School rules

| 30/06/2009

Uniform polices that are completely unneeded and bear no academic educational purpose keep bombarding our school. For example, starting September students will be expected to wear plain black shoes only. Why? There’s nothing wrong with plain white shoes, or white and black, or blue.

This pointless rule will cause moreproblems than it is “intended” to solve. Parents will be forced to waste money for no real reason at all.

It is the same with haircuts. Students are hassled constantly about the upkeep of their hair. Even if a student’s hair is longer than what the school expects, it shouldn’t be a problem if it is kept neat. It is absolutely ridiculous to apply punishment for something this trivial.

From research and interviewing I have found that the reason for these rules is to prepare young students for the uniform codes of the working world. Why is it so vital to put so much emphasis on something that can be learned in a day?

The school board must take us for a bunch of idiots. Anybody applying for a decent job will know what and what not to wear. It’s like they expect someone who has a position in administration to show up in a swim suit and sandals if these rules are not enforced. Also, a company or business will tell employees what they expect of them, so years of practice are pretty much meaningless. Furthermore, I’ve yet to see their words reflect in the teachers’ wardrobe. I don’t see every teacher wearing black shoes in school and I certainly don’t see only one or two different colours. So tell me, if the uniform is so crucial, why isn’t it like that in the working world?

If you ask me, less focus should be put on uniforms and more should be put on education. Not just via grades, but also through furthering academic studies by scholarships and programs like A levels. Education at that level is so important in the world right now. With the standards rising constantly, it is now the minimum requirement for people to earn a bachelor’s degree. Proper uniform code won’t get you into college, grades will. I mean, colleges look at your transcript not your picture.

The school has become so obsessed with maintaining “perfect dress code” that they have turned a blind eye towards the result of the matter. Since the school is implementing such unreasonable decrees students are responding by simply not obeying. This causes the school to apply stricter discipline. The students will start to bear hatred towards staff, which in return will make the school believe that they are doing the right thing. In the end, all that is accomplished is resentment and maybe even tarnish someone’s permanent record. The school has to break the illusion that we are really getting something out of this.

If someone does not speak up soon, the school board is going to wipe out any individuality left. We have to right to express ourselves to a certain point.


Toby Watson is a Year 11 student at Cayman Brac High School

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There are far more important things to be worry about with our education system that the type fo shoes kids wear and the length of their hair.

    Why is it than kids who do not enter Reception before they are 5yrs old have to go strait into Year 1 if they have not yet done reception. Why is it that kids who fail one year are forced to move up and not permitted to redo the year that they have failed. Our kids are going into school too young and coming out too young. Kid should not enter primary school reception until they are at least 4 year and 9 months much less be forced to go into year 1.

    Hopefully they will get it right one of these days …………… hopefully

  2. Anonymous says:

    I went to government high school in Grand Cayman back in the 70’s and know for a fact that boys got suspended from school for shaving their heads or cutting their hair too short. Afros and the shag were the in thing in those days. Boys used to wear their pants/trousers so tight there was nothing left to the imagination – now they wear them baggy. Can you imagine if tight tight pants came back and our boys/men started to wear these all over again – omg – how vulgar. Times change – fashions change and the system has to learn to change with the changes. As long as kids are clean, neat and mannerly whats the problem. I agree far too much time is spent on unnecessary things when it is their education that should be the priority. ALSO

    It is one thing to make a rule about black shoes – but how do people in the Brac get these black shoes – the shopping here is nothing like Grand Cayman and not all residents in the Brac have family in Grand Cayman to get these shoes or the resources to get them. There are people in the Brac still working for only $3 per hour. How does government plan to handle that and make it affordable for the Brac residents?

  3. Anonymous says:

    To: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/02/2009 – 11:46.

    I certainly agree!
    I will be leaving it just like that now before I make myself look even more silly…have a nice day my dear!  : )
    Fr: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/02/2009 – 09:40.
  4. Anonymous says:

    I have to laugh at myself… got me, just testing to see if my comment was read 🙂

    You are correct, I also need to watch my spelling, irony seems to be very prevalent on CNS lately.  I think you did a good job explaining yourself, but I was merely pointing out the fact that parents are not being parents and now they view school as a daycare for their children and even young adult children.

    I agree that if there were a discussion with the students about why or why not uniforms are needed, then yes that would in itself be fruitful.  To be honest, I attended a school where uniforms were not required, common sense prevailed.  However, as I mentioned earlier, Caymanian parents have a almost fierce way of defending their child, leaving the child with always acting like a child and not allowing them to grow up.

    If a discussion took place as you mentioned and the students were given a "chance" to wear what they wanted until someone decided to go past common sense, then that would be a positive move.  I don’t mind given students a chance, but they have to understand that if they "break" the rules (which there should not be an opportunity for any debate on this per my previous point), they would lose that privilege.  Agree?

