Clifton Hunter still ‘weak’, say school inspectors

| 11/04/2019 | 69 Comments
Cayman News Service

Clifton Hunter High School students

(CNS): The overall performance of Clifton Hunter High School was rated weak again by education inspectors, showing that the government’s flagship school has shown no improvement since its review last year. In the Office of Education Standards’ latest report on the school in Frank Sound they said the standard of teaching was ‘weak’ and most of the eighteen quality indicators were also judged to be ‘weak’. Attainment and progress in English, mathematics and science were below international standards and only a minority of students are making good progress in lessons.

The inspection team raised the issue yet again that one-third of students at the school are too young for their year because they were not admitted into the appropriate year group for their chronological age. Inspectors said the school should collaborate with Department of Education Services to review the admissions policy to address the problem.

Inspectors said that fewer than half of the students left the school with five or more Level 2 passes, including English and mathematics, at the expected level. Attainment in maths, English and science was below international standards in all year groups.

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“There was considerable variation between the attainment of different year groups currently in the school, with particular weaknesses in Years 8, 9 and 10,” the report stated. While the report said that attainment had been on an improving trajectory between 2015 to 2017 for science and English, in 2018 science dropped significantly.

The inspectors said that behaviour for learning was satisfactory but there was too much low-level disruption in a minority of lessons, though they did note that the vice principals and learning mentors “worked tirelessly to ensure that students could learn free from worries and bullying”.

But the report also found a minority of teachers did not follow procedures for recording behaviour incidents, so it was not sanctioned.

In general, however, the inspection revealed that teaching was weak because it was too variable in almost all subjects. “In a minority of lessons, the teaching was slow-paced and caused students to become bored. In such lesson teachers had very low expectations of students,” inspectors stated.

The report recommends that the school raise standards of achievement in all year groups in mathematics, English and science as well as improve teaching and learning by introducing more effective performance management arrangements. They report also said that teachers’ skills in classroom-based behaviour management should be improved to reduce low-level disruption.

Although the school has 780 students enrolled, only 109 parents took part in the school survey and only a minority of teachers felt that parent-teacher meetings were well attended or that parental involvement supported learning.

“A majority of teachers felt that they lacked the resources they needed to deliver the curriculum,” the inspectors wrote. Meanwhile, only half of students said they felt safe at school or on the bus journey to and from school and that bullying was dealt with effectively.

Given the weak grade, the school will be inspected again within six months.

See the full inspection in the CNS Library

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Category: Education, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (69)

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  1. No state citizen says:

    The problem in schools and attainment is due to several things.

    a. Some parents expect teachers to do everything so they don’t get involved in their child’s curriculum, they don’t inquire about homework, they don’t attend PTA meetings. They put their kids on the bus to school and almost never go to the school until graduation and they wonder why their kids aren’t successful in exams.

    b. Some children have entitled attitudes, the importance of a good education has not been impressed on them. They feel they are going to get a job because or who mama or daddy are or who they know.

    b. Some teachers have no interest in the children, they collect their monthly salary and go home. They don’t care to try to make the subject they are teaching interesting, they don’t care if the kids are learning or not, they are still paid.

    c. There are some teachers who only focus on the students they consider to be smart. They forget that there are more than six or seven children in the classroom and they only focus on those students.

    Clifton Hunter is a perfect example of a big, shiny new building with nothing to show for it.

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    • Joe B says:

      First world schools versus third world culture. Some kids will win, most will lose to the culture. Kids not raised to do well in the modern world view an education as an unnecessary evil. A culture like this will not survive but it will take three of four further generations to pass especially when the leadership is also third world.

    • Anonymous says:

      A. many brilliant people in the world had zero parent’s involvement when they were growing up. Parents were busy with making ends meet. Or were uneducated themselves. Drive to learn is gone when google answers all your questions. Worldwide problem

      B. Entitlement attitude is a 21st century bit$h. It is what it is. Yet it is a bigger problem in your country. But even Rome fell. When cayman miracle turns into cayman nightmare, and it will, for you destroyed your environment near to a point of no return, then you would need real professionals to pull yourself out of the mess. Your entitled leaders would be useless.

