July 1, 2005
No graduation for Union Island students

by Southern Grenadines Correspondent

Students of the form five graduating class of the Union Island Secondary School are up in arms over the decision taken by the principal of the school not to host a graduation ceremony for them. From all reports this is the first time such a move has been made at the school.

When contacted by the Searchlight, Principal Kenneth Williams made it clear that the decision was warranted and would not be reversed. {{more}}

According to Williams, the class’s continued ill-discipline and general poor attitude resulted in this outcome.

“The students had been warned over and over about their destructive behaviour and they did not take heed,” stated Williams.

He described this year’s class as “one of the worst ever” and, although he regrets having to make the decision, he continues to believe it was a just one.

Williams also noted that it was not unprecedented for a graduation exercise to be cancelled, stating that it had happened several times before on the mainland. “In one school, some students wrote some things on a wall and when the principal asked that the markings be removed and they were not, the graduation was cancelled”

Students are however questioning their class’s classification as one the worst ever or for a long while. “Three to four years ago there was class that was crazy, I have brethrens who talk about the kind of things they did and they had graduation, so what they doing is wrong,” said a young man who wished to remain anonymous.

“There were much worse classes than ours, it is just a few fellas and girls who behave mad, but all of us shouldn’t be punished for that” expressed an upset young lady.

But Williams remains unmoved, stating that even parents contributed to the problems. He cited one parent’s responses to complaints being made about his child’s behaviour including cigarette smoking and so on as being: “So what, it does happen”.

There are many reported cases of ill-discipline involving this class. They include beach escapades with alcoholic beverages and the destruction of teachers’ property among others and, according to the principal, an example had to be set.

Outstanding students will still receive their customary trophies, and the class will get their certificates on the last day of school. The disappointed principal made it clear that although the problems are not uncommon nationwide or even worldwide, efforts must be made to teach valuable lessons to these children.

“Many people see the problem, but when you act on it, the same people turn around and find you are being too hard,” stated principal Williams, as he also keeps hope that such measures never have to be taken again.