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Letter: An investigation is called for into school complaints

Published on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

As a parent I am not advocating that sanctions should not be taken if a child misbehaves in school and I do believe in letting a child know when he/she is wrong. However as a parent I have an issue when it appears that my child along with others from a particular family or socioeconomic demographic are targeted or discriminated against.

It is interesting to know that certain organisations that uphold discipline and protocol have the capacity to manage and work with my child but the educational system appears to fail him. If my child was such a terror, why was he identified as a leader and conducted himself in such a manner within Youth Parliament? If my child was such a terror, why was he able to conduct lessons for his peers at the Cadet Corps?

I am aware that the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps offered to provide assistance to the school when managing children with disciplinary issues, as they have personnel with such expertise; however, their offer was ignored by the previous principal.

Instead, we have police officers who use a form of control that is not best suited for our students. Security is needed in the school, I agree, but more so the school needs people within the system who can facilitate learning in the classroom and help the teachers.

The education system is suppose to improve on the strengths of children, not look for every opportunity to label them and exclude them. If my child was so problematic, the system should have devised a way to work on his weakness, improve his strengths and assist me as a parent with making better decisions.

My child is not being allowed to graduate along with another 64 students. This is a very high number of ineligible students -- what has gone wrong? In addition to not being able to graduate, the school, or one particular teacher has made it her point to ensure that certain persons cannot attend prom. The school manages what happens for graduation, but it has now overstepped its boundaries. Can the school dictate who one carries as a date?

Children are not perfect, nor are the parents, and on many occasions we need assistance. However, there are certain facets of the educational fraternity who continue to target particular students and families. This must be addressed. One person complaining is one thing, but over 20 persons, who are unrelated with no connections that have the same complaint, I would suggest that an investigation is due.

Sherryann Smith
 
Reads : 845

Comments:

Casandra Miller:
This is a sad day in the Cayman Islands. The action taken against these victimised children is a terror.

Regardless of how many teachers in the system are supporting this action that will have serious social consequences, we as an intelligent society are fully aware that this is not the way forward for our youth.

There are many ways in which to kill a chicken without wringing his head off! Some other form of punishment could have been used to correct these children's behaviour.
Education is first a constitutional right, and then a privilege which should not be taken for granted; it’s the student's prerogative.

There are far too many foreign teachers in the school system that are prejudiced and biased against our local kids and they will deliberately victimise them for the least little thing, just because they can.

We have all seen the demonstration of our current government's dictatorship in action; could this be a political ploy? Were these kids on a political hit list? 65 children not graduating is nothing to sneeze at! Obviously these kids have been victimised!

The other newspaper seems to be suppressing the possible truth and high suspicion of what happened to these students in a letter I read on CNS by another contributor. Something in this milk is not clean and I smell a rat a big one!

As a parent, I feel that these children were indeed targeted.

Someone please investigate; get the list of names of the children that were not allowed to graduate, check it out and see if their parents are of any particular political party or interest, This looks very political!

If it is, we have to get to the bottom of it, expose it, and hold those responsible for such harsh acts of terror against these children.

Please be reminded that the Christian schools do not handle these situations any better than the public schools, so don't let anything surprise you.

Where are these children going to go? Was this planned? It’s a disgrace, and a shameful act committed by people in our society. The work permits or contracts of those vindictive teachers or principal responsible for such a harsh attack on our society must be cancelled and revoked!

C. Miller
Tampa, Fla

John Smith:
Malachai Powery;
I congratulate you for supporting your wife with your long letter, but I also congratulate Ms Sherry Ann Smith even more, and others voicing their concerns and standing up for what is right. Just because a person professes Christianity does not license them to not be scrutinized or criticized. This is not a religious matter. This is 65 children whose lives are in limbo, and the true measure of this bad judgment on the school's part is that “they are dead wrong”.

Your mention of the strap being brought back into the school is non-relevant to the subject. There are many forms of very effective punishment which were not even considered for these students. The harshest, most abusive, and terroristic form of indictment against these children has been used, and it is a crying shame.

Malachai; you and your wife, head of year l2, should be fully aware if you have read the Constitution of the Cayman Islands, that the children have a right to an education; this is including graduation and prom as a part of the final process! Where are you living? I guess because Mrs Powery is a West Bayer; that is the reason, and conflict of interest, why Mr Rolston Anglin, the Minister for Education another West Bayer, has not come out like a man and faced the people on this subject? It is a shame. It is clear that most of our problems and heart ache, and harsh vindictive acts and threats of terror seem to always be coming from those granted way too much power - they being residents or citizens of this Western District! Is it a dictatorship Republic?!

