The headmaster of Francistown Senior Secondary School, Othusitse Othusitse, has slammed parents for abdicating their duties of monitoring their students’ discipline and education and leaving teachers with the burden of educating students on their own.
This comes in the wake of yet another scandal involving twenty-two FSSS students who last week went on a drinking and dagga smoking spree at Shashe River in Mathangwane, thereafter displaying the most unruly behavior and insulting elders in a combi en-route to Francistown . Speaking to The Sunday Standard last week, Othusitse said it is disheartening that in the face of the crippling wave of students’ indiscipline and academic non-performance at FSSS some parents continue to display disinterest in the education and discipline of their children, shunning invitations to PTA meetings and not monitoring their children’s movements and behavior at home.
After being released from their Saturday studies last week, 22 FSSS students, all of them in Form 5, each contributed P20 towards the beach party and went on to buy alcohol, including the lethal Overmeer and Capenheimer wines, which are commonly dubbed Ntsi-e-Tala or Moimana, and dagga, and later proceeded to Shashe River where they imbibed the abundant drugs and alcohol in large quantities. The students, most of whom are hardly 18 years old, then embarked on a drunken brawl which resulted in one of them losing a tooth and later went on to insult elders and display unbecoming behavior en-route to their residents in Francistown. They were later nabbed and brought to book after an irate parent sent the school management a tip-off that their students were seen misbehaving.
In the culmination of a no-holds-barred disciplinary action, spearheaded by headmaster Othusitse, the 22 students were rounded up and by Wednesday 19 of them had been slapped with a 20-day suspension by the school’s disciplinary committee after consultation with their parents. In a subsequent meeting with the parents, Othusitse said that the school management would be tough on indiscipline.
Since it plummeted into the dismal abyss of indiscipline, drug and alcohol abuse and student misbehavior, FSSS has repeatedly posted dismal BGCSE results that have seen many parents turning their back on the school, which was once the pride of Francistown as, together with Mater Spei College, it posted sterling results in the Form 5 examinations, maintaining top positions nationwide.
Othusithe told The Sunday Standard that it is not the first time that they have had problems with students’ discipline.
“Though not in such large numbers, it is not the first time that we have suspended students for dagga and alcohol abuse,” he said.
Previous efforts by the school management to arrest the crippling wave of indiscipline and substance abuse have not borne fruit and they were forced to take stern disciplinary measures, like suspension and corporal punishment.
”We have measures in place like guidance and counseling, induction, consultations with parents and corporal punishment and we have stated in no uncertain terms in our manifesto and prospectus that we will strive to maintain the highest levels of discipline in our school, but students continue to disregard set rules and regulations, ” he said.
However, the headmaster said that all the measures that the school might put in place would not bear fruit if parents do not take an active role in teaming up with the teachers to ensure that their children maintain the highest levels of discipline. He lamented the fact that while parents come in large droves to register their students at the beginning of the term, they then sit back and relax, shunning the school administration‘s invitations to PTA meetings and abdicating their responsibility of monitoring their children’s studies and movements at home.
Othusitse also revealed that some parents have shown reluctance when summoned to school to discuss issues of their children’s indiscipline and academic non-performance.
He told The Sunday Standard that some of the 22 students who attended the beach party told the school administration that they had been granted permission by their parents to attend the said party.
“What parent would allow their child to attend such a party? Students’ parties should be held at home during the day and monitored by parents,” he said. “Experience has shown that students whose parents are in constant communication with teachers are very well behaved and generally perform much better at school.”