The board of education of Ottawa –Carlton is faced by a challenging decision to make based on whether to separate the boys and the girls and build special school for the boys. This is in the advent of parents from the Same Goal Separate Journeys Organization (SGSJO) having approached the board of education with a claim that the boys are finding it hard to concentrate in class in the presence of girls. This paper is an analysis of the merits and the demerits of separating the teenagers from each other on gender lines as will be presented by the Director of the School Board of the Brookfield High School to the board of education of Ottawa-Carlton. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association which opposes the idea of separating genders will present its views along with the parents movement group SGSJO and hence this plan will incorporate a compromise plan for all the involved parties.
Single Sex School
Brookfield high school is traditionally mixed gender school. The suggestion that the school be separated as the parents’ movement is proposing is logical and good. Firstly, it is taking into consideration the need for the male students to perform the best they can. Therefore the need for a social setup that is convenient for that is important. This will also reduce the behavior of the boys to want to feel superior in front of the girls and when unable to they resort to unorthodox means such as acting out. This manner of releasing the steam inside serves the purpose of making the boys perform poorly in school (Sullivan et al., 2010).
The boys are at a tender age that is vulnerable to pressure and teenage tantrums that accompany that age. The dressing style and manner of decorum of the girls is bound to be detrimental to study pattern of the boys. Even though the girls may not be meaning any harm, the boys will feel attracted and this diverts their attention from the purpose and spirit of being in school. Therefore when the girls are taken to the nearby Ridgemont high, the boys will have a better learning environment free of distractions from the girls dressing styles (Sullivan et al., 2010).
In the learning setup, the separation is bound to benefit both the sexes. There are boys that feel intimidated in the presence of girls and the reverse is true for the girls. This problem will effectively be solved when they are not in the same setup. Those students that feel cowed by the opposite sex will now have a freer environment to participate in class. This will improve the overall results of both genders and exploit the potential of that group that feels threatened to the fullest (Sullivan, 2009).
Separation will be of benefit to the students in their lives. Though this may not be quantifiable at the moment in terms of grades and overall performance, when the child grows in an environment where he/she feels confident to answer and ask questions learning is likely to be there. Also it acts as a morale booster that propels the student to higher levels in life. From this angle it is really important to focus on those students that do not feel comfortable in the presence of male or female counterparts that are more talented academically. This is the group that is likely to benefit from the segregation (Sullivan, 2009).
Lastly, the benefits of single sex schools are what you make them to be. The setup moulds a person to be the best she/he can be without the distractions that come with the mixing of genders. For example in the genre of sports the boys are likely to be more competitive than the girls. But there might be girls who have love for sports but won’t participate in them because of the presence of boys who intimidate them and make them feel uncomfortable to dress in a sporty manner (Sullivan et al., 2010).
Students at the age of 15 and below 20 have a big life in front of them. This is the age that the life of the young people is shaping up and discovery of talents and continuation of the already known talents is enhanced. This happens as they are in a learning setup they have chosen or has being chosen for them by their parents. A single sex setup cannot be the best place for complete and all rounded talent development. A youngster may feel lack of completeness in terms of maximum utilization of God-given talents and abilities (Sullivan et al., 2010).
The social growth of an individual starts from the tender age and it is transferred to the future age of the person. In high school, a person is presented with a very good setting to grow socially. Future relationships are pegged on that basic setting that is propagated in high school. To further the interests of the students which are the sole purpose of the school curriculum, the board should consider that very important factor in the life of a student. The youngsters are bound to grow socially and will not have a problem in future when it comes to handling the opposite sex.
This is very much evident in colleges where the students who come from single sex schools find it hard to forge relationships due to the lack of growth and maturity required in the early ages. It does not make it any easier if the student comes from a similar sex sibling family or if he is the only one in the family. The person is likely to grow to be antisocial and that may affect him/her even in the marital set up. It would be very mean to take away that chance for the students to grow together and then face problems in future that could be offset now. That means Brookfield high should maintain the status quo and not separate to boys and girls school (Sullivan, 2009).
