Despite widespread scrutiny following a highly controversial incident at the Mae’s Schools last week, when a nine-year-old was prevented from attending class in full traditional Amerindian wear during a culture day, the school has still not yet offered an official explanation.
When Stabroek News contacted the institution yesterday, an employee informed that the school was involved in consultations regarding the issue, and that there was no comment at the time.
Meanwhile, a silent protest has been planned for 11 am today at the Mae’s Secondary School. In a Facebook post, news presenter Natasha Smith urged that picketers wear white to the protest, or dress in indigenous wear if possible.
“STAND AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THEIR RIGHT TO WEAR CULTURAL ATTIRE ANYWHERE IN GUYANA…EVIL PREVAILS WHEN GOOD MEN FAIL TO ACT,” Smith stated.
Last Friday was designated culture day at the school and parents were advised that students would be able to depict an ethnic group of their choice.
However, the student’s mother said he was left traumatised after his indigenous wear was deemed inappropriate by teachers at the school and he was mocked during the day by fellow students.
“He chose, because his father is Amerindian, to dress like an Amerindian based on what he sees. He’s accustomed to these clothing and I decided to dress him and paint him up,” the child’s mother, Karen Small, said.
The child wore a skirt made out of tibisiri with underpants. He wore no shirt and sported a beaded chain and a decorated head band.
Small said that the day was going well and her son was very happy dressed in his Amerindian wear as he was on his way to school. However, the boy’s excitement and happiness faded after he was initially not allowed to enter the school’s compound.
After being told by the guard and a teacher that his attire was inappropriate, she said that she put a shirt on her son and left him at school for the day. It was to her surprise that when she went to pick him up from school, he was no longer wearing his Amerindian garb. She said that he related to her that he was teased throughout the day and chose to change.
“The hurtful part was when I picked him up from school and he (had taken off) every single piece of Amerindian wear he had on. This is just wrong. You might as well tell them to wear culture wear except for those from the Amerindians,” the woman added.
Small noted that she then took the matter to the head teacher of the school, who also related to her that the way her son was dressed was inappropriate.