ZOSO scolding - Bleaching, untidy students reprimanded by officers
It was not all about being searched at the various police/military checkpoints in Mount Salem yesterday, as students from the community, which was named as a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) last Friday, also got many stern lectures on good grooming and deportment from the security personnel.
"Boy, how you get into these pants," asked a policeman, as a schoolboy presented himself to be searched. "You don't feel untidy ... give me your mother number right now, I want to talk to her."
Students, who showed up displaying signs of recent bleaching, also got tongue-lashed by the officers, who not only recorded their names for future intervention, but also noted that such a practice was due to poor self-esteem.
"Are you bleaching young lady?" an officer asked a female student, whose face was much lighter in colour than the other parts of her body. "Where is your self-esteem? ... you need to get a hold on your life ... bleaching will not take you where you should be going."
Students who showed up at the checkpoints properly groomed and had their identification cards ready for inspection, got good words of commendation from the officers, who quickly processed them and allowed them on their way.
When Western Star visited the Mt Salem Primary and Junior High School, Acting Principal Carlene Brown Clarke said things were going well and the students from the community were out in encouraging numbers.
"We are off to an excellent start, the children are coming in. I know one or two might not be here because of uniforms and other things, but I am sure ZOSO has not prevented anyone from coming," said Brown Clarke.
Brown Clarke was also quite pleased with the presence of the military and the police in the community, saying it was most reassuring, considering the violence that has been plaguing the community in recent times.
"We thank God that the police and soldiers are out there ... even for the children and the teachers to get here safely," said Brown Clarke. "The community really needs this; people need to be able to go about their business in a safe way."
One of the initiatives that Brown Clarke found most pleasing was the promise from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to assist needy families with their back-to-school expenses.
"We have students and parents with real needs, as you know we are in the lower socio-economic group. We have children coming to school without lunch money, books, and bus fare and we have to find ways to help them," said Brown Clarke. "This promised help from the prime minister is most welcomed."