SpringerSchoolBarbados

Student Punished by Springer School Principal for not Picking up a Wrapper

Submitted by William Skinner
Pauline Benjamin - Principal, Springer Memorial Secondary School

Pauline Benjamin – Principal, Springer Memorial Secondary School

The public debate, in Barbados, surrounding the refusal of a student to pick up paper, on the instruction of a teacher, is instructive of the changing norms the society is having in several areas. The days of the teacher being always right are no longer with us. We must come to terms with the simple fact that children do have rights and these rights include asking why they are being punished or being asked to do any particular task. We should be careful not to come down too hard on the teacher but bear in mind that in this case the child probably saw the request as punishment for something that she was not a party to. It is a fine line, in this case, between request and punishment.

Of course there are those who will present many cases of teachers punishing children back in the “good old days”. They are suffering from severe nostalgia, hoping in vain for a Barbados that no longer exists. Hence, well intentioned citizens , such as Mr. Carl Moore, does not stand a chance of convincing others, such as retired principal Mr. Matthew Farley, that corporal punishment, sends a message to impressionable young minds that violence is the only antidote to conflict.

In this case, the teacher probably over reached by actually denying the child the rights to class room instruction by making her just wait outside the counsellor’s door, if press reports are accurate. This matter should have been more delicately handled once the child had refused to execute the order. Since the child had not created the infraction by littering the premises, she responded as many young adults do these days; defending what they now understand as their rights. Rights to which the Barbados government is a signatory. We must learn to accept that modern children will be “seen and heard” and are not like those from the good old days, who were sometimes brutalized for acts they did not commit. It was so bad that they were afraid to even discuss the beatings with their parents for fear of being beaten again. In today’s world such acts are known as violence against children and in more developed societies, will land the teacher and parent in prison!

I can recall quite vividly being beaten with the “whole class” for acts I did not commit. Like Carl Moore, I am convinced that beating children and using corporal punishment is barbaric. This nonsense about “Peter paying for Paul and Paul paying for all” has no place in a democratic society.

I am therefore in sympathy with both the child and the teacher. Teachers are usually unfairly castigated for all that is wrong with society and young people are also being unfairly blame for the falling values. Both groups must therefore work harder to resolve conflict. In this case, the child did nothing wrong by refusing to accept what she perhaps interpreted as an unjust punishment. It could have been the result of the approach used or circumstances of which the public is totally unaware.

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186 Comments on “Student Punished by Springer School Principal for not Picking up a Wrapper”

  1. Donna February 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM #

    Artaxerxes,

    Some of these teachers nowadays are extremely rude and uncouth. If they had me to deal with they would be answered as rudely as they addressed me.

    Like

  2. ac February 4, 2016 at 8:15 PM #

    Donna Feb 4th

    Some of these teachers nowadays are extremely rude and uncouth. If they had me to deal with they would be answered as rudely as they addressed me.

    Name one teacher or relevant interaction/s to verify what you said ..i suspect that you are making up a story to support your insipid belief that children have a right to be ill mannered and disrespectful to the teacher when asked to do remedial task in school .
    As to your intent it speaks clearly of a mindset woven together with a disturbing complex view of life expressed in your manner of speech

    Like

  3. Donna February 4, 2016 at 8:44 PM #

    What?????

    Like

  4. Donna February 4, 2016 at 8:56 PM #

    Good night, Miss Malaprop!

    Like

  5. ac February 4, 2016 at 9:22 PM #

    some people would say or do any thing to arouse suspicion even by way to make certain claims founded on perceptions and speculation which are not true. A claim to the extent where one states to be knowledgeable of a circumstance should be followed by proof
    Unless one wishes to exhibit a profound excellence in half truth and misinformation commonly knows as being a liar

    Like

  6. Bush Tea February 4, 2016 at 9:50 PM #

    What the hell are you on about AC…. that is gibberish…
    Shiite woman – they like they had you picking up garbage all day long when you were at school yuh…
    You went to Springer…?

    Like

  7. David February 4, 2016 at 10:43 PM #

    Minister Jones good for some laughs and a few truths as well.

    http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2016/02/04/its-uncouth-says-jones/

    Like

  8. Artaxerxes February 5, 2016 at 9:48 AM #

    ac February 4, 2016 at 9:22 PM #

    “some people would say or do anything to arouse suspicion even by way to make certain claims founded on perceptions and speculation which are not true. A claim to the extent where one states to be knowledgeable of a circumstance should be followed by proof. Unless one wishes to exhibit a profound excellence in half truth and misinformation commonly known as being a liar…”

    @ AC

    Are you referring to Jeptar Ince?

