Sun | Sep 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | Do children in Jamaica really have rights?

Published:Thursday | February 20, 2020 | 12:00 AM


I am a 13-year-old student from a prominent all-boys school in Jamaica, and I wish that the identity of myself and my school to remain anonymous.

It is with great displeasure and dissatisfaction that I am writing this letter. On several occasions, I have been victimised and bullied by teachers, and it leaves me to wonder if teachers are here to break us or nurture us. Recently, I have had some unpleasant encounters with my general science teacher. At first, I tried to ignore the fact that she has been constantly picking on me in her classes, but after a while, her unreasonable attitude has escalated to the point where even when she sees me in public, she stares at me in disgust. She has even gone as far as pointing her fist in my face, while biting her lips in temper and saying, ‘Yuh see you likkle bwoy’.

This has led me to wonder if something is seriously wrong with me, and this has affected my self-esteem as well as my level of self-confidence.

In a recent scenario, she refused to allow a child who was in urgent need of using the restroom to do so, as a result, he urinated on himself in the classroom. It pains my heart to see the embarrassment on his face, as the entire class was present. The student was weeping and was begging her, saying he could no longer hold his urine. Her heartless action after this was to put him on detention for urinating on himself.

There were also other students, including myself, who were unfairly punished. In that same instant, she shouted in my face saying, ‘You are so disgusting. You upset my soul, and all you do in my class is sit and chat’.

I do understand the pressure teachers undergo on a daily basis, especially in the public schools where there are many students that one teacher has to manage, but does that give them the right to discriminate against students? Do children have rights within the school system? Are the persons that should be advocating for us doing so?

Today I voice my opinion, but since children appear to have no rights, I speak not only for myself, but for all the children in Jamaica who fall victim of these unreasonable adults.