      C. How do you make teacher to care? Besides, your statements about teachers are subjective.

      Implementable suggestions: 1. ban cellphones in schools. Many countries did. Reduces distraction and encourages real communication. 2. No wifi at schools. Many countries did. Reduces exposure to man made EMF( cancer prevention), limits cellphones capabilities. 3. Kids must have longer recesses as they do it in Finland. 4. All troubled kids should be professionally evaluated for learning disabilities and custom educational programs implemented.
      This is something that could be easily done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please read the report again. The inspection report sited inconsistent teaching as a major concern affecting weak outcomes in learning. It did mention that Behavioural concerns were essentially low level so the pastoral team is working hard. What was recommenced was that the Learning Mentors focus on the professional development of teaching staff in managing low level behavior. The school is making progress but some of the challenges are outside of the remit of the principal. The school has about 25% special needs students with a wide range of challenging behaviors, so don’t believe its a cake walk to teach there. Any new principal will face the same challenges with the added pressure of endless inspections and scrutiny. Try for one minute to put yourself in the shoes of any of the staff in that school and you would realize that it’s easy to criticize from the outside. Thanks for trying and not giving up staff at Clifton Hunter.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Unless parents (and kids) step up and insist on the best while helping the process, little will change. Change the mindset that it’s “free” education, as we all pay taxes!
    Yes, While they are too often uncommunicative and Reactive vs. Proactive, I’d still highly commend the Principal and others I’ve worked with to help my child. Eg. Mr. Daniels, the Counsellors, the 2Deputies, Ms Green etc.
    The school is massive. It needs to be open to offer help ir electives a half day on weekends, allow Wifi and internet devices with controls, an actual Library..even adult education after hours n holidays. They were to be Learning Communities as I recall.
    Locals love to learn and we are very intuitive and creative ..but there is a lack of resolve to acvommodate this; the stigmas are also caused by systematic separation of social stratas even as private school are highly subsidised.
    Even so..I say give Clifton to a private svhool mgt team..have parents pay a token $50 per month, and demand better value for money from all.
    Eg. The bus contracts are lucrative, but how many if us would like sitting with dozens of others going and coming to school in hot busses wirh no AC in dun ir rain (when the windows are closed). Yes the service is appreciated..but kids are human too and there should be some basic comfort levels for the costs paid for bussing.
    And no..stop calling the bus aides “Wardens”. Just stop it.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    One serious problem with our present education system is that there are many staff who believe that after many years of keeping a classroom seat warm they are entitled to leadership and therefore a senior management position. In too many cases this has been the reason for promotion and it has left the schools with a ‘weak middle management’.
    All credit to the Principal(s) who are prepared to seek out the most competent staff for their schools.
    Shame on the staff who publicly blame others for their own shortcomings.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With that in mind, please, while interviewing or merely slipping in new principals and deputy heads, look in depth not at only qualifications, but character and best fit. The deputy heads on the Brac are abominable.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess that it has nothing to do with the $5000 equal pay raise instead of by a percentage..which would have been equitable for long-serving and dedicated educators?
      Newbies are now paid equal to good veterans.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s simple. Private sector won’t hire these kids once they see they went to public school. They become civil servants or prisoners. That is the reality.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All of you that thumbs down are in for a shock! Have you ever spoken to any expat or overheard their real opinions of the locals? It is all negative. It is because the quality of the high school leavers overall, add in the poor quality, terrible behaviour, attitudes and poor work ethic. Do you think they get hired and if they do, they have a glass ceiling because they are the token Caymanian hires.

      The only ones expats tolerate are the children from private school. That’s right tolerate. They don’t respect them much better either. Actually it is more envy, because the opportunities Caymanians have are significantly better than anything these expats get in their home countries.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    This head was welcomed and had tremendous credibility with staff. However the head threw it away playing favorites while alienating experienced staff. This is the outcome and it won’t recover until head heads to other climes. Sad, but all is not lost there are brilliant students and teachers there. Hope they don’t leave in the exodus.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting! Typical of the entire Civil Service! Poor quality because of poor leadership all around, yet the Minister of Education finds time to issue gross comments against gay marriage! Morons in charge!!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Third world ethics= third world students. Third world leadership and parenting
    should not have anything to do with modern education, modern garbage collection, and anything in between.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The politicians are to busy fighting gays.

