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OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: Ministry wrong on suspensions

Reverend Errington Massiah

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What a day we had last Friday. I was soaked leaving my car to go into the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation to be part of the programme Talk Ya Talk, Priest. That was also the day we recorded two more murders and 32 students were suspended.
I am sure that Stephen Jackman, principal of the Daryll Jordan Secondary School, will never forget that day. He made the decision to suspend 32 students for chronic lateness, some of whom had been late as many as 20 times since the beginning of the current term.
The Ministry of Education overturned his decision and put the suspensions on hold. That should never have happened. The principal is the person on the compound and he’s the one familiar with the situation.
The ministry was wrong to take the stance it did. By doing so, it has now opened a can of worms. When those students turned up at the ministry, the officials and staff should not have entertained them. It was the first time that students had gone to the ministry to complain about a principal.
I am sure that students from other schools will be doing likewise from now on. What a pity! Those students were out of place. Principals are appointed to run and manage our schools. Jackman is the person on the spot and he should know what he is doing.
One cannot help but ask – what is the role of the principal? The Daryll Jordan situation is a case of the tail wagging the dog.
Come on, let us get it right.
The question that must be asked is – how could the students protest against their own principal and get the ministry to go against his decision? Where’s the support for the educators who have the mountainous task of educating some very rude and disrespectful students.
I must support the principal for maintaining discipline in the school. Too many of the recent actions of the ministry seem to be undermining the discipline of students and, by extension, future generations.
The ministry needs to support its principals for it is the ministry that appointed them. Let us all work together for a better society. Discipline in all areas of this country has fallen apart.