The amount of damage to school property by students of the Frederick Smith Secondary School is causing the board of management grave concern.
Additionally, its deputy chairman today also expressed worries about the number of children being suspended for serious infractions.
Speaking during the school’s annual speech day, in the absence of chairman Canon George Knight, Deputy Chairman Ricardo Briggs said:
“The chairman is deeply disturbed and disappointed when any area of the school’s life falls short of the high standards expected. In that regard, he has asked me to highlight a few areas about which he and the board have very serious concerns.
The[y] … are troubled by what appears to be the deliberate and senseless damage to school property, which is occurring on a continuous basis. In this very difficult economic environment, the board is not in possession of the funds needed to conduct the day to day maintenance that is associated with an ageing plant and can therefore ill afford to divert already scarce resources to repair furniture, windows, doors etc, that are willfully vandalised.
“While the education acts permits the surcharging of parents for any damage caused by their children, much of the destruction takes place out of the sight, or with the collusion of others, and we are seldom able to identify the perpetrators and so recover the cost of the repairs.
“You may rest assured that the board will support any measures to recoup the cost from the parents of any student who is caught vandalising school property,” he warned. “We are therefore appealing to students who are engaged in these destructive practices to desist from so doing, not only in your own interest, but in the interest of your fellow students who are here for the sole purpose of enhancing the academic, technical and social skills.”
Briggs added: “The board is also equally concerned about the number of students who are suspended for serious infractions. The board noted with alarm that of the ten students suspended during the reporting period, eight were sanctioned for rude and disrespectful behaviour towards or in the presence of members of the teaching staff.
“It is a dangerous and unacceptable trend when teachers become the victims of disorderly conduct and the board will not tolerate such indiscipline.
“We would like therefore, to appeal to all students not to engage in behaviour which would bring your school into disrepute or that would bring shame on you and your family.”
He however stressed that while there were areas of concern, there was much to rejoice about at the Frederick Smith Secondary School, noting that many students were doing well academically, as well as achieving success in art, sports and other extra curricular activities.
Meanwhile, Acting Principal Coreen Campbell, spoke of the need for parents to pay more attention to the requirements of their children, pointing our that too many on the roll failed to participate in activities that would build their self esteem, and failed to do the homework that would prepare them to in-class activities.
“This failure to do homework is clearly manifested in the indifferent approach of some students to their school based assessment projects,” she said.
“What should be an opportunity to go into the examination with some reasonable marks becomes an on-going battle with the students to get even a reasonable effort.” (RRM)