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Freeport News, The Bahamas, 29 March 2007
New breed of students
By Lededra Marche
Senior FN Reporter
Unacceptable behaviour from a new breed of students is forcing some schools in Grand Bahama to come up with more ingenious disciplinary measures.
Today, old school disciplines like flogging, time out and being sent to the principal's office are no longer viable threats that keep students in line.
Students most likely will laugh at the thought of coming forward to have their ears pulled, or their knuckles cracked by a yard stick, or even holding a rock in one hand while standing on one leg, wearing a dunce hat or getting detention.
St. Paul's College Principal Lin Glinton said the students nowadays go to great extremes to defy authority. In that vein, the institution has adopted a number of the guidelines which the Ministry of Education had set out for government schools, added a few of their own and compiled them into a manual called Rules/Procedures for Creating Safe Schools.
The manual is designed for parents and students and outlines the goals and components of a safe school along with the role of students and parents. The school subscribes to four levels of unacceptable behaviour and their accompanying disciplinary actions.
If after three warnings or disciplinary measures the students fails to conform, Glinton explained that a number of things can be deduced – either the environment is not conducive to the student or visa versa. "We were able this year to also incorporate in-school suspensions where the church is working with us," she added.
As a form of discipline, the principal revealed that there are instances where the cane is used, however, it can only be administered by the principal or vice principal.
The same goes for the administration at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic School as there is a procedure in place where each school has their own discipline committee and based on the severity of the discipline required there are certain hierarchy they must go through.
"For example if someone fights, lies, steals or brings weapons or is involved with some sort of drugs they automatically go straight to administration and are dealt with accordingly," Principal Ken Sampson explained.
Ruth Rolle, senior mistress at Grand Bahama Academy, said all disciplinary actions are documented as well as the corporal punishment which is only carried out by the administrator.
And, after the student is spoken to several times a parent conference is scheduled.
The Seventh-Day Adventist school caters to just over 200 students from grade K-3 to grade 10 and Rolle said they have never had any instance with any parent regarding discipline.
Bishop Michael Eldon Primary and High School Principal Samuel Bethel said there are a number of ways that they discipline the students and, like Grand Bahama Academy, in extreme cases a parent student conference is arranged.
Deputy Director of Government School Security Stephen Plakaris revealed that in the government system a discipline book requires the principal to record any incidence of corporal punishment in the school. That report includes the date, the student's name, the offence committed, the type of punishment who administered and witnessed the punishment.
Corporal punishment accounts for any physical contact that is executed with a belt, cane, ruler or any other object and is done by the principal who can, however, delegate someone else to carry it out.
There have been instances, in fact just this month, where parents have been escorted off school campuses after they were opposed to the way their child was disciplined.
© 2007 The Freeport News
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