    Politicians and chjrch leaders benefit from an uneducated population. So dont expect any change.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Until more secular thinking proliferates this society. The schools education performance will be as poor as the logic of the society at whole (exclude the minority of free-thinkers).

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Juju needs to respond!!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    My child attends Clifton Hunter and there is NOT ONE TEACHER who cares unless your a friend or foe. The principal sits in her office and has more chiefs than Indians. You have head of this and deputy that and let’s not mention the three academies and their inconsistent learning mentors who only bully the vulnerable kids they think don’t have a voice. The school is more concerned with shoes than retention.
    As for Juliana I hope to Christ she would put some energy into education like how she made sure to be present in court and was very vocal in urging people to attend the wedding.
    I am a Caymanian who doesn’t have the means to send my child to private school and there is NO ONE in government willing to try and do something about the consistent failings. We always get a communication telling us inspectors are coming make sure your kids have tools to work with but the school never have paper and if you have paper for the copier the printer never has ink.
    Ohhhh wait once the inspectors come everything works for those few days and then once they leave it’s back to normal. I wish these inspectors would come unexpected and really see what’s happening. Come see how often Pauline walks the school grounds and how often the kids are engaged in classrooms. Come see how often the teachers have basic essential equipment to teach the kids.

    Not all of us Caymanian parents are raising trouble makers and drop outs. Some of us are trying but “THE SYSTEM” is killing the future.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How the hell can anyone thumbs down that comment? A cry for help from a Caymanian parent who is not one of the magic circle of the politicians, their friends or the merchant class, who actually wants their kid to get a decent education. Are you suggesting she is lying – cause the inspectors report seems to agree with her. Or is it just unacceptable to criticize the minister or admit that something in Cayman is far from perfect. Let’s shoot the messenger eh.

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      • Anonymous says:

        exactly!! How do you thumbs down that comment? I’ve said it so many times on this platform, the public school system is failing and nobody in gov’t gives 2 shits about it! Before we never knew what they were doing instead of fixing it, now we see it’s all about preventing the LGBT community from getting married! I can empathize w/ this parent, I’m sure they would send their children to private school if they could afford it, but for lots of us, that’s not possible. Why should we have to put up with the lack of respect from the Education Ministry?? I love the idea of the inspectors showing up unexpected– surely we would see much more weak sections in all the schools!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Third world leadership knows it can only survive if the country they lead is third world. The failure is all and only about their survival.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the school is failing then replace the head. Simple!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I used to work there. I cared. I cared a great deal. The problem was that so few others also did, that what we were trying to do was a drop in the ocean.

      I agree with so many of your points above. And I’m truly sorry that you are stuck with this for your child. You are obviously one of the apparent minority who genuinely care about your child’s education. Please, never stop caring and advocating for your child. He or she is lucky to have you!

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      • Anonymous says:

        why is it that so many others who work there don’t care? Just curious, since you used to work there- what needs to change… from a former teacher point of view? Maybe that’s what they need, honest feedback from people that work in these schools!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have never seen a perfect school.

      How often do you attend Clifton PTA meetings and raise your concerns with the teachers and other parents? What efforts are you making to ensure your child LEARNS something despite the deficiencies in teaching and other resources? Are you consistently checking your child’s progress? Have you asked other parents for help? I see some parents helping each other and each others children by bartering their knowledge/skills, so, some parents are finding a way despite the adversities. As parents, we make time to ensure our child is learning regardless how hopeless some of the teachers can be.

      There are bad teachers there causing problems for the school. No disagreement there. But, there are some teachers who’d give a kidney for our children to make sure they learn, so, it’s unfair to brush them all with the same stroke of criticism.

      The solution is the deadwood in the teaching body MUST be pruned, whether Caymanian or not. The Education Ministry needs to revise some of the outdated policies to match those of schools in the UK so that policy decisions don’t cause issues for the school during these inspections. It’s really a team effort between the ministry, parents, teachers and students – a community effort. Until you see that, your complaints won’t cease.

      Please think this through before making any further scalding comments.

