Out for redress
by Emmanuel Joseph
Hundreds of students have been suspended from the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, formerly the Garrison Secondary, for apparently breaching the dress code.
Unconfirmed reports put the number at 281 suspended for up to five days.
Police were called in today to ensure law and order were maintained as some angry parents went to the school to discuss the matter with Principal Matthew Farley.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited the school this afternoon, the visibly upset parents bearing letters from Farley, said they had been informed their children’s uniforms were too short in the case of females or trousers were too baggy, with respect to the boys.
It is understood the required length of the dresses was at least two inches below the knees.
The suspensions, sources said, took effect yesterday and were initially intended to last five days. However, at least three of the more than half dozen families who either met with Farley or waited in his outer office to meet with him, said he had later reduced the five days to four.
They protested the suspension, arguing that there was nothing wrong with the uniforms.
In fact, the uniforms worn by the suspended students who waited with their parents to discuss the issue with the principal, could not be considered short or slack.
The lone male student seen, whose father said his son was sent home for wearing a baggy pants, showed the team from this newspaper the boy wearing what he said was the same trousers.
Some who observed the male students complained to Barbados TODAY that rather than being baggy, the pair of pants could reasonably be considered too tight.
“It is a waste of time coming up here because this man got he mind made up. He isn’t listening to we. My son missed class yesterday, today, and will miss tomorrow, and he tell we my son can come to school Thursday. But there is no school on Friday. What is the sense coming to school one day. It is a waste of my time. My son doesn’t want to stay home, he want to be in school,” declared Sheldon Gittens, who left the principal’s office infuriated after waiting for more than an hour.
The atmosphere inside the principal’s office was tense, as some parents openly expressed their anger about the decision to suspend their children. Reporters also indicated that some parents who openly threatened to harm the principal had to be calmed by others.
In fact, a number of parents spoke of one man who told them he waited quietly to meet Farley this afternoon with the intention of beating him, but had a change of heart.
A security guard stood vigil at the door of the principal’s office for much of the day while parents and their children queued outside or waited inside.
Some parents told this newspaper they had to take almost a day from work to accompany their children to the school to see Farley for “bare foolishness”.
When a representative from this newspaper went to see Farley this afternoon he said he would email “something” because he had to deal with parents who had been waiting since early this morning.
Up to the time of publication, that email had not been received and subsequent efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.