You are a heartless set of people. The West Bayer Premier threatening the media and constituents with jail and heavy fines; now another of your West Bay constituents is looked upon as heartless and mean, and rightfully so. How can you be so heartless? What did these children do? Did they commit these recent robberies? Did they rape anyone? Did they assault any teachers? We will continue to blame those responsible for this harsh action until you have faced the people of the Cayman Islands in a press conference, and act like intelligent educated people bringing some answers.

Mr Malachai; do not under estimate the intelligence of the people by thinking your letter of support for your own will do the trick - not this time!

We demand answers, and it better be good. This is a historical disgrace; 65 children not graduating? If it were your child, you would be in this forum like everyone else fighting the issue because they are wrong in this; action taken. Another sort of punishment should have been considered, and you know it! There was absolutely no reason for this harsh treatment; it is abusive and is an assault on our youth.

As a reminder; Fidel Castro has been the President of Cuba, our neighboring communist country, for about 59 years now, and he has been wrong for 59 years. He is a dictator and has taken the rights of the people away to live in fear and bondage.

John Gray High School and its principal are depriving 65 students from graduating or attending their High School Prom. It is uncalled for and it is in direct violation of their constitutional rights governing their education, and they have been victimized - each and every one of them! John Gray High School and its Principal and teachers, like Fidel Castro, are now wrong 65 times! This must never happen again.

Sarah:
I wrote about this issue last year; not letting a child graduate because they wore their skirt too short was stupid - and then the teacher going out of her way to let the bank where the child applied for a job know that the child did not graduate once she found out that the child had gotten a job! When the teacher was asked about this, her reply was...”Yes she did pass her grades, but could not graduate because she wore her skirt too short a couple of times and received detention for this”. Excuse me, but those are frivolous things; only in the Cayman Islands! You study hard all year, pass all your grades, and during that time decide to be a teenager and wear your skirt too short and viola! Your good grades and hard studying were for nothing. Way to go! Sherryann; I feel for you. Obviously the parent in this case was doing her job, making sure that the child studied, but again her reward was to be told her child would not graduate. Someone had better start listening to the parents of these kids that are not allowed to graduate because of frivolous crap like this!

Lance B.:
This is a very sad situation. However; the parents need to take a very good look in the mirror at themselves. How can one parent have two children, and neither child graduates? How can that be and the parent is still blaming other people? How can the same parent continue to make excuses year after year for their children not having basics manners and respect for the rules? There certainly needs to be an investigation here, and it should start in the homes with a social services inquest.

Lopez:
Oh dear. This is another sad exchange of unproven accusations and xenophobia in these letters of Ms Smith and Ms Miller. I feel sorry for any parent who has to cope with children who are struggling to succeed in the education system, but there are very clear expectations for graduation, I'm sure, including the behaviour and effort of the child. Just because a student can flourish outside a school does not mean they are succeeding as well within it, and there can be many reasons for that. Ultimately, the student has to do certain work, obey certain codes and follow rules. Failure to do this will result in a failure to graduate for any student; regardless of background. However; I hope the schools will continue to improve their communication with parents and students so that there are less casualties of the system and more early intervention and opportunities for success. Nevertheless; the tirade Ms Miller embarks upon is redolent of previous discrimination she has uttered elsewhere. There are “far too many foreign teachers”, as she puts it, because not enough Caymanians want to be educators or have the necessary qualifications. The idea that teachers victimise, and are prejudiced and biased against local children is nothing short of libelous. What proof does Ms Miller have? How much classroom observations in Cayman's schools has she done? And if she thinks foreign teachers have either the time or inclination to pursue the interests of political parties they may not even vote for, then Ms Miller has completely lost the plot. Ultimately, standards must be raised in Cayman - high expectations for student responsibility, parental responsibility, and teacher responsibility. The educators have systems of accountability which can be proven. The society, “the village” needs to support the effort of teachers when children only spend six hours a day, five times a week with them; less vacation time. The majority of their time, the nurture and influences are outside of school.

Tom McField:
C. Miller said: “There are far too many foreign teachers in the school system that are prejudiced and biased against our local kids ...”

C. Miller; when are you moving back to Cayman to take up a teaching position in our schools?


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