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EDITORIAL – Teacher and parent can do vandalism in

luigimarshall, [email protected]

EDITORIAL – Teacher and parent can do vandalism in

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PERHAPS, the best way of holding a delinquent student accountable for his misbehaviour is having him remedy the problem he created. You broke it, fix it!
And if the damage is such that parents must pay for it, let it be; and maybe the parents could be guided in finding a suitable way for their guilty child to work off at least some of the cost.
In this regard, we applaud the principal of Coleridge & Parry for his decisive action in bringing to heel the bus graffiti brigade coming out of his school. The scrawling of meaningless or unsavoury – or even intelligible – messages on the property of others is definitely unacceptable.
Mr Vincent Fergusson’s actions were admirably measured. There was an investigation after the Barbados Transport Board’s report to him, and the offenders identified. Then the parents of the offenders were informed and presented with the options of punishment: offending students would repair the damage or face the police and the law courts. In the best interest of everyone, restitution was the choice of the day.
Of note though was Mr Fergusson’s revelation that some parents, infuriated by the reported deed of their charges, swore their punishment at home would have been stiffer. The principal didn’t elaborate; but we proffer it would have been blisteringly corporal.
Sometimes the little signals of vandalism are missed. They come in the simplest of forms: doodling in and on books belonging to others; writing up desks; writing on the blackboard without permission; marking up class walls – to the more serious smashing of school furniture.
When these habits are allowed to go unchecked the vandals will take on bigger projects: more challenging tasks – the Transport Board bus ceilings for example.
School students can never have too much advice on the importance of caring for the property of others or of the school, or on what is expected of them should they lose or damage property not their own. They must be imbued with a sense of replacing broken property on their account, or compensating the owner in some other way.
Mr Fergusson offered an explanation for the vandalizing of the bus: absence of supervision.
“[The students] are supervised here all day under rigid supervision, and then they have this sudden burst of freedom and they misbehave themselves.”
It seems Mr Fergusson has the arduous task of instilling in his students that the discipline they demonstrate in the classrooms and on the school compound is to be extended all the way home.
Parental support will be crucial to preventing future vandalism; parental communication will be key in ensuring the discipline taught at school is not undermined in the home.
Parent and teacher must be on the same page.