It is paradoxical that the single most advantageous reason why Brookfield High School should be separated to a single sex setup is the biggest advantage why it is greatly important for the status quo to be maintained. That is the issue of socialization. Positive socialization is what drives the competitiveness spirit in schools. It will drive the success of Brookfield High if the positivity that comes with it is enhanced and the negative aspects dealt with systematically and conclusively. This is a strong foundation for future success and it prepares them to be future leaders who are responsible according to Bernard (2010). They are also exposed to different leading styles and different values and ways of living of people from different cultures and their genders views.
Boys are naturally endowed with a competitive spirit that the girls do not have. In class boys are generally better in the so called hard and technical subjects such as mathematics and sciences. Girls who have the need to learn will definitely engage the boys in offering a helping hand in the improvement of these subjects. The reverse is that the weak girls will find it hard to be in a position to reach for success and feel intimidated instead as noted by Bernard (2010).
But if the spirit of good competition is enhanced, students will find it important to engage their peers in a unified purpose of learning. Class participation should also be positively viewed and not linked to the social aspect of the classroom in terms of gender. A student who does not answer and ask questions in a public setup due to the in born shyness or fear associated with boys, has a confidence problem. This life problem can only be solved if the student is subjected to an environment that requires involvement and therefore learns to tackle the issue. This encourages a wide range of opinions and prepares participants to be good at analyzing situations and hence good leadership and independence. It also has the capacity to nurture confidence and mental growth as noted by Masqood (2010).
In the sports arena boys are obviously deemed better and more muscular and highly competitive. Therefore this would be a very good resource for girls who wish to be good at sports or feel they are talented in the field. By participating in the activities where there are boys they sharpen the competitive spirit that is the cornerstone of every sports person. This propels the individual to a high pedestal in the presence of other girls and hence at an advantage. Sports is a career and those schools and societies that encourage mixed gender learning will be benefitting the students whose goal is to be great stars in then field of athletics and sports in general (Sullivan, 2009).
When both sexes spend their time in groups, in class or during the extracurricular activities, they understand the nature of each other. This will enable them to talk about matters freely and openly and positively deal with the element of shyness. This effectively works well for both sexes as boys become less coarse and girls less morbid which is a lesson they might have to learn when they grow up if they are in single sex schools. It is also a good tool in the instilling of the virtue of equality in society. Boys and girls view the opposite sex with a positive self image and at the same time appreciating the other. Students will be more likely to discuss ideas and opinions with the opposite sex and this prepares them for the future realities of life, for example in dating and courtship as noted by the Teachers Group (2010).
There is also an opportunity to have the best of both worlds when students are in a co educational set up more than this is likely in a single sex setup. This enables them to make friends easily since this is something you learn in an environment that is conducive for that. The engagement of both sexes is greatly improved and they learn to easily voice their opinions without fear or intimidation according to the Teachers Group (2010).
The youngsters are at an age where it is easily vulnerable for them to trip emotionally. It is claimed that youth is blind and teaching them on the same roof may lead to them engaging in unhealthy relationships. This may ruin their school progress and adversely affect their performances. It also may lead to unwanted pregnancies and high chances of sexually transmitted disease. In the long run this results in a corrupt society full of obscenity and vulgarity. This should be tamed and it happens to be the greatest source of criticism for the co education schooling and the hitting point for the proponents of the single sex schooling. It is a two pronged sword that cuts and destroys the lives of the teenagers and the society at large (Teachers Group, 2010).
Teenagers have the capacity to be hard headed and dealing with them is hard. Management of a mixed gender school is therefore a big task and can be costly and too involving. To maintain a high level of discipline in the school community is a herculean task for the school board in Brookfield. Discipline is the cornerstone of the success story of any mixed gender school and to reduce the headache of unruly teenagers in the same setting it is logical to make the school single sex and take the girls to the nearby Ridgemont high school (Teachers Group, 2010).
On the issue of discipline again, mixed gender schools will always record very high levels of punishments, suspensions and expulsions due to the many available channels of possibilities for misbehaving in school. Male students who have an ego that can easily be bruised and they strive to protect it, may find themselves in cases of anger mismanagement which may lead to them acting out and getting rowdy and unruly. This is the argument that is being brought forth by the parent’s movement that is seeking to have the school split into single sex school and the female students transferred to ridgemont high.
