St Mary's College suspends students involved in fight & "birthday sessioning'

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 10:15

The students involved in a fighting incident caught on camera at St Mary's College have been suspended and a larger group from a second incident are also to face suspension.

This was confirmed by the principal of St Mary's College, Nigel Joseph in an email to parents regarding the incidents.

He said: "The first incident involved a group of Form Three students of which two were fighting and the others were video recording using their cellphones. On discovery, the matter was thoroughly investigated, parents contacted and the group of students all suspended. The suspensions were effected from last week Wednesday, May 3rd.

"The second incident, involving Form 4 students, was what is referred to (by the boys) as a birthday session. This, in NO WAY, is condoned by the college. This too was investigated and students who were identified as being there, striking the student, video recording or watching on and jeering will ALL be dealt with severely and suspended." 

He said the school's administration, supported by staff, are taking this matter very seriously and acting accordingly.

"At our Monday Assembly, students were reminded of the school's policy on use of cellphones and also on the school's stance regarding "sessioning" of any kind," he said.

These policies are:

* Cellphones are to be OFF and out of sight during school hours (7:30 to 2:05, including the lunch and mid-morning breaks). Any student found in breach of this will have his phone taken. The phone will be returned to only his parent or guardian, who must come in to collect.

* Students found with inappropriate material on his phone or any electronic mobile handheld device, will be suspended. Inappropriate material includes but is not only limited to; pornography, filming or photos of members of staff (without the teacher's permission), fights or violent acts involving students of the college).

* Students found circulating any such above mentioned material will be suspended.

* Students found to be involved in any form of "sessioning" will be suspended.

Joseph said that over the last two days he met with each year group, Forms 1 to 4 individually and had lengthy discussions on the matter.

He said the focus was on responsible behaviour, pride in their college, the damage and hurt caused to the school, and impressing on them the seriousness of these recent actions.

"I have also met with my staff and discussions were held on ways to move forward and possible interventions. These discussions will be ongoing. Some initiatives have been proposed and you will be notified about them at the appropriate time. I assure you that all is being done to ensure that this does not happen again," he said.

He added: "These sequence of events and negative publicity has saddened and hurt us all, staff, parents, past students and many students. The school has been making tremendous efforts to highlight the many achievements of our young men. Teachers work hard to ensuring these students are well educated and our Past Students Union and many parents have been working tirelessly, all for the benefit of our students."