Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blind obedience dangerous

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“IF YOU ARE GIVEN an instruction by a superior, a person who has charge over you, the principle is, whether you agree or disagree, your responsibility as a student is to be obedient.”

This quote comes from Dr Ian Marshall, as a response to the Springer Memorial incident. He went on to praise the principal and her staff for their “leadership” in denying a teenager ten weeks of essential education over a paper wrapper and furthermore, to suggest that the parent should be charged for supporting her daughter.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way (John C. Maxwell).

In today’s society, blind obedience is not only an obsolete idea but downright dangerous. All those boys who were sexually abused by Catholic priests no doubt thought the same way and what a perfect formula for any teacher with similar tendencies.

What century did he come from with his “you cannot disrespect authority no matter what”. We can only thank God that real leaders like Gandhi, Clement Payne and Martin Luther King weren’t indoctrinated by this stupidity.

Picking up your own garbage is your responsibility and should be encouraged. Picking up other people’s garbage is either a career choice or a voluntary exercise and no child should ever be ordered to do so by a teacher.

To insist that the child could only come back to school if she agreed to pick up even more garbage is totally outrageous based on her earlier refusal, and to think that any of my grandchildren or anyone else’s children or grandchildren could be ordered to collect garbage at school is absolutely incomprehensible no matter what flavour it takes.

The position that the ministry should have taken in the first place is: We don’t send our children to school to collect garbage.

But the Ministry of Education has time and again demonstrated that they have absolutely no control over the teachers or principals in this country and so, a simple incident has become a national disgrace, demonstrating to the world our flagrant disregard for the rights of our children and the backward thinking of our educators.

The ministry made no attempt to reprimand the teachers who assaulted the student’s psyche with their threats and verbal abuse. Instead, the minister himself chose to publicly reprimand the mother for going to the Press in desperation.

The Barbados Union of Teachers, in a move that “a blind man could see”, chose to hold a panel discussion focusing on the wrapper issue and garnishing the support of a lecturer with views from an age long extinct.

They obviously have put on their war paint and are well on their way to destroying a Barbadian child for daring to refuse an unreasonable request.

With their wide influence and the ministry’s inability to control anything, I am really concerned about this child’s future, regardless of where she is transferred.

Parents need to be vigilant about what is required from their children in schools. If you believe that demeaning tasks apply to all children in schools that would practise such things, then you need to wake up right now and understand the position that Ms Weekes was forced to take.

Whatever you do, please make sure that you teach your children to judge right from wrong for themselves, no matter who is in authority or which doctor thinks otherwise.

– CHARLES WHITTAKER

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