To judge whether the Singapore Sports School had been too harsh in expelling its five students for smoking, I discussed the controversy with my teacher friends.
Their consensus is that to the best of their knowledge they can’t recall any cases of students being expelled for breaching school rules, even for serial offenders or more serious offenses like arson and assault on teachers.
Smoking in school is rife and for those caught the usual punishment, even for repeat offenders, is suspension, demerit points and counselling. Sometimes caning.
But no student had ever been expelled for smoking. Teens are still immature and tend to be rash and rebellious. Still, schools don’t want to destroy their future by expelling them.
Even for the more serious offense of assault on teachers, the offender is merely transferred to another school to continue his education.
Seen in this context, Singapore Sports School has been harsh in expelling the five students for smoking.
As educators, SSS should not be easily upset by disciplinary breaches and resort to the big stick.
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