      Peace be with you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you 5:17pm well said, instead of bashing and focussing on past comments made by JuJu come up with solutions to hold the school, teachers and the ministry accountable for failure. Yes, I am well aware that parents play a vital role as well but this problem seems to be rooted from within the school/teachers. Our children are the future, lets us focus on that, if you are not pleased withJuju you know what is required come next election.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most sensible comment on this thread.

  13. anon says:

    It’s such a shame – all this well justified criticism of Ju Ju is a waste of time. She could not care less, as she well knows whatever she does or does not do makes not the slightest difference due to her political connections and all her Brac worshippers who are well rewarded for their votes.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Stop bringing third world school teachers to teach. They are not qualified. http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/shortage-of-trained-teachers-blamed-for-poor-csec-math-results

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hope people read the whole article as it noted that the majority of the qualified teachers had left Jamaica. Maybe they are in the private schools in Cayman

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      • Anonymous says:

        They sure aren’t in the public schools. My son has a History teacher that doesn’t even know simple Caribbean history.

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      • Anonymous says:

        They aren’t in the public schools for sure. My son’s teacher doesn’t even know basic Caribbean History.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They can only recruit who are willing to come. The history of the school and lack of support for teachers would result in poor recruitment. There is a high level of turnover because students can say to teachers “you better go back where you come from”. Total disrespect not only from students but parents too. Look at how many parents completed the survey 109 of 780. That speaks volumes for how much the parents cares about their children.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well where should the teachers come from?

      • Anonymous says:

        Where do I begin? For one, we live on an island, a majority of Jamaicans can’t swim. So….we hire PE teachers from Jamaica? Just sayin

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman. They need to start training their own then they shouldn’t complain. Teaching is a noble profession and not for the faint of heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      More like stop bringing third world cultured kids to a first world school and expect them to learn first world values they have never been taught to accept at home?

  15. anon says:

    Bit like the Civil Service, mediocrity is accepted as the norm.

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  16. Jen Taylor says:

    Dear MLAs, why don’t one of you get up in the LA and refer to this month for JuJu as FAILPRIL (wink wink wink). You can have that for free, I hereby relinquish all comedic rights to that term.

    Please ensure you do it so it can be sent around the planet via YouTube, and it definitely won’t be cringeworthy or embarrassing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Juliana is only interested in one thing, Juliana. Why give a cross the board increase in salary to teachers when all schools except Lighthouse are failing. You have teachers with not even a basic maths qualification teaching mathematics to our children. Mark my words Juliana is preparing to run for Premier. Be afraid, be very afraid!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Its crazy that no matter what’s happening in society everyone thinks it should refer to the same sex-marriage. Some people in this society are over the issue and by constantly mixing the issues in every post and argument has caused people to careless and support less wishing the entire situation didn’t happen.

    There are many church goers and Christians that could careless what people choose to do with their lives and say sure get married (I am one) but seriously listening to the hate and disrespect being thrown at the church makes it even harder to wish the same sex supporters well. The lack of respect and generalizations are awful.

    In addition, many of us choose to live in this country because we feel safe, low crime rate and because its an awesome place to raise kids (despite the results of the inspection reports for education)etc. and you should really consider what makes Cayman so great and different from the rest of the world. As much as we would like to debate the existence of God, there is some merit to the value system to this country and why it is the way it is and that’s because majority of the people are Christian or have been raised with Christian values whether they are bible totting now or haven’t been to church in 20 years the value system is there.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Well done Juju! Maybe for your next act you can shout from the rooftops for all parents to take to the streets and demand better education for their children! Why hasn’t she been given the boot yet?? It’s so pathetic and so unfair to the children who have no choice but to attend these “weak” schools! And all she said was that she’ll raise the teachers wage to $5,000 p/m and grant them more time off for graduations etc– seriously?? That’s how she thinks the crappy attitude of the students will change? That’s how to get them passing grades? What’s worse is that it’s not just the High Schools that have weak inspections, John A Cumber in West Bay and Savannah Primary also were still scored as weak! Where’s the outrage?? Oh yea, it’s at the LA protesting two lovely ladies who want the same rights as everyone else! (insert eye roll here)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Juju thinks that introducting the British National Curriculum, text books and making maths harder that somehow the children will be more successful. Really? Same teachers, same hiring techniques, and same third world country being scoured to fill posts here. Oh and the same HR religious expat hating person at the head of recruitment in the Education Department.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Uneducated youth make for poor future Government leaders as is currently on display.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has gone to the dogs. Nobody cares anymore. The parents don’t care, the teachers don’t care and the government does not care. The most culpable are the parents as they are the foundation for success.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone’s too concerned about consenting adults getting married these days. Sad shame for these forgotten children.

