Several lawmakers Friday (10 November) told their colleagues in the Legislative Assembly that a proper education starts at home and the onus is on parents to ensure their children are ready to learn and behave when they step inside schools.
Education Minister Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly says she’s mandating the newly created Education Council to address the issue, but says Government can only do so much.
“But let it be abundantly clear — we cannot lay the blame entirely at the foot of the educational institution,” Ms. O’Connor-Connolly said. “Because those children come from somewhere. And before they leave home, those parents have the responsibility to ensure their children are taught, to respect others. And I think we need to return to some of the old past and teachers will have more time in the classroom to teach rather than being behavioral police.”
Ms. O’Connor-Connolly also said she’s tasked Education Councillor Barbara Connolly to look into the legality of shaping the disciplinary policy to include provisions for how students can wear their clothes, style their hair and sport piercings.”
“Why teach our children its OK to go to school dressed any old how,” she said. “We are Caymanians and there is not just Cayman kind, there’s Cayman pride.”
The Minister got plenty of support from the other side of the aisle, including East End MLA Arden Mclean.
“If I am going to educate your child, then he or she is gonna get educated in the manner that I prescribe,” Mr. McLean said. “Not in the manner that you — sending them here with long hair and pierced ears and earrings and pierced eyebrows and eyelids and the likes. That’s not how it’s going to go.”
Several lawmakers spoke about the way things used to be.
“Wake up Cayman,” Savannah MLA Anthony Eden said. “Wake up parents. It is your god-given responsibility to raise those children and not wait to go to the schools and blame the teachers and so on.”
In the end, the lawmakers approved more than $12 million for policy advice, governance and ministerial support services over the next two years.
The National School Uniform and Dress Dode does already outline requirements for dress, hair and jewelry.