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Thirty-two Daryll Jordan Secondary students who were this morning suspended after arriving at school more than an hour late should be back in class next Wednesday.

Fed up with what he termed “persistent lateness” by some of those students who were seen “hanging around” the Speightstown Bus Terminal this morning, principal Stephen Jackman told Barbados TODAY via telephone that while he handed out more than 30 letters, the group of latecomers was actually larger.

Some of the youngster left the school after he said he would be giving them letters.

“We recognized the faces of the students as people we would have dealt with up to yesterday. Some of them were flogged yesterday by myself and the deputy principal. Before we flogged them [yesterday] and on a previous occasion, parents were called. Some of them have been late as many as 15, 16 and even 20 times this term.

“The action we took today was based on persistent late coming. They also arrived at 9:55 today which is an hour and ten minutes after school starts. School starts at 8:45 a.m.

“We issue about 100 late slips every day. Some of the students – from Crab Hill and Checker Hall – have services that come directly to the school, but they opt to go to Speightstown. Some of them live along the Black Rock stretch which are serviced by buses,” he said.

The administrator noted that a few of the parents who they had called on an earlier occasions, gave excuses such as their charges had to take their younger siblings to school and had to wait on money, but there has been no improvement in the situation.

Jackman explained that an official from the Transport Board’s St Peter terminal, called the school to highlight the situation. That person assumed the students were “unable to get to school” and  “pulled a route bus” to ensure they could get on their way, but the students flat out refused to board it saying they would head to the Trents institution after “church” was over referring to the special service held as part of the 42nd anniversary celebrations.

The group, which included students from first to fifth formers, then boarded a van which the police stopped by the parish church for being off route and they walked the short distance to the school.

Jackman said it was a “concerned citizen” who advised the students to go to the Ministry of Education complex on Constitution Road, which they did.

The principal said that he spoke to Deputy Chief Education Officer (School) Karen Best on the matter and “[she] asked me to hold on the letter while they investigated the matter”. However, he had already issued the letter.

When questioned, two of the students at the Ministry’s Elsie Payne Complex said there were about 32 of them that had been sent home by the principal.

“It is a group of us that from first, second and third form. They got some from upper fifth that in there too. All because the bus come late and we get school late, he send we home,” one vocally expressed.

Another said they had got the bus and headed to the Ministry to protest and to have their voices heard drawn.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones said he would be
in a position to speak on the matter after he was
properly briefed.

Commenting on the action taken, principal of Graydon Sealy Secondary School, Matthew Farley, told Barbados TODAY that in the past he had this challenge, but this was no longer the case.

While not going into extensive discussion on the Daryll Jordan Secondary School situation, Farley said: “. . . Sometimes you would have to do what Mr Jackman would have done, and that is suspend the child to get the attention of the parent. Sometimes following that, you would have a conference to really highlight your concerns.  Sometimes you are forced to do that when all else has failed.


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