Date
18 August 2019
A secondary school in Happy Valley has admitted that a teacher acted in haste in calling the police on some students who were taking pictures in the campus late last month. Photo: YouTube
A secondary school in Happy Valley has admitted that a teacher acted in haste in calling the police on some students who were taking pictures in the campus late last month. Photo: YouTube

When an apology isn’t convincing enough

After coming under fire over an inexplicable and insensitive action against some of its students, St Paul’s Secondary School is now seeking to make amends.

The elite girls’ school in Happy Valley has now apologized for its high-handedness in calling the police on Form Six pupils who were taking farewell photos in and around the campus last month.

The apology, however, isn’t doing much to quell the anger of the students and their parents.

For one, the words of contrition came eleven days after the Feb. 28 incident, somewhat too late. 

Worse still, the wording, many people felt, made it a far from sincere apology.

On its website, St Paul’s put up a public notice on March 11, under the headline: “On the matter related to Form Six students on their last school day (February 28).”

The text read thus: “The school would like to extend our apology to all stakeholders who might be troubled and disturbed by the captioned incident.

“We will also thoroughly evaluate future arrangements for various student activities to ensure that they can be conducted smoothly.

“Moreover, the teacher involved would deeply apologize for the hasty decision in calling the police.”

Going by the statement, it appears St Paul’s has finally woken up to the fact that it erred in calling the police on students who were merely taking photos on their last school day.

According to reports, a teacher called the police as Form Six pupils were snapping pictures just outside the school gate on Feb. 28. And what was the reason for the complaint? Well, as per some reports, the teacher had apparently been concerned about the students’ safety.

Facing flak for the decision and coming under social media fire, the school has offered an apology but that doesn’t seem to be putting an end to the controversy.

Some people are wondering why the principal hasn’t offered a personal apology. Also, questions are being raised as to whom exactly is the school tendering an apology to?

Shouldn’t St. Paul’s have been more specific than merely addressing the apology to “stakeholders”?

I am never a fan of parent-teacher associations, but I would say it would be overly formal to refer to them as just stakeholders.

Next, what exactly was the school apologizing for? St. Paul’s mentioned the “matter related to Form Six students on their last school day”, without stating any facts and going into what actually happened that day.

I can’t but help sympathize with the Form Six girls who must have had this thought on their minds after the Feb. 28 action: “I love the school, but does the school love me?”

Also, there was no explanation as to why a teacher saw it fit to call the police when the pupils were merely taking pictures at various spots in and just outside the campus.

While there was the admission that the teacher made a “hasty decision”, there were no details of the incident. Also, the identity of the teacher has been kept under wraps.

This leaves us wondering: Did the teacher who called the police actually apologize for the seemingly stupid and brainless act?

No one is perfect. But when we make a mistake and seek to apologize, the least we can do is be clear in the apology – as to who it is addressed to, and for what.

Beating around the bush won’t do any good.

St Paul’s could definitely have done better!

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe