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Discipline starts at the top

Within recent times viewers of national television were confronted with images of schoolgirls fighting like pitbulls, baring not just their brutish behaviour. Their lack of respect for themselves and their school uniforms provoked the ire, and rightly so, of large sections of the national community. In the print media, there were stories of two separate incidents of violence against teachers by pupils of primary schools. One of the alleged offenders is reportedly a first year pupil. The most casual observer would readily agree that these instances are serious cause for concern. It would be easy to dismiss the alleged acts as aberrations, or to simply blame the offending parties.

  When one looks at the bigger picture  a chilling scenario emerges. It is apparent that wrongdoing by those who inhabit the upper echelons of our society is defended with worrying alacrity. A shipment of fruit juice bearing the logo of a local company was intercepted in Virginia, the cans allegedly filled with cocaine. A minister asserted that the company producing the juice was in no way connected to the find, this he did even though investigations into the matter were not complete. In a horrific twist of events a baby died as a result of a botched Caesarean section operation at our leading medical institution. When questions were rightly raised, our institution of higher learning readily defended the doctor allegedly involved, again without the benefit of investigation.

  On a recent flight from Tobago a Government minister allegedly behaved in an inappropriate manner towards a flight attendant. He was subsequently paraded on national television by the self-appointed “sheriff”. According to the minister he was “severely fatigued” which resulted in the behaviour complained about. His version of events seemed to suggest that the story was concocted by the young lady in question. Her nationality was even brought into the equation. I am at a total loss to understand the relevance of that to the alleged incident. When one considers the fraudulent practice, of recent vintage, where persons are tendering false documents to attain cushy jobs, and the resultant lack of consequences for their actions, it is painfully obvious that the moral fibre of our society is in a putrid state.

  While I join in condemnation of the actions of our school children, I am reminded of a calypso sung by a youthful Machel Montano years ago, in that song he asks “Why condemn me Mr Minister, when I am just following the footsteps of my teacher!”

The seeming lack of consequences for wrongdoing by the “exemplars” in our society may well be a causative factor in the general decline of standards in our schools. In addition, the removal of corporal punishment has in my view emboldened students. Parenting skills seem to be a thing of the past, possibly because of the fact that some parents are so young that they need parenting themselves. We have seemingly lost our way. The moral compass which served as our guide has been abandoned, resulting in the disorder afflicting our blessed land. Hopefully it is not too late to regain our moorings before we descend further into anarchy. Leaders, please be mindful that the children are looking on. It is incumbent upon all of us to do the right thing as our legacy to even those yet unborn.

Elias Lewis

Chaguanas

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