Principal of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) Sandy Underhill has called on businesses to emulate the Tortola Pier Park by enforcing policies to curb public displays of student indiscipline.
She also wants parents to be more responsible where their children are concerned.
Underhill’s comments come at a time when ESHS students have been involved in a series of public fights and unruly behaviour.
Their behaviour has been affecting local businesses such as TICO, RiteWay, Island Paints and Island Services, which are all located in the vicinity of the temporary ESHS facility in Pasea Estate.
“They (the businesses) are not happy,” Underhill said.
“Ideally this is not a location that was designed for a school of this magnitude. When we came here we did not expect to be met with all these challenges, and the responses by the community which they are all understandable.”
However, Underhill said the school cannot be solely responsible for student unruliness.
“It is a threefold responsibility. Yes, the school has a responsibility to go out and monitor. But the businesses also have policies in place that they need to enforce from day one. You cannot shift the burden back to the school; the parents have a responsibility, and everybody needs to work together.”
Fights are inevitable
The ESHS principal said fights are inevitable with a student population that exceeds 1,000.
“Because of the size of the school, fights are going to happen. We don’t want them to happen but fights are going to happen,” she reasoned.
Underhill also said it is challenging to police students consistently since the school is operating on two shifts.
The early shift ends at midday while the second shift begins at 1pm and ends at 5pm.
“We don’t have time to run down and police people children at 12pm. But if people cared and showed gratitude for the hard work that you did, they would come and pick up their children at 12pm and make sure that they weren’t getting into fights. Or put something in place to ensure that your children weren’t being a nuisance to everybody else,” the principal reasoned.
There’s good news happening too
In the meantime, Underhill said the school continues to shine academically and otherwise.
“Everybody looks at it like [fights] are the only things that happens at ESHS and that is far from the truth. I think our public is misled by what goes on in school,” she said.
“Nobody is sitting down to talk about or to have a headline news that in nine days we built a school with 27 classrooms. Or we are running a school with two shifts, which never happened in the history of the Virgin Islands with one administration working from 7am to 7pm.”
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