Today’s Editorial Januray 11: Parents, take responsibility

Sometimes it feels like we’re beating on a dead horse.

But we believe we must make comment on certain events until those who can make a change, do so.

Parents, you have got to take responsibility for your school-age children.

That means making sure they’re in class when they’re supposed to be.

It was disturbing to hear Education Minister Alden McLaughlin report last week that 149 students failed to show up at John Gray High School following the Christmas break.

Granted the school term began during the middle of the week, it is the parent’s responsibility to see that their children adhere to school rules; specifically attendance.

The argument can be made that families were overseas wrapping up their Christmas holidays, but surely parents receive the school calendar in a timely fashion and should be able to schedule their holidays accordingly.

This is just the latest in a string of disciplinary problems facing the Cayman Islands Education Department.

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it until the message sinks in. It is up to parents and guardians to teach discipline and respect. Keeping your kid out of school to extend a holiday may not seem like such a big deal, but you are, essentially, telling your student it’s OK to disregard school rules.

Education is not a replacement for parental discipline. It should be a cooperative effort of the respect and discipline the student has learned at home.

The Minister said he is setting up a task force to review disciplinary policies at the high school.

Right now he’s in London at an education conference and he’s sure to come back with some good solid ideas.

Maybe it’s time to take a page from the education tomes in the UK where parents are actually fined when their children fail to show up for school without a valid reason.

Parents who don’t pay face prosecution. There is no right of appeal and a court of law will mete out the appropriate penalty.

Having a good education helps give children their best start in life.

To allow them to attend in a willy-nilly fashion without taking interest in their attendance or work is a disservice to them and to the community as a whole.

We Caymanians complain loudly that it appears that ex-pats are taking over our country.

If we don’t raise our children to be responsible, respectful adults with the proper skills to ensure them high-paying and professional skills then we can look for more ex-pats to take over the roles we failed to train our children in.

Take an interest in your child’s schoolwork and support the school, the Education Department and the Ministry in their effort to control bad behaviour.

If we don’t all work together we may well be raising a lost generation of delinquent children who will become non-productive adults and a drain on the Caymanian society.