Friday , August 18 2017
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An investigation has dismissed allegations that a bar and smoking zone were in place during a karaoke party in Tendu Central School recently.

Where there’s smoke

An investigation has dismissed allegations that a bar and smoking zone were in place during a karaoke party in Tendu Central School recently.

However, going by the images and comments this newspaper has received, the possibility that the bar and smoking zone were in place for the party cannot be ruled out.

If the drinking of alcohol and smoking of cigarettes were occurring on a school’s campus, especially when students are still on campus as the central school offers boarding facilities, it is alarming.

That an official investigation found absolutely no evidence or did not come across information of such activities is even more alarming. Either the objectivity of the team has to be questioned or the thoroughness of their investigation.

A school’s campus is sacred ground where adults, or at most, members of a school’s administration set examples by practising what is preached and respect for the law is in full display at all times because this is where future leaders and citizens are groomed.

If a student were to be caught in possession or is found to be abusing harmful substances, which includes alcohol and cigarettes, disciplinary action would follow. Repeated violations could even result in expulsion.

To allow a party on school campus with these very activities occurring, even though access is limited only to adults, could send the message that deterrence efforts are empty and temporary.

School administrations must also be empowered, if they are not already, to reject any activity that they disapprove of from being held on school grounds. There is a standing rule that bars cannot be set up near educational institutions and that there must be a 100m alcohol-free zone around educational institutions. To permit a bar, even if it’s only temporary and serving only adults, in the centre of such a zone is incredulous.

A smoking zone cannot be demarcated on a school’s campus. By law, it is illegal to smoke in any educational institution or in its vicinity.

Parents entrust the safety, wellbeing and upbringing of their children to a school’s administration, and it is the school’s administration that must ensure this trust is maintained. A school’s administration must have cognizance of what activities it can and cannot allow on its campus.

While it is yet to be fully determined if the Tendu Central School’s administration did in fact allow for a smoking zone and bar to be set up, many online have been quick to make strong and hurtful comments against the school’s faculty. We would encourage posters to remain civil and not to generalise.

The education system has made significant strides in the past year and using one single case as a spring board to launch generalisations is not called for and must stop.

But if the allegations are confirmed, the education ministry must take action and prevent reoccurrences of such activities in not only Tendu Central School, but any educational institution in the country.

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