(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)– The uniform of the Charlestown Secondary School (CSS) was under unusually high scrutiny on Monday, January 12, 2015. This was when 83 females were suspended from the learning institution because of the inappropriate length of their uniform tunics and skirts.
Since the suspension of the students on Monday, many persons including some parents have expressed their frustration and opinions on the situation on the popular social media site, ‘Facebook’.
One person commented on a post that generated over 200 comments and stated that ‘there are proper ways to do things and CSS must learn to do things properly’. The comment continued, ‘you cannot wake up one day and decide to turn away the whole school and put something like that on a child’s permanent record’.
One person went as far as calling the principal an ‘a**hole’ and indicated that he waited until after a whole term to enforce the rule.
There was one comment in particular that received 45 ‘likes’ from persons.
This comment came from the school’s secretary, Mrs. Ordette Weekes. Mrs. Weekes stated, ‘a lot of these persons who come on here (Facebook) say all sorts of things and cussing have no idea what goes on at school on a daily basis’. She noted that ‘some of the parents feel as if their children are some saints and don’t clarify a complaint before taking it to all the media sources’.
The secretary further stated on the media website that the parents of every child who enters CSS are issued with a copy of the school’s Dress Code and Conduct and School Rules. ‘On top of that, the Principal would have discuss this at PTA meetings and he would have said to the parents that if the students comes to school breaking the rules of the school they will be dealt with, may it be suspension or otherwise’, she said.
Mrs. Weekes lamented that many times some of the female students would come to school with the correct length of their skirt/tunic, but they would turn the waist of the skirt over and over to the length they want it to be.
According to Weekes, while the parents are all peeved about the suspension of their children, the children are happy to go home. She indicated that as she sat at her desk and listened to the chattering of the students, some of them were saying ‘they want a week and they beg them hurry bring the letter so they could go home’.
In closing, she said rules are rules and they must be followed. She noted that, ‘if the students decide to come back with the uniforms not being the correct length they will go back home again until they find the correct length’.
The 83 suspended students returned to school on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 with their parents.
Nevispages spoke to the principal of the school, Mr. Edson Elliot who indicated to this media house that the meeting with the parents went well.
Mr. Elliot said that he was aware of some of the statements made by the parents and others. He indicated however that it is his duty to ensure that the students of CSS comply with the rules of the school.
Elliot pointed out that, “The rule is not new. It has been one of the rules of the school for many years”.
According to the Headmaster, this term the teachers of CSS have noticed that the skirts worn by some of the students were extremely short.
Mr. Elliot denied making an irrational and quick decision to suspend the students with short tunics/skirts on Monday as some parents had indicated. He said that every day last week the students were notified to get their uniforms to the appropriate length. The Principal said 83 of them ignored the request, and decided to return to school with their short tunics/skirts. Elliot said, ‘something had to be done to prevent the skirts from becoming shorter and shorter’.
He said the skirt should be knee length or below the knee. When asked to clarify ‘knee length’, Elliot said, ‘once it touches any part of the knee, it is acceptable’.
In closing Mr. Elliot encouraged all parents to ensure that their children abide by all of the rules of the school.
This was not the first time a situation of this sort had occurred at the Charlestown Secondary School. Earlier last year over 30 students were suspended and asked to return the following day with their parents after those students failed to wear the school’s crest as part of the uniform of the school. On that occasion, the Headmaster, Mr. Edson Elliot attested to the fact that the students were given numerous chances to have the crest attached to their uniform shirts. He indicated that the school even facilitated demonstrations as to how the school’s crest should be worn. Despite this, many students and parents ignored the rule.
In addressing the issue with the crest, the principal told this media house that the crest was a part of the school’s uniform, and the school’s attire was important since it reflected the discipline standards of the institution. Elliot reiterated then that the crest should be worn appropriately at all times.