October 4, 2011
Parents express anger over son’s suspension

Parents of a second year student of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Division of Arts Sciences and General Studies have expressed their frustration at their son being suspended for three days for not wearing the College’s crest on his polo shirt.{{more}}

A punishment, his parents say, which doesn’t fit ‘the crime.”

Preferring to remain anonymous, the concerned parents spoke with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Explaining their son’s dilemma, the father stated that he was called by his wife on Monday, and was told that his son was suspended for not having the correct uniform.

When hearing the number of days he was suspended for, the father said he thought that there must have been more to the offence.

“I said to myself, it had to be more than that, because three days suspension sounds pretty serious,” he stated.

However, after communicating with relevant authorities at the Division it was confirmed that the student had indeed been suspended for not wearing the correct uniform. The father was also told that several other students had also been suspended, because they had not worn the correct uniform, and prior to their suspension, had been given warnings.

The father stated that his son had not been given a warning, and his son had told him that although he had previously worn a plain white polo shirt without the school’s crest to classes, teachers did not reprimand him in any way.

The parents, while stating that they are in full support of the school and its rules, and in no way plan to come across as rebellious, added that the three-day suspension was a bit extreme. The student’s mother added that three days away from school is a serious setback, especially for a second year student, who does not have a lot of time before final examinations. She added that her son also missed a math test and his lab assignments because of his suspension.

The parents, however, admitted that their son’s inability to wear the proper polo shirt was not his fault, as his mother was unable to get his shirts, the ones with the SVGCC crest, ready for him to wear.

The parents explained that their lifestyles are very busy, as they not only have full time jobs, but run a business. The father explained that his wife, the boy’s mother, was just too physically exhausted to prepare the shirts for him to wear. The mother added that she received several instructions on how to wash the shirt.

She said Jax Enterprises, the company from whom she bought the shirt with the embroidered logo, told her that the crest had colours that would run and that she should not use Clorox, laundry detergent or heat on the shirt.

They added that they were told that the boy could have worn his “formal wear” the original uniform of the college, which is the green trousers and white shirt, but according to the rules of the school, that uniform was to be worn only for special occasions.

“We were trying to stay in line with this (rule), because if he had worn the previous uniform, he would have also contradicted the guideline on this letter,” the father said.

The letter outlining the rules regarding the school uniform states that “All other students at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education and the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies will maintain the current uniforms to be worn on more formal occasions to be specified by each Division.”

The parents further reiterated that the punishment seemed unfair, adding that their son was shocked when he was asked to leave the school because he was not in uniform. “You couldn’t have blanket judgment; you have to judge a case based on merit…” the father stated.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke with Deputy Director of the College Nigel Scott on Wednesday evening. He, however, refused to comment on the issue.