Don’t paint the entire school with the same brush.
This is the plea from a “very, very upset” Principal Dennis Browne of Grantley Adams Secondary School who today complained that Barbadians were treating the entire student population like troublemakers because of a few isolated incidents.
“I am very, very upset that something negative happens at a school and persons don’t see that as a one-off incident,” Browne said in an apparent reference to a recent stabbing incident involving two female students.
“Barbadians only see the few students who are impressionable, who are impulsive and who, just like some of the adults that we have in society, sometimes do the wrong thing. That is why we are here as teachers, we are here as educators and even adults and parents to educate the young people and try to give them the guidance and direction that is needed,” he told journalists this morning ahead of a walk through the community by students.
The principal also referred to the situation in February when “five of my students who are also misguided” became the subjects of a police missing persons bulletin.
They were subsequently found, charged with wandering and sentenced to the Government Industrial School.
Browne suggested that the adult population appeared to be clinging to the incident and had been using it to torment well-behaved students.
“I was so upset and it almost brought tears to my eyes . . . this young lady . . . she works very hard at her academics, a positive decent child, but while she walked the streets some person [said], ‘I hope you went school today, I hope that you now going home and not coming from somewhere else’.
“That was so touching and hurtful to see how she felt about what adults in this country are saying about her just because we had five students . . . [who are] misguided and may have done the wrong thing,” he lamented.
The educator also took the opportunity to highlight the students’ achievements, including the under-13 hockey team’s recent success, as well as commendable performances in cricket and the Barbados Secondary School Athletic Competition.
“Persons don’t really know what happens in this school,” he charged.
Browne explained that the school had adopted a “no-tolerance policy towards respect for adults” and indiscipline.
“You come into this school, you see a brand new school of high standards and high discipline [and] I am just talking from my heart and not just because it is Grantley Adams.
“There are so many positive young people in this school but persons only see just the few and it hurts my heart to know that when we look at those five girls, those misguided students who because of their background may have acted the way they did, that persons would paint the same brush of the 895 students that remain that are positive,” he stressed. (FW)