Principal of the Parkinson Memorial School, Jeff Broomes, will be empowering his prefects and is looking to establish a students’ council from end of term to deal with issues of indiscipline among their peers.
At a meeting to address a number of changes coming for the new school term, the principal told parents that a students’ council was one of the measures they were hoping to have in place by term’s end.
“We are of the view that all school discipline must involve all members of the school and to that end involve student leaders, that is why we have a prefect corps … We have also discussed a student council and the elections for that will come at the end of this term, so come September we will have a vibrant student council…
“Obviously the prefects are an extension, and the student council should be representative of the student body and they are the ones who should be looking out for the interest of the children to ensure everything goes well,” he said.
The principal added that prefects should not be leaders in name alone, but expressed the view that it was time they be treated like the powerful leaders they were expected to be.
Stating that he grew up in a school where prefects could give detention, lines and other disciplinary measures for bad behaviour, Broomes said he was expecting his prefects to do the same.
“I do not see why in 2013 prefects should just be a name of a badge. They must have authority to execute actions, sanctions against children whom they see infringing. Teachers cannot see everything, teachers cannot be seen as the only ones who can respond to infractions. So I believe in student leadership and our students should be so given that authority,” he noted.
Additionally, Broomes said he would continue to use in-school and lunch-time detention, flogging, lines, in-school “community service” and counselling as measures to deal with indiscipline as well.
He however had strong words for parents, warning them not to force the school to take actions to discipline their children that they did not want. As such, he told parents he was realising that some did not want to parent or discipline their children, but instead left it up to the school.
The principal said he had met with all fifth formers, sent letters home to their parents about the hairstyles of girls and the wearing of jewellery by students sitting CXCs.
Stressing that the school rules did not permit extensions or braids, he said, “Unfortunately some parents don’t seem to have any control and then they send to school the child with all kinds of weaves and braids and add-ons reaching all down the backs …
“The school is a training ground. We are preparing children for the world of work and for the world of education and there are certain things we must understand that we must do as a school. We must insist on levels/standards of discipline that can see people through. At the end of the day it is our country that will rise and fall based on the behaviours and actions of our children. (LB)