousers, felt the principal’s action was extreme. “The size under what he is wearing is too small. This is the size that he has been wearing since last year. He went through a whole year wearing this size trouser that I bought in Cave Shepherd, and yesterday he was sent home for it. “He was sent home for five days from learning. I got five days of his being home, running about not knowing what is going to happen to him,” Gittens said.Another parent, Vanita Forde, said her daughter was sent home because her skirt was “too short”. However, pointing to the child’s uniform, she argued that it was actually two inches below the knee.“I came up here because I believe that five days is too much for a child to be away from school for a matter like this,” said Forde who strongly argued that there were double standards at the school. “I come up here and I see some teachers dressed with earrings in them lips, long eyelashes. If a teacher can dress that way for the children to see, and them should be setting an example, them should get send home too,” she said. Lois Watson, who is the grandmother of one of the students, agreed with Forde’s position. “I don’t like this. I am up here for nothing . . . . I am missing work for this. She has a right to be at school learning. She should not be home in no house. “He [Farley] taking away the children rights to be at school. And then I hearing about this teacher whose lips pierced, long extended eyelashes, a lot of make-up, and she still at school. Mr Farley can do better than this; he is the principal.”Maxine Leacock was upset that she was forced to miss work to deal with her daughter’s suspension.“This is nonsense. I have ensured that all of her uniforms were made to the two inches. I don’t know if he want me put them to she ankles to throw she down. She shouldn’t be missing class; she got examinations coming up . . . ." “I don’t understand what going on up here, because I went to the year head and talk to the year head about it, and them say them ain’t see nothing wrong with the uniform.” When contacted, Farley said he was “in the process of preparing a statement to the school’s board of management” and after that he would be in a position to speak to the media.Chief Education Officer Laurie King could not be reached for comment. This is not the first time students of the school have found themselves on the wrong side of the school gate. In 2007 Farley sent home 200 students deeming their clothing inappropriate.

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