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AWRIGHT DEN – Of uniformity

Corey Worrell

AWRIGHT DEN – Of uniformity

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I am sick and tired and tired and sick of seeing schoolchildren wearing the wrong school uniform. When
I was a student, the majority of students were not guilty of this, but over the last five years the wearing of the wrong school uniforms seems to have become a trend.
I blame parents as well as principals for allowing this behaviour to continue. When I was going to school, my mother ensured I followed the school rules. It was never an option, neither was it up for discussion. It never mattered what was in style or fashionable; once it wasn’t in accordance with the rules I knew I would have been wasting time telling her about it.
I cannot remember a single occasion when I went to school wearing anything that did not fit in with the school rules. Yes, some students would leave home one way and make changes to their uniform on their way to school or while at school. Me? I would never risk that. I knew the consequences if my mother found out.
I have seen students attend school for a full year wearing the incorrect pants material, shoes, socks and also wearing jewellery. I have also seen hairstyles that I believe are not appropriate for school.
Many parents who question the dress rules followed them when they were at school, and that has done them well. Furthermore, they go to their places of employment and readily conform to the rules and regulations without significant quarrelling.
When adults apply for a job and are accepted, they know they either have to comply with the rules or leave.
I think the same approach should be taken in all schools.
Parents have asked: “What is the relationship between dress and academic performance?” I would respond with this question: “What is the relationship between dress and performance on the job?”
We complain about rules and their enforcement, but without rules there can be no development of character – nor can there be any order within society. Take a look at Singapore and see how the enforcement of rules has helped that country to be one of the fastest developing countries in the world.
We allow schoolchildren to break rules and then we are shocked and disappointed at the level of unproductivity and laziness within our Civil Service. Let’s not forget that these same schoolchildren will be our next Civil Service.
I went to Foundation during the days of the great principal Major Barker. He was a feared and respected principal. I can remember on the first day of fourth form, Major Barker lined up all the senior male students in the hall and asked each student to pull up his pants legs.
Any student who was in breach of the school rules by wearing socks that were not black or blue was sent home. That day more than 50 students were sent home.
There were two minibuses that brought children to school just after 9 a.m. Please note the bell rang at 8:35 a.m. Many students waited in town or on the route for these buses because they were popular.
One morning I watched Major Barker walk to the gate just before 9 a.m. Just after 9, the two buses pulled up outside the school, blaring the latest dancehall tunes.
As the conductors and students got off the buses, Major Barker closed the gate and informed the conductors and students that school started at 8:35 a.m. After that incident the number of students arriving at school late significantly dropped.
On another occasion, I was invited to conduct a three-day workshop at Springer Memorial School. During my time there I did not see any students with uniforms above their knees or wearing the incorrect uniform.
I believe the system needs strong, principled principals. Each time I see students arriving at school late and wearing the incorrect school uniform I feel as if the principals are not doing their jobs. 
Children need guidance but they also need consistency. Remember, the students of today will shape our society tomorrow.
Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email [email protected]

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