    Your above comments reminded me of an incident involving your Senator and the youngster he knocked off a bicycle. The policeman who investigated the accident said his years experience as a police officer led him to conclude that Ince’s version of the events were not true. So, Ince “exhibited a profound excellence in half truth and misinformation commonly known as being a liar…”

    Also, the DLP “exhibited a profound excellence in half truth and misinformation commonly known as being a liar…” when they promised to ITAL immediately after forming the government in 2008. Eight years after….. no ITAL.

    How about Ronald Jones comments relative to uncouth teachers. Is he “saying or doing anything to arouse suspicion even by way to make certain claims founded on perceptions and speculation which are not true?”

    Below is an excerpt from Thursday February 4, 2016 edition of Barbados Today:

    There is an uncouthness in the way some professionals in educational institutions across Barbados are treating students, Minister of Education Ronald Jones has said.

    “How you treat them in your verbal communication, how you talk to them, determines how they feel too. I have been coming across a little too much of piggery behaviour from some of our learning institutions and it is doing significant harm,” Jones said.

    He added: “Somebody will write in some paper how I am disrespecting somebody. I speaking the truth. I am positioned where I would know. They don’t, so accept my word and shut your foolish mouth. There is a bit too much of uncouth behaviour to our clients.”

    So, in your opinion Jones’ “claim to the extent where one states to be knowledgeable of a circumstance should be followed by proof?”

    Knowing you, however, as long as a DLP minister is involved you “gine turn yuh mout.”

    Like

  9. Artaxerxes February 5, 2016 at 9:52 AM #

    Donna February 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM #

    “Some of these teachers nowadays are extremely rude and uncouth. If they had me to deal with they would be answered as rudely as they addressed me.”

    @ Donna

    Pay no attention to those AC idiots, you are correct. Read Ronald Jones comments as in yesterday’s edition of Barbados Today.

    http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2016/02/04/its-uncouth-says-jones/

    Any bet those AC legion of demons will not make a comment similar to the one they made to you to Jones. They will say Jones is correct.

    Like

  10. ac February 5, 2016 at 11:43 AM #

    Sir i did not direct my request to Jones. But to the recipient of the comment who alleges to know that there are uncouth teachers.
    Wherby on that premise i asked the recipient to show proff of any incidents or interactions she might have engaged with uncouthed teachers.
    So far none has been provided

    Like

  11. Artaxerxes February 5, 2016 at 12:44 PM #

    “Sir i did not direct my request to Jones. But to the RECIPIENT of the comment who alleges to know that there are uncouth teachers. Wherby on that premise i asked the RECIPIENT to show proff of any incidents or interactions she might have engaged with uncouthed teachers. So far none has been provided.”

    The definition of a RECIPIENT is a person or thing who RECEIVES something.

    So are you implying Donna RECEIVED the comment? Or, you asked the RECEIVER of the comment to show proof?

    Once, we will say it is a mistake…. but twice?…. dah means yuh en know.

    Like

  12. ac February 5, 2016 at 1:48 PM #

    Sir again i directed a specific request of action to the person Donna to give proof to support the claim which she forwarded stating teachers are uncouthed.
    Sir you acting as secondary agent on behalf of Donna and using Jones statement is not sufficient an indicator of first hand knoweldge as to what Donna say she knows
    Since you seem to be in agreement with donna claim you ought to bring your own proof as justification

    Like

  13. de Ingrunt Word February 5, 2016 at 5:01 PM #

    @William Skinner February 3, 2016 at 11:26 PM …”It is not the Barbados of our time my friend. Nostalgia is sometimes quite harmful. We yearn for a time that is no more.”.

    In reality it is not the nostalgia of seeking some halcyon days…rather it’s just to put things in perspective. Let me pick up on Gabriel’s remark re the oft heard days of yore to illustrate.

    Former Dean Harold Crichlow lauded over his school as noted but can we imagine ANYONE acting in that authoritative way today and not being vilified and removed?

    Read Donna’s (this is not an attack, dear lady) remark rather tongue in cheek or otherwise that she would basically give as good as she got from out-of-line teachers. In the time of the Dean at Waterford and indeed others like Head Boy Simmons at Lodge and others…a time when a Head Boy was the king on ‘campus’ — there would NEVER be a question of an order/direction being ‘out of place’. Nope!

