News

Graduation grief

Tears at Holy Childhood as more than 50 students barred from school-leaving ceremony

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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A decision by Holy Childhood High School in St Andrew to bar students averaging below 60 from graduating has not gone well with at least one parent, whose daughter was reduced to tears after receiving the news.

The school's graduation is scheduled for June 30.

An attempt to speak with the principal or senior staff at the school was not successful yesterday.

The parent, who asked not to be identified, said more than 50 students were issued with documents outlining the reasons for the position taken by the high school's administration.

The document said teachers have been examining students' academic and behavioural records with a view to determine whether or not their actions have made them eligible to be included among the graduates for 2019.

Among the reasons that disqualify students are unpunctuality, effective when a student has been late more than 30 times; irregular attendance, warranted when a student has missed more than 60 sessions; infringement of school rules; behaviour not in keeping with the principles of decency, decorum and integrity; and unsatisfactory academic performance where average falls below 60 per cent.

The students, the parent said, were given the option of paying $2,000 for a diploma or school-leaving certificate.

The document was signed by Principal Sister Maxine McIntosh.

Yesterday, the parent staunchly opposed the decision, citing severe pressure associated with Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) preparations.

“My daughter has over 30 students in her class and the majority of them got the letter. I was taken aback, and then with that they gave them a school-leaving certificate. She is not taking it well. The other students are not taking it well. Their opinion is, it cannot count because they are doing seven subjects, other people are doing eight, nine or 10 subjects. Some of them are doing the sciences,” the parent told the Jamaica Observer.

“What I'm saying, if it is that December came and you saw where the grades have dropped, why not send out a letter to the parents or call a meeting because their grades have dropped? Say, come next year you won't be graduating because your grades have dropped,” the parent argued, although admitting that she was not sure if the positions were communicated to students through a school handbook.

She criticised the school's administration, saying that recommendations were made for her daughter and other students to sit CXC exams although their averages from internal exams are below-standard.

“If you know their averages weren't up to par, why recommend them? I'm not going to lie, some of the students who received letters have worn black and white for various reasons. They make students wear black and white for generally behavioural issues, but those who wore it were few. My daughter and others who are good students, those are the ones that I'm concerned for,” she said.

“When they announced it they (students) cried for hours. This is CXC time now so you know how that is affecting them. You're concentrating on CXC and then now you hear that you're not graduating? That is ridiculous,” the parent added.


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