Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Letter of the Day | Schools shouldn’t go overboard in enforcing discipline

Published:Saturday | September 16, 2023 | 12:05 AM


It’s not often that I support the policy decisions of the minister of education. However, her position on principals barring students from class as punishment for an infraction (real or perceived) is very heartening. Minister Williams has announced unequivocally that students are not to be barred from attending classes.

Her recent announcement came shortly after a principal made public his intention to prevent a student from going to class for having what I consider a self-demeaning inscription on his school bag, ‘Dunce’. Instead of barring the student, why not just take the bag and follow up with much-needed counselling. Minister Williams further intimated that the practice of barring students is not only counterproductive, but also illegal. The ministry take a stand against overzealous principals, who are otherwise good principals.

Principals, school boards, and the Ministry of Education have been fortunate that working-class citizens are not litigious-minded nor have the means to seek redress in the courts. Constitutionally, students must not be barred from accessing learning opportunities provided by a school without providing appropriate alternatives. Least those school leaders forget, children do have constitutional rights that must be protected at all costs. Yes, enforce discipline, but not at the expense of a child’s right to education.


Sandy Bay, Clarendon