    And that – good and bad – is THE big difference with our youth and culture today.

    I recall a big fight one day that involved two upper school lads, a 2X3 and a meandering slew of fisticuffs and shouts of impending death that moved from playing field to corridors outside class-rooms. Whole school engrossed in this big bassa-bassa during lunch.

    It was not halted, as I recall, until one of the more strapping male teachers brought matters under control.

    Now where that happened is absolutely not important as it could have been at any one of our public schools.

    The point: Today that would be all over social media, wid style points for fight, cussing and all manner of folly. It would be viral as we are often prone to say…whatever that actually means in a positive sense…

    As Hants so amusingly said…a lot of ‘wholly’ mess around a lot of hairy mess’…or something like that.

    Gearbox, Sharky and surely King Redvers Dyall were really the first local social media darlings – before we even knew what that meant – as they always had a lot of folks watching their snarky, sartorial sloppy, smelly selves!!!

    And of course now we have all that type of folly and indiscipline going viral to millions at a time…oh how we have grown and matured…haven’t we!!!!

    Gearbox…turning wid a smile, fah real!

    Later.

    Like

  14. millertheanunnaki February 6, 2016 at 12:22 AM #

    @ ac February 5, 2016 at 1:48 PM
    “Sir again i directed a specific request of action to the person Donna to give proof to support the claim which she forwarded stating teachers are uncouthed..”

    There might not be “evidence’ that some teachers are uncouth but there is ample evidence that too many teachers and principals are blissfully unaware of the inalienable rights of children as setout under the UNICEF charter or convention on the rights of children to which your well-intentioned government has gleefully signed onto or ratified to show off Barbados to be a modern progressive country keen to promote the rights of not only children but all citizens.

    Based of the provisions of the following articles of the Charter surely the schoolgirl is within her rights not to pick up litter she did not create.

    As for the teacher and the Principal the punishment meted out to the child could be considered cruel and inhuman(e) as covered by Articles 28 & 37.

    Article 13
    1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

    Article 14
    1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

    Article 28
    2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

    Article 37
    States Parties shall ensure that:
    (a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age…

    Article 39
    States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

    Like

  15. ac February 6, 2016 at 8:33 AM #

    Arexteres

    @ac

    Any bet those AC legion of demons will not make a comment similar to the one they made to you to Jones. They will say Jones is correct.

    Indeed ac would not say Jones is a liar knowing that he has daily interactions with the educational system and ought to have first hand knowledge to verify his comments
    However his truthfulness can also be and indictment upon himself as to what he knows and rather than exposing himself as a critic of first hand information IMHO as an elected minister he ought to be guided by a handed of resolution which seeks with purpose and intent to weed out those teachers who display uncoutched and unmannerly actions in a learning environment

    Like

  16. ac February 7, 2016 at 9:08 AM #

    miller
    @ ac

    Based of the provisions of the following articles of the Charter surely the schoolgirl is within her rights not to pick up litter she did not create

    Article 29 (Goals of education): Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.

    Like

  17. David February 7, 2016 at 9:12 AM #

    To Bush Tea’s point, we are now expected to raise our children by selecting from a menu of laws. We see how that has gone if we peer at the USA way if dog things. Sad.

    >

    Like

  18. ac February 7, 2016 at 9:33 AM #

    Well as long as Barbados has signed on to laws and treaties,the inevitable happens, However the impact of such laws gives real guidance which individuals should appreciate and acknowledge bearing in mind that the purpose and intent is the overriding factor which is beneficial to all.
    Yes some would nit pick as proof to support their causes . However the impact of these laws are crucial to a re affirming and the security of all human rights

    Like

  19. millertheanunnaki February 7, 2016 at 9:57 AM #

    @ ac February 7, 2016 at 9:08 AM
    “It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.”

    And that is precisely why the teacher and the principal erred both morally and legally.
    In the absence of specific evidence of the girl creating litter (aka ‘despoiling’ the environment) a lesson should have been taught to the entire class and not just punishing (not even disciplining) the individual child.

    Why not let the entire class work on a small project whose core message should be the need to protect the environment from litterbugs to the benefit of society? Such a valuable lesson can be seen as part of the students’ continuing improvement in the whole teaching and learning cycle.

