Jamaica Gleaner / Obviously unimpressed by claims from the leadership of St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) that a $50 fine imposed on students who arrive late is not compulsory and that the money is used for students’ welfare, the education ministry has ordered an immediate end to the scheme.
Education Minister Ruel Reid last Thursday told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum that he instructed the administration of the Spanish Town Road-based school to stop the practice.
According to the minister, the system of asking the students to pay a fine or opt for detention for arriving more than 40 minutes late is not supported by the Code of Regulations governing the running of public educational institutions.
“Let me make it very clear that we are not in support of fines for access to school. We are not in support of it because it creates other problems. I believe that the regulations allow for sanctions otherwise, but not monetary fines,” explained Reid.
“If the law doesn’t specify, you can’t interpret that the laws allow you to implement certain sanctions. Laws are there to guide the schools as to what is permissible.
“Any attempt to interpret is a misinterpretation, and even with disciplinary action for teachers, it is only after you would have had disciplinary hearing where the teacher could be subjected to a $50 fine,” the minister pointed out.
No barriers to education In his initial reaction to the fine, Reid had told The Sunday Gleaner that the Government’s position is free access to public education, and there ought not to be any fees or any other creative barriers used to prevent and deny children their right.
The education minister went further last week as he addressed Gleaner editors and reporters at the company’s North Street offices. “It was not something that the ministry was aware of by policy, and to the extent that we heard about it, we have had to take a position that it is not a position of ours. Yes, we told them to stop it,” he said.
While noting the performance of principal Rayon Simpson, who is credited with leading an impressive turnaround at the Westmoreland-based Belmont Academy, before returning to his alma mater , STATHS, at the start of this year, Reid said this was a matter in which the ministry has to provide guidance to the school.
Simpson recently confirmed that STATHS students are asked to pay $50 once they arrive at school after 8:10 a.m.
According to Simpson, the policy was ratified by the SATHS Board of Governors in January after consultation with the parent-teacher association (PTA), and the education ministry was written to and informed of the decision before it was implemented.
“I do not wish to say whether or not the ministry responded to our written communiquÈ, but I am confident of its knowledge regarding this matter as we have been having ongoing and respectful dialogue,” said Simpson in an emailed response to questions from The Sunday Gleaner .
“We have a functional board that holds the principal to account, and we have been able to show the stakeholders empirical data to prove that since implementation of the late fine, not only punctuality but attendance has improved exponentially.
“Whereas 40 per cent of our pupil arrived late for school in January, only 29 per cent were late for the month of March, and attendance has improved from 60 per cent of the population attending school in January to 79 per cent in March,” added Simpson.
Used for students’ good The principal further argued that the money collected from the students goes towards the school’s welfare programme as well as the behavioural modification programme, including a behaviour modification camp which is convened during holiday periods.
“And most significantly, to defray cost for a bulk-messaging system (in partnership with Digicel) whereby we will be able to mass-message parents of latecomers, to send wake-up messages each morning and to send reminders regarding homework, PTA meetings, etc,” said Simpson.
Nadine Wilson-Harris contributed to this story.
CARACAS.- La espera terminó y los Rays de Tampa Bay, en teoría, reforzaron la posición que menos le estaba aportando a la ofensiva con el regreso del criollo Wilson Ramos a las mayores. ?Estamos felices por tener a Wilson Ramos con nosotros? , dijo Kevin Cash a MLB.com. ?Me imagino que probablemente tenía algunas inquietudes…
La compraventa de inmuebles como Torre Agbar, Xanadú y el Edificio España aumenta un 70% la inversión en el primer semestre hasta los 6.000 millones de euros. La inversión inmobiliaria vuelve a registrar cifras récord en el mercado español. A falta de apenas cuatro días del cierre del semestre, la compraventa de edificios y solares…
san fernando Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley prayed with members of the Muslim community and distributed zakat (charity) to the needy as he celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr at two masjids in San Fernando yesterday. He attended the Eid services on an invitation from Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein, who is also referred to as a…
gasparillo The mother of a disabled child was shot dead inside her apartment in Gasparillo yesterday. Ornella Philips, 28, was shot once in the chest. Her body was discovered lying in the living room around 10 a.m. The country’s murder toll now stands at 243. Her eight-year-old daughter, Kayla, has cerebral palsy and depends…
ISTANBUL (AP): Turkish police stopped activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights from gathering in large numbers for an LGBT Pride event in Istanbul yesterday, but smaller groups made impromptu press statements, defying a ban imposed by the governor. Organisers of the 2017 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride had vowed to march in central Taksim…
LONDON (AP): The list of high-rise apartment towers in Britain that have failed fire-safety tests grew to 60, officials said yesterday, revealing the mounting challenge the government faces in the aftermath of London’s Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. All of the buildings for which external cladding samples were so far submitted failed combustibility tests, Communities Secretary…
BAHAWALPUR (AP): Alerted by an announcement over a mosque’s loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak, scores of villagers raced to the scene with fuel containers yesterday to gather the oil. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people in flames as they screamed in terror. At least 153 men, women and children were…
WASHINGTON (AP): Making a final push, United States President Donald Trump said he doesn’t think congressional Republicans are “that far off” on a health overhaul to replace “the dead carcass of Obamacare”. Expressing frustration, he complained about “the level of hostility” in government and wondered why both parties can’t work together on the Senate bill…
While reliving the horrors experienced by so many families after another spate of bizarre violence across the country last week, I couldn’t help but picture Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett’s rictus grin plastered on television screens while the elderly and even suckling babes were being gruesomely slaughtered inside their homes. While the rest of us were…
- 26 September, 2017 German Leisure Carriers Launch Flights To Jamaica
- 26 September, 2017 German Leisure Carriers Launch Flights To Jamaica
- 26 September, 2017 Purdey hopes process is fair
- 26 September, 2017 Prisons FC promoted to TTSL League One
- 26 September, 2017 Andrews as club tour guide
- 26 September, 2017 Trincity fire could affect supermarket food supply
- 26 September, 2017 AmCham to Govt: Improve ease of doing business
- 26 September, 2017 O’Brien’s Battlecry stops Bigman
- 26 September, 2017 Korean Flute Choir at Queen’s Hall for Korea Week celebration
- 26 September, 2017 Advancing women in sports leadership