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      • anon says:

        3.10pm As they say in Parliament, hear, hear!.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Consenting adults can also be pedophiles too you know.

        CNS: This is a very bizarre comment. “Consenting adults” means that everyone in the relationship is “consenting” and “adult”. Therefore, they cannot be paedophiles.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So weird to say that. Thank you CNS, there’s always one idiot who thinks paedophiles are the same as consenting adult relationships.

  21. Nothing changes says:

    Not to worry its going to be in the same boat in the next five years, the minister for education is busy trying to hang gay people.
    The Premier is way to busy, making sure Caymanians don’t have rights, wasting money on appeals, plus trying to build a port which will ruin our environment.

    Don’t forget, we Caymanians entitled to jobs without an education….

    New government soon come!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I said before raising teachers starting wages to $5,000 p m, will not help, if you don’t care, you don’t care period, that’s it, and if you care for the children , you care, you will continue to have interest in the children, for the wages you agreed on. When Government give a raise most of the workers did less.. Check the Brac, thats why they have to hire 3 people to do one job, and before Government was paying a lot less, one person did more than 3 people are doing now

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      • Anonymous says:

        Has anyone ever asked why [teachers] either don’t care or stopped caring? When they’re under equipped, underpaid, overly stressed because of bad-behaved children or the sheer number of needy children who are so far below their international peers academically? And let’s not forget the classic Parent-teacher cussout. Is it any wonder why teachers have mentally checked out?

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is very true…over staffed. Sometimes I see more than 10 teachers cars in staff parking on B in a school of less than 70. Come on.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:55, The alternative is not exactly inspiring. The old boys and old girls will continue to run the show as the steady decline of Caymanian society continues.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Churning out illiterate homophobes. Job well done, JuJu

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey Juju why don’t you put in as much energy to your portfolio as you do bashing gays and maybe the schools would actually be worth a damn.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why help children when you can discriminate against consenting adults. Backwards mentalities.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The thumbs down here baffle me. Surely children are our precious resource. If you want the glass ceiling to disappear in Cayman then our children need a world class education to be able to compete for those jobs. As it is, we are failing them and so the cycle continues.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Juju would not know what a good education was if it it her in the face. Why go to England to look at Academies at a time when even the Brits are realizing that Academies do not improve outcomes for children. Why not visit places that actually have a good education system like the Nordic countries.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cos then you might have to employ Nordic teachers?

        • Anonymous says:

          I bet a team of male strict Russian teachers would fix all those kids and their parents. If they don’t like it, they can get sent to isolation. Like in a prison and forced to listen to the lecture. Until they decide not to be disruptive in class.

          If the parents don’t like it, the child gets put back in isolation and the parents can get publicly named and shamed.

          The overall problem is no accountability and ppl not actually caring. Caring includes being tough and not pussy footing around on difficult issues. Or hey keep focusing on the gays which these kids don’t care about. The education of these children matter or just start building a bigger prison.

          Every child should have an ID card. That ID card should be used for the kids to swipe in and out of the classroom for attendance and for entering and leaving the premises including the bathrooms. That way if a child is not where they should be then they are immediately reported. If a child does not bring their ID card to school then they are publicly named and shamed – school website – and have to get a temporary card for the day. If a child allows another child to use their access card. Both are reprimanded.

          These kids have to get used to swipe cards when at work. Just start early.

          There are lots of options. Why not try something.

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  24. Void says:

    So apparently praying that gays don’t get their deserved rights is effective according to Julianna.

    I wonder how effective she thinks praying for our children is given this report.

    You see where their priorities lie now. Talking to yourself with your eyes closed and hands clasped does nothing.

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