EDITORIAL: Set high standards for students
THERE IS CAUSE FOR PAUSE as a country when a politician can make a call for teachers to dress better, and for searches of students’ bags to be conducted to make sure there are no weapons in them.
It was Cynthia Forde, MP for St Thomas and a former teacher, who raised the two issues while speaking on Tuesday during the Estimates debate in Parliament.
During her presentation, she made the observation that some janitors and general workers were better dressed for the job than some teachers who were going to school untidy.
This is a sad indictment on our teachers who must understand the critical role they play in setting examples and shaping the minds of their charges from an early age.
Teachers are not only role models for students but they are the adults who these young people are exposed to for most of the day.
We therefore expect them to be responsible and not reckless as they carry out their teaching duties.
Recognising that young people are impressionable and easily influenced, it is incumbent on teachers to set the tone and the standard by which students operate and go through life.
Today, many of our young people are not only misguided but are often led astray by peers and others who lure them off the right path. It is therefore important that teachers keep them on the straight and narrow, guiding them and reprimanding them when they go wrong.
For these lessons to be instructive for students, teachers must make sure that they send the right message, not only with their words, but actions and even dress.
The reality is that in societies across the globe, teachers are held to a different standard and with good reason. The future of our youth, to a large part, falls in their hands.
Students also have a responsibility when it comes to their education. Instead of travelling to school with weapons in their bags, these should be replaced with books to feed their brains.
This is not the first time that a call has been made for searches to be done of students’ bags. It was made some years ago but never became reality.
Weeks ago, the local teachers’ unions sounded the alarm that some schools were becoming war zones and battlefields and that teachers were also more fearful for their lives now than before, given the weapons discovered in classrooms or on school grounds.
There is merit in the call made by Miss Forde for searches and we endorse her caution that these must be done the right way.
It is time we set the standards for our students. After all, they are the future leaders of our country.