    Using a sledgehammer to kill a wayward ant is certainly not on in today’s school learning environment. Let those slave-like Victorian-era approaches to discipline remain where they belong; in the past.

    Like

  20. ac February 7, 2016 at 10:10 AM #

    i would agree with you partially considering the child’s involvement through necessary molding activated by a learning process… However far for you to indicate that such a program is not already implemented in the school curricula
    For me the bottom line is the girls unmannerly and rude response to the teacher which merits discipline
    Also the parent must now be held for the overextended disciplinary measures with her outrageous demands which is cause for her child not returning to school

    Like

  21. David February 7, 2016 at 10:48 AM #

    Today’s VoB Brasstacks talk show is being promoted as addressing the issues this matter has brought to the fore.

    Like

  22. David February 7, 2016 at 12:52 PM #

    The male on the talk show today needs to appreciate outlier feedback CANNOT be trivialized.

    Like

  23. David February 7, 2016 at 1:12 PM #

    What is he smoking? That the problems if reported will be reported and dealt with efficiently. Please! Did Jones deal with the AX report efficiently?

    Like

  24. ac February 7, 2016 at 4:09 PM #

    Sir different time different issue,, Well i suggest that You take your own advice and respond accordingly relative to current issues

    Like

  25. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 8, 2016 at 9:07 AM #

    Japan is one the world’s leading economic powers. You know what makes Japan such a discipline country`? Take a look at the video below. Then when you compared the valuable skills these kids learning ask yourselves why Japan has progressed so fast and why Barbados is still talking about ithttp://www.littlethings.com/school-lunch-in-

    japan-v5/?utm_source=quirky&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=misc

    Like

  26. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 8, 2016 at 9:08 AM #

    Like

  27. William Skinner February 8, 2016 at 10:41 AM #

    Children don’t complain about collective responsibility. they complain about selective discipline. That’s the difference. This is not like the” bright” ones telling the “dull” ones what to do and teachers’ pets being allowed to get away with all kinds of things

    Like

  28. David February 8, 2016 at 1:50 PM #

    Really?

    Pauline Bellamy?

    Like

  29. David February 8, 2016 at 1:51 PM #

    Really Ronald Jones?

    Like

  30. David February 8, 2016 at 1:51 PM #

    Really Springer PTA?

    Like

  31. David February 8, 2016 at 1:52 PM #

    Really BSTU and BTU?

    Like

  32. Hants February 8, 2016 at 1:59 PM #

    You got to be forkin kiddin me!!!

    Are they all trying to prove Bushie’s theory that Bajans are brassbowls ?

    Like

  33. Artaxerxes February 8, 2016 at 2:55 PM #

    What nonsense. A girl is being denied an education for not picking up a candy wrapper. The usual political yard-fowls will, for political reasons, condone the actions of the principal, while condemning the student and her mother.

    This matter should not have been allowed to escalate to the point where police had to be involved. If the parent does not want her daughter to attend the school as suggested by the MoE, then a compromise could have been made and the girl allowed to attend a school as mutually agreed by both parties.

    Like

  34. Alden Blackman February 8, 2016 at 3:07 PM #

    @ David / BU

    We need to focus attention on a lot of unjust in Barbados now by these hand pick civil servants, who carry out the ministers dictate to browbeating people

    Like

  35. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 10, 2016 at 9:10 AM #

    @Artax

    What are you saying? You know the SSS do not give a rats ass about these nasty politicians, but this is a matter that could have easily been dealt with if the instruction given was not meted by the child’s blatant stance. She got her ass suspended and the mother decided to go rampaging. Whose fault was that and how the heck that solved the problem? If the derange mother had any sense that was common to her, she would have made her daughter write a letter of apology for the part she played in her rudeness. I am sure she would have been back in school with no problems. But, no, she escalated the problem in the papers since she felt it was her time to stand up for something instead of falling for the ministry’s anything. I bet you if the headteacher had decided to make the child pick every piece of paper from around the school during her break and lunch period, people would start talking all sorts of shite about child abuse and the slave mentality of the head teacher. The child is out of school because of the child. The length of time that the child remained out of school is the fault of the stupid ass mother, who has shown the world of Barbadians why the child is the way that she is. I ain’t blaming the headteacher or the ministry for how this stupid matter has played out. De-escalate the situation was the asking, not escalating it with ignorance.

    Like

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