By Shanique Richards

St. Kitts Reporter

With a new school term just begun, many students reported to schools and had to clean their classrooms and surroundings. The issue has peeved some parents who say that students, especially the younger ones, should not be forced to clear the school yard of garbage and other debris. Others say there is nothing wrong with the students cleaning the area that they will occupy and that it teaches them discipline when used as a punishment.

The Observer asked persons what they thought about school children having to clean classrooms and school grounds.

Addae Brunder, Horsfords – I think that it is very wrong because children go to school to learn and not to pick up garbage. This sometimes take a lot away from their lessons because the time it takes them to walk around the school and collect garbage an entire period has gone already. Sometimes you also find that many of them are allergic to dust and they become ill when they are asked to engage in this type of activity. In addition, when parents give their child a doctor’s note to verify that they do have allergies relating to this matter the school sometimes continues to encourage the child to participate and that is also wrong.

Joyce Ferdinand, St. Peters – I think that it is okay if schoolchildren have to clean up around them because they are the ones who are using the grounds and most of the garbage comes from them. If they do not want to clean the school grounds then they simply should not litter and always try to clean up behind themselves. It is always good to have a clean environment and it also teaches them about cleanliness which goes a very long way in life.

Jermaine Hendrickson, CFBC – I don’t think children should be picking up trash in school because they did not go to school for that. The government needs to have cleaners assigned to cleaning the school grounds because it is not the students’ job. Also, all the time wasted picking up garbage could have been used for learning something new. Some children also have skin allergies and other ailments and this also needs to be taken into consideration.

Kisten Wilson, Lodge Project – It depends on how you look at it. It can be a good experience if we believe that cleanliness is (next to) godliness. Just like you have to clean your home because you live there then it is the same principle when you are at school. Children are in school from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day so it is only fair if they keep their surroundings clean no matter where they are. If a child becomes sick because of garbage around the school that will bring a more serious problem so just picking up the bits of paper as they go along is no big deal.

On the other hand, school children are sometimes asked to participate in cleaning without taking appropriate measures. I find that they are unsupervised and sometimes have to clean with their bare hands which exposes them to germs and infections. Sometimes things like condoms and needles are left around schools.

When children make contact with them and they can become ill. Just like how the government cleaners are given vaccines and gloves to work around garbage it is the same principle when it comes to children especially the younger ones who enjoy cleaning and sometimes fondle a lot with the garbage.

I’m in favour of having a cleaner when garbage is in abundance but also having the students participate when it is not harmful to them.

Shirley Walters, Stapleton Village – I think the school should clean their surroundings because when I was younger I had to do they same thing and cleanliness is a moral that takes you further in life. At least the children will be able learn how to clean and what is appropriate and what is not in terms of how you keep your environment.

Mickey Marius, Cayon – I think that school children should participate in cleaning up the school premises. With the exception of the toilets, I don’t see why kids would be affected. Like other rudiments that are integral to the upbringing of a child, cleaning ones surroundings so that one can operate in a healthy and friendly environment is an ideal drill to keep in the school program.

We have grown too complacent and must give back our schools to the teachers. For too long, especially in recent times, the school system has to subject itself to the dictates of the students and parents. Cleaning, like other drills in school such as attending assembly, participating in sporting activities ,detention and so on in my view, is geared towards the general upbringing of the child and the preparation of the child for the future.

Our departure from the basic principles is what is destroying our school system. What’s wrong with preparing your work place for work? What’s wrong with practicing cleanliness? When will our school be allowed to be school and not a place where the parents and the wronged students get to have things the way they want? A little cleaning wont hurt the child; however it can make him a little more health conscious. The most that will happen is a little soil on the clothes. Do we not clean at home, in our communities and so on? When I went to school cleanliness was next to godliness. Is it still there or we have become so ungodly that cleanliness has no value. Come on kids it’s your school so help to keep it clean because you will be associated with that school for the rest of your days. Remember our National Anthem’s first description of us as a country, “O LAND OF BEAUTY”,  let us maintain that beauty.