If the head of the grouping of owners of public service vehicles had his way, inappropriately dressed school children would not be allowed to board minibuses or ZR vans.
In fact, Roy Raphael, the chairman of the Alliance of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) has called on members to institute strict dress codes for students.
Raphael spoke in support of Minister of Education Ronald Jones who recently chastised students for wearing their trousers in a manner that exposed the bottoms.
Speaking at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the outspoken Jones instructed leaders of tertiary institutions to impress upon students that they must dress appropriately or “do not come”.
Raphael told Barbados TODAY Jones was right to criticize this mode of dress and said society needed to police its children.
“He has our fullest support,” Raphael said of the minister’s stance, “and what we will be doing is to call on our members to maintain or to ensure that these persons who go into our public service vehicles maintain some level of dress or adhere to the dress code of the school.”
The AOPT head admitted that his position seemed out of sync with the behaviour of some PSV operators and conductors who ignored their own dress code.
However, he said the bigger issue was the direction in which the youth were travelling, saying society must feel obligated to help lead school children in the right direction and away from “the ragamuffin dress code” referred to by Jones.
“I know that I am going to be criticized on it because some people are going to say we ourselves cannot even maintain our own dress codes, how can we correct the children.
“You are talking about school children going to school and learning . . . but yet there are a few persons who have this block culture or what the minister considered as the ragamuffin style of dress, with the intention of being deviant and with no intention of really learning but to distract other students who want to do so,” he said.
Raphael disclosed that some drivers had been ensuring that pupils were wearing their uniforms in the proper manner, and he called on PSVs owners to insist that the operators do the same.
“We ourselves need to continue to work on our dress code because we are seeing a slight decline in the number of persons [following] the dress code. But I believe it has a lot to do with the fact to some persons outside of our membership who are of the view that there is no law or that nobody has been prosecuted or brought before the courts for not wearing the uniform but we continue to encourage our members to wear the uniform,” he contended. (FW)