The island’s schools over the years have seen the levels of discipline plummet and it is getting worse.
What is even more disconcerting is that the use of illegal substances by school-aged children is reaching alarming proportions and the hands of the administrators are tied.
This report card came from outspoken Anglican cleric Reverend Errington Massiah, who says these establishments are seriously plagued by indiscipline, violence and a “downright disregard for the school as an institution for learning”.
“There is a level of defiance for the authority of the school and the rules are broken. Don’t talk about punctuality. Children are always late and these are the ones that will go into the workforce of tomorrow. We must remember that time is money,” the rector of the St Aidan’s Anglican Church in St Joseph told the annual Founder’s Day Service of the Barbados Boys’ Scouts Association at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex Sunday evening.
There, he called for an old school approach to tackling the problem bullying in schools – bring back the tamarind rod.
“We have a problem in Barbados where people come together with conferences and all that to deal with bullying thing. You doan need nuh conference; you know what yuh need? Some tamarind rods.
“I attended a private secondary school of which I am proud of today. I attended Federal High School and if we fought on the school bus, if we fought at school, our principal, the late Dacosta Edwards took your shirt off your back with some tamarind rods.
“All of these conferences that you holding wid principals and thing so – a waste of time. Let us get back to the tamarind rods and the strap it is simple as that,” Massiah said as he urged parents to get their children involved in organizations like the Scouts.
“Too many [parents] refuse to insist that their children or their wards comply with school rules. What a pity! [Yet] they would support what our students are doing. Many of them [students] go to school without the necessary tools to support the day’s timetable and expensive brand name bags, nicely strapped on their backs and are often empty.
“ . . . I want to repeat something I said years ago. The worst thing to ever happen to Barbados is free education . . . . People doan value it. In my times at school, there were some boys with good brains but they did not make it beyond primary school because their parents could not afford it.
“Those of us who attended secondary school, we held our heads high. We were a cut above the others. We attended school with pride and dignity but now the floodgate is opened so everyone now would say that it is a right. We have this thing called rights – I have a right
to go,” he lamented.