  5. Robert Tiofilo Jr says:

    As a fellow student At CBHS, I also understand were Toby is coming from, and as He said, the School should focus on more important matters like Education. Because now in Todays Rising Standards, Education is more important than dressing in a $200 suit and tie.Personally, when the other students and I wear suits and ties we do not act as lawyers and judges who have been working for years and years. So to go against the ministers saying, wearing a suit does not make you act smarter, but an education and hygenie and manners all mixed together will make someone a better person than just dressing neat. The reason for me stating this is because teachers constantly disciplining a child wearing a jacket while walking on  a corridor, or wearing key chains or coloured shoes to school, putting them in isolation or principals detention everyday until they have bought a pair of black shoes, removed harmless key chain and have left their jackets home in rainy and cold weather does not help them to further their education and only in their dislike towards towards treachers. I say personally that I have no problems with the school, but only with the constant trouble and changes with our uniforms. So I say that the time that teachers waste judging our clothing, is the time they should be using togive us proper Education for time’s to come.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Poster 16:19

    As many people before me pointed out, young people (and I am barely over the age of most of them) do not know what is appropriate and not appropriate to wear.  I would suspect one of the main reasons that CI school children often have to wear uniforms is because the parents don’t enforce what is appropriate and not appropriate.  Therefore the schools are left to teach what most might consider "common sense".

    In attending UCCI, you can often see the parents rushing to defend their little Jill or Johnny, EVEN when the "child" was wrong and there is proof of such.

    That being said, your arguement also loses most of its merit because you seem to have not benefited from school.

    rediculous = RIDICULOUS

    stroy = STORY

    outragious = OUTRAGEOUS

    • Anonymous says:

      To: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/02/2009 – 08:07.

      It figures that you would say such a thing but I feel no way because those are simple typo’s (was experiencing a slow internet connection). Before, I posted the comment, I should have reread it. My bad! With that said, you are trying to escape the real point here. I tried to explain but failed…ok…no problem..

      But I will leave you with this….. We just need to educate them on the reasons pointed out by the many commenter’s who have posted on this topic here. What we are failing to realize is that these young people have their own mind and we can not just impose rules on them without explaining their potential benefits and expect no rejection.

      And by the way, I guess you didn’t benefit from school either…..LMAO

      arguement = ARGUMENT

      How ironic!

      Fr:  Poster 16:19

  7. Anonymous says:

    DearMr. Watson,

    you will be surprised, there arequite a few young kids coming out of schools these days who do not know what is appropriate for work wear.   It may be obvious common sense to you that this can be learned in one day, but consider may not  be the average.

    I have seen young bank tellers with nose rings, tongue rings, brow rings and pants hanging off butts in the professional workplace.   I take a look at that young child and know for sure that if that  "wear anything I want" attitude does not change, they will not make it to be the Bank Manager , the CFO or CEO or well respected person in their community.  Immediate assumptions are made about how ambitious are they, do they want to climb that corporate ladder or be a role model for other young persons in their society?

    As many have already said, the workplace does have dress codes (aka rules).  We need rules in schools or workplaces and laws in society to maintain order and discipline and set guidelines. Mr. Watson these school rules , as frustrating as it may be for you and your peers, will prepare you for the real world.

    Sure you can express yourself…but reserve that for when you are in environ where such rules don’t exist.  I admire you for writing this article at your age , it allowed you to express yourself and I think it shows you have it in you to a leader. But be careful as you grow-up, think how you can become a positive leader and influence in your society.  Be someone that young Caymanians can look up to , abide by the rules to.

    Best Regards.

  8. anonymous says:

    Well I work in a professional environment within the Financial Industry…..and guess what? We have a ‘Dress Code’ that is applied and followed by our offices throughout the World.  Following rules helps bring about discipline and makes for a better person…..find other positive ways to express yourself…there are many!

    • Anonymous says:

      His stroy was about "School" and not out here. Just relax people, back off, he is just trying to point out and change if possible some of these rules inside the schools. It is very rediculous how some of the rules enforce outragious punishments and silly expectations. I know that they are there to instill discipline but we must realize…… we went to school years ago when these weren’t a problem…. it is not easier growing up now than then.. it is just as difficult if not more difficult because of all the other pressures these young people are faced with.

      You may say that we are ignorant… you are entitled to it but forgive us when we say…we are breed from the older generations. We are the newer version!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I really think the only smart person that has commented recently is that MH guy and the other ones who were positive. 

    "All I have to say writer is grow up and try to engage yourself in the working world."

    Obviously he is working with the Cayman News Service.

    "You can wear whatever you want in the unemployment line."

    Are you familiar with that?

    "On a more general note, as a year 11 student who is shortly about to enter the workforce or pursue higher education, it may be more beneficial to look at the big picture instead of sweating the small stuff. "

    Big picture? Individuality isn’t big? My friend you look at life way to bland. Try living. See how that works out.

    Some of the ignorance shown in these comments is proposterous I must say. Let the kid voice his thoughts! You talk about how wearing a uniform will helphim in work. Uhm I went to school in the USA. I wore no uniforms. Guess what, I’m  lawyer now and I wear a suit and tie all the time.


    • Anonymous says:

      "Uhm I went to school in the USA. I wore no uniforms".

      Yep, that’s where the idea comes from.

