Written by Carol Lawton
There are fundamental right that all human beings have that can not be intruded on except in cases of dire emergency of the state. Today I still see why we are backward in the respect of human rights. Call it whatever you will. Soft hearted, criminal hugging, fighting against authority but there are limits and when these limits are overstepped that is where the rule of law comes in with the highest being the constitution which govern the land.
Our children learn at an early age not to read. Yes not to read. Reading requires a yearning for knowledge and explanation in facts not word of mouth. The first thing a good citizen learns is what is the rights and responsibility of the individual to the state. Thesecond is state’s functions and accountability to the citizen. The first persons to feel this intrusion of their rights are not the upper class or the middle class who have the luxury of the legal profession to answer their calls and question and lash out like a morey at all who intrude, it is the poor. The Nazis did not start with the rich they started with the poor.
This tirade is based upon the role of school once the child is out of school in their uniform but it is just one of many where the state or private entities in Jamaica invade the constitutional rights of Jamaicans. To the best of my knowledge all Jamaican including teens have a right of freedom of movement. How is it then legal for a school to force children out of a supermarket because they are in their uniforms. The students come from the poorest areas. The supermarket offers the cheapest prices hence the large number who purchase from the supermarket. The supermarket did not even care until a “representative from the school “showed up forcing them out. If that was my business I too would sue them for loss of earning from potential customer based upon their directives. Can a school override the individual right of freedom of movement just by virtue of the student putting on their uniform or does the rules of the school end at the gate or does the constitution only cover those above a certain age or with enough money to care about intangible as rights. As old rules are applied to a new generation, they will rebel unless given compelling rational reasons that empower them to respect rules that are intrusive to their every day activities.
Frankly, most young are thinking that the law or rules don’t apply at this age hence the disorder we face in present Jamaica where the majority is under the age of 35. These are not the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, even the meekest is aggressive now for a simple thing as their rights. The hardest part of the whole thing is to take the illogical argument that its for their own good to give up right to a higher group hence the aggression as the higher group usually does not have a good moral argument as to why only we said so.
Personally if they were my children, I would get it in writing and sue the school. I would not even follow to even have a discourse because as educators they should also be teaching the students what are their rights and responsibilities in order for them to become functional citizens of Jamaica . Defend your rights at all cost is how I was brought up. Some may term it aggressive; some may term it uncompromising or even rude. But the moment the door is open for the abuse of your rights it’s a slippery slope. We love to talk about caring for the children but personally its all talk. Build their minds to understand who they are, what they are, where at in the globalize world, how the rule of law exist to create equity between the rules of society and the constitutional and natural rights of the citizen of the state. Teach the constitution in High School as Mandatory.