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 Adults favour ban, youths oppose it

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Registration date : 2009-01-03

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PostSubject: Adults favour ban, youths oppose it   Adults favour ban, youths oppose it Icon_minitimeSat Feb 07, 2009 10:37 pm

Coral Secondary bars students in uniform from hanging out at mall & housing estates

Adults favour ban, youths oppose it

Issue divided down to discipline & freedom among respondents

February 07, 2009

IT'S the classic age divide. Older readers were in favour of the school's ban on students being seen at the neighbouring mall or HDB estate in their uniforms.

Adults favour ban, youths oppose it NP_IMAGES_JULETTER
The New Paper, 3 Feb.

The young, on the other hand, were eager to prove that they no longer need to be under constant watch.

The readers were responding to the report 'School bars students from mall - but is ban working?', in The New Paper on 3 Feb.

In it, we revealed how Coral Secondary School forbids any student in uniform from entering the White Sands shopping mall in Pasir Ris.

The rule, which was imposed several years ago, also forbids students in uniform from going to the neighbouring housing estate.

Our report obviously struck a chord with both adults and teenagers, who wrote in to passionately express their views.

'Trust and discipline go hand in hand. Giving too much trust at an early age leads to a lot of negative consequences,' declared one adult writer, who advocated strict controls on teenagers.

In contrast, a JC student mentioned her school's policy of 'teachers who respect the students' decisions and allow (them) to bear the consequences for (their) actions'.

Such were the responses to the report: Writers either praised Coral Secondary for enforcing its brand of discipline, or lambasted it for denying the students freedom.

But perhaps there is a middle path, as suggested by Dr Brian Yeo, a consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

He agreed that Coral Secondary had the right to 'preserve the sanctity of the uniform', but found the idea of placing a blanket ban on certain areas to be impractical.

Instead, he suggested that the students be given some form of guided direction, one that does not involve too much teacher supervision, but still grants students the freedom to be responsible.

'Organise activities for them, so that they have somewhere to go after school, and such that they can contribute to the community.'

Dr Yeo acknowledged that the teachers may not always have the time to do so, and suggested turning to external organisations such as Singapore's Children Society.

Under their Project Cabin, fully functional classrooms or containers are set up at the school to provide an alternative hangout place for youngsters after school hours.

Activities are organised to engage the youth in meaningful activities and positive interaction.

'Of course, it's up to the school to make the first step in approaching these organisations,' he said.

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