      Inspires indiscipline. The problem with the world is that there is too much "individuality". It’s all about ME. Healthier when we see ourselves as a part of a community, in this case your school, and a uniform certainly seems you to identify with that community. 

      On the other side, makes it much easier for the school to consistently apply a standard of acceptable dress.   

  10. Anonymous says:

    Firstly, the schools are run by the Government. So blame the government if you don’t agree. School rules are school rules, and your point that it cost more money to buy the casual clothes that you, Toby Watson, would like to wear; than the actual school clothes. If the school rules were followed before, there would be no need for more!

    Secondly, the past education minister has said basically that when you look smart, you act and behave smartly. Just keep up with the rules, and stop trying to blame other people for things that are not affecting your academic achievement!!

    Waste of an article!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    "On a more general note……….. it may be more beneficial to look at the big picture instead of sweating the small stuff."  – Anonyomous 09:43

    Isn’t that pretty much what Toby was saying?

  12. Dowatchulike says:

    Obviously the 09.43 poster completely forgets what it was like to be young.  Expressing oneself in a conformist manner is to deny the very essence of youthful expression.  Get your haircut in a way that annoys your parents.  Push the uniform code so far that the rules are broken, and then break it some more.  Get away with it, get told off.  It does not really matter.  Listen to music that the older generation believe to be noise.  Do it now, and tell the job-and-mortage brigade that there dull social norms can wait a while. 

    I had a permanent seat outside the principal’s office, I was sent home for breaking the rules, i was told that my dress sense was an embarrassment to my parents.  And now?  I still got the college place, the great job and all the rest of the package.

  13. frank rizzo says:

    You can wear whatever you want in the unemployment line.

    • Anonymous says:


      Had you not put your name and age…you would have received a different set of comments here. I understand where youare coming from. But on that same line, we need to understand that being a part of any organization requires you to act and behave, in this case, dress in a certain way.

      It is apparent that there are many problems with the way things are being handled and needless to say the expectations are still the same. So be careful and keep voicing your opinions as this is what makes us individuals. Also, it helps us understand reactions.

  14. noname says:

    Express yourself with the colour bag you wear to school…

    express yourself on the debate team,

    express yourself through the art, music and drama classes the school offers…

    express yourself in your english essays you should be writing.

    Express yourself through excellent grades, youth forums, people to people and junior achievement.

    there are countless ways to express yourself positively in a school environment.

    Use them.

    There are many more distractions and adverse effects compared to the perceived benefits of different shoe colours in a school environment. 

    On a more general note, as a year 11 student who is shortly about to enter the workforce or pursue higher education, it may be more beneficial to look at the big picture instead of sweating the small stuff. 


  15. Anonymous says:

    All this research didn’t indicate to Mr. (Miss?) Watson that schools in the Cayman Islands are not run by a school board. Wonder what else s/he has wrong?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, they are. The Education Department… a "board" of people…

  16. MH says:

    Good JOB Mr.Watson. I Agree with you. The schools need to pay attention to more pressing matters than just bother students with uniform problems. If you ask me, it should be eradicated.

  17. Hatty Tudor says:


    Well said!  It is more important to be comfortable in your skin and go through life with integrity, than to conform to outmoded conservative strereotypes.  For people of your age and up, how you dress is an important means of self-expression, and practically the only one you have.  So go for it!  You have a right of free speech, and how you dress and look is exercising that right.  Those that are telling you to dress the way they want dressed differently when they were young too (or if they didn’t they were interminably dull all their lives, just feel sorry for them!)


  18. Anonymous says:

    I would agree with the other person above on this.

    I really think that there needs to be some standards set. Now I would say the shoe color thing should be a little tee wee bit more flexible in that you can have say Black or white shoes or two of three different colors but must be a certain style shoe.

    As for clothes I find the writer silly at best. A school foundation is to prepare children for the working world and give them the skills neceassry to cope with and excel in that environment. Saying that it is only natural to enforce some sort of uniform policy and some sort of mandate on hair lengths and styles.

    What the writer fails to recognize is the value of redundency and natural tendencies to young adults. He talks of it being learnt in one day as an answer yet he is how old and claims to see no need.

    Aah forget it he is probably a troubled teen screaming out trying to get attention because he wants to wear his hair long and wear bitebacks and green shoes with pink pockadots for all I know. Why am I even addressing this it is so silly.

    All I have to say writer is grow up and try to engage yourself in the working world.

    Over and out

    • Anonymous says:

      The comments on hairstyle are valid.

      When short hair is in vogue, children with long hair (and long can be defined as short 3 inches) are sent home to get it cut: until long hair becomes fashionable and children with short (or shaved hair) are sent home to let it grow out. 

      There also appears to be a racial divide in what is regarded as "long". 

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Watson, I suggest that you take a good look at the work forces around our country. Most employees wear a uniform in all occupations. Many employees do not understand what is appropriate to wear to work and seem to feel that party wear is fine. Thus the employers/managers have to spend too much time enforcing ‘appropriateness’, hence the institution of a work uniform. If you don’t follow it there is a good chance you will not work there long.

    When you are not in school or work you can express yourself and wear what you want. That is your time.