The girls are likely to want to feel loved and accepted in the school community. This will lead to them engaging in all manner of possible headways to get the necessary resources to accomplish that. This will divert their attention from the basic reasons of being in school and adversely affect their grades and results at the end of the curriculum. If they achieve their aim of being beauty queens in school, they will definitely get the attention of the vulnerable male students and a culture growth may start to propagate itself whereby students do not concentrate and focus their attention on unnecessary things. This is according to the Teachers Group (2010) that engaged the study.
Brookfield high are a great source of education and the issue of the children (our children) being in the same setup should not be the focus of the parents and the Ottawa Carlton board of education. The focus should be on how to improve the learning standards of the students and the best way to do that. Based on whether there should be separate schools for the male and the female students, it is important we look at the advantages and the disadvantages that accompany both the ideas.
The parents of the Same Group Separate Journeys Organization (SGSJO) whose claim is that the boys are not concentrating should focus on the importance of having the girls in their boy’s lives and the need for them to grow together and learn from each other. As the school board chairman, am bound to look at the interests of all and come up with a middle field for settlement. This proposal will be the centre of the plan of action and this meeting should look at it keenly.
There is no need to separate the teenagers considering they have been together all these time. Introducing a new way of doing things at the Brookfield High school will compromise the position we are in academically and possibly affect the student’s final results. On the other hand it is important for the school to put into consideration the fears of the parents and the Ottawa Carlton Board of Education and also the views of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association who have different and divergent opinions based on this case.
Having analyzed the pros and cons of the two extreme systems of proposition, it is in the sole interest of our children that we are engaging in the discussion. The school should look for a way to keep the students together and at the same time incorporate a structure to ensure there is learning that goes on in the school. The classes should be made separate to cater for the need of those students that feel intimidated by their fellow brighter and more capable counterparts from the opposite sex.
However there must be a program that needs to be made they incorporate and cater for the competitive students who may feel smothered by lack of competition from the peers of the same sex. On the arena of the extra curricular activities it is important to give the students an option of being with the opposite sex or to be with the same gender. Again this will serve the purpose of catering for the students of all natures; those who are intimidated and those who feel less competition from the peers (Teachers Group, 2010).
To make this a reality it is the duty of the school to build another stream of classes to accommodate one group and the other one to serve the rest. A timetable will be drawn to include prep times during the day to cater for the new arrangement. Teachers and prefects should be given the responsibility to monitor the progress of the prep times and if possible students should be involved in making the plan more fruitful and successful by listening to their opinions (Maqsood, 2010).
During the weekends a program should be set up to have a social life. The students should meet face to face rarely on the weekdays but be allowed to intermingle on Saturdays and Sundays. This will serve the purpose of keeping at bay people who wish to have pruned up social skills that are very helpful in life. For example you cannot do well in an interview if you don’t have the all important interactive and people skills especially if the interviewer is of the opposite sex (Maqsood, 2010).
The aspect of students being unruly and misbehaving is sensitive since it touches on the discipline of the school which should not be compromised at all. Students who tend to be of that character should face the ban of some of the priorities such as the free Saturdays and Sundays, to help them shape up. On extreme cases, there should have a guiding and counseling mechanism to help the students. This should be a professional body incorporating teachers, parents and professional counselors. If the student in question does not change even after the effort of the guiding and counseling, the discipline committee should take over. The committee should have teachers and parents and a board member and will deal with big cases. It will have the powers of expelling and suspending students and their decision will be final (Maqsood, 2010).
Brookfield High School in its effort to be the best academically is faced by a paradox of the interests of many stakeholders. This includes the students, the parents, the Ottawa Carlton board of education and the school board which has the responsibility of implementing their decision. As the director of the school board, it is my responsibility to draw up a compromise plan after focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of the propositions put forth by the parties involved. The plan will be discussed in the meeting to be held incorporating the stakeholders and the opinions they have on the issue. Once enacted, the school will operate on a different way to alleviate the fears of parents that their male students are being overshadowed by their female counterparts and hence reduce grumbling.