KINGSTON, Jamaica –
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Suspension from school is not punishment
Two Form Three pupils of the Ste Madeleine Secondary School were suspended earlier this week as a result of their actions against protesting teachers. Mr Minister, you stated that “after they have served the required period of suspension, they will be enrolled at a learning enhancement centre, where hopefully they will undergo sessions aimed at behavioural modification so that they will know that type of behaviour is not going to be condoned.”
Whilst I support the learning enhancement activities, (although the word “hopefully”worries me–do you not know what happens at the centre?) may I suggest that the suspension they will serve prior to that, is not a penalty for the children. Instead, it increases the burden on their parents who now must make arrangements for their supervision during working hours, perhaps even take time off work themselves to care for their children.
Instead of suspension, why don’t we:
1. Put offending/delinquent children through a programme similar to the Civilian Corps, where they are taught discipline, respect and teamwork.
2. Or have them come back to their school and clean up the grounds, paint the walls, scrub the washrooms.
3. Or have them serve their suspension doing community service.
The children are probably quite thrilled to have time away from school. The only ones who really suffer here are their parents.