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Dress code in effect

Students and parents outside of the Steer Town Academy yesterday.

KINGSTON — Several students, the majority of them males, were turned away from the newly opened Steer Town Academy yesterday after their attire was deemed inappropriate.

Chairman of the school board, Neville Williams – who said he wants the school to become a model institution – said indiscipline including lack of respect for school rules will not be tolerated.

“Go home! You are not coming in here like that! That pants cannot come in here!” Williams shouted to a male student who was wearing a tight-fitting pants yesterday on the first morning of the new school year.

“Those of you with the tight pants, don’t even try it!” Williams declared.

The boy and several others were sent through the school gate as well as several females whose skirts stopped inches short of the required length.

Williams, joined by the school’s Dean of Discipline Hugh Johnson, other members of staff and a police team manned the entrance to the facility, ensuring that only students who were properly attired were allowed on campus.

He later told the Jamaica Observer there will be a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of indiscipline, whether from students or their parents.

“For me, the first sign of discipline has to do with uniform and if you are not in compliance with that, you are at liberty to break whatever rule you want to break when you get in here,” he told the Observer.

Yesterday, a number of parents who wanted to enter the school compound for various reasons, including registration and to hand over lunch money to their children, had to wait in the scorching mid-morning sun while school administrators ensured that the students were settled before they were attended to.

Acting principal for the school, Kelly Rowe explained that the parents could not have been accommodated before the students were dealt with, and that all procedures had been fully explained to them prior to the start of school yesterday.

“It’s all in the name of discipline and that is one of our main focus here at Steer Town Academy. We have to start from now to ensure that we don’t have a recurrence… we couldn’t [tend to] them (parents) before the students were settled,” she told the Observer.

She explained, too, that the school was working to reach as many parents as possible to ensure that the standards and rules of the schools were upheld while at and away from school.

“We just need to reach the parents. The parents are our main concern, as we know discipline and everything starts at home. So, once we get the parents on board, everything will be fine,” she said.

Yesterday, majority of the approximately 900 students turned out for classes at the facility, for which construction was delayed for about two years.

“School got off to a fine start and we will work with what we have until we get all that we want,” Rowe said, explaining that in addition to other amenities, there were some 21 classrooms and 17 laboratories.

“We plan to work with the students to get them to where we want them. Some might not be academically inclined, but currently our curriculum caters to those… students,” she said. (Observer)

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