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Working women: No corporal punishment; Dillon will only increase school violence!

National Security Minister Major Edmund Dillon will only encourage increased violence in schools if he reintroduces corporal punishment, according to the local civic group, Working Women for Social Progress.

The following is the press release issued today by the Working Women:

Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) swears in National Security Minister Edmund Dillon.
Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) swears in National Security Minister Edmund Dillon.

We accept that it may become necessary to remove students whose behaviour disrupts their schoolmates’ education—and their own—and threatens the safety of everybody on the school compound; but a constructive and humane programme has to be worked out to rehabilitate these students while it continues their education.

National Security Minister Major Edmund Dillon’s solution to criminality in our schools is widely recognised as a non-solution: “Bring back corporal punishment.”

Empower teachers to do violence to children, and all will be well. Peace and self-discipline will reign in our schools. This is not logical thinking.

If that’s all he’s got for youth criminality, the same-old-same-old knee-jerk reaction, how can we expect innovative, practical and well-thought-out solutions to the problem of crime in the larger society?

Most, if not all, of our juvenile offenders housed at YTC and other correctional institutions in our country have been treated with the “solution” called corporal punishment for all of their young lives. That did not deter them from the path of criminality. Indeed, it may have helped to set them on that path.

Photo: Is there a right way to hit a child?
Photo: Is there a right way to hit a child?

But this kind of solution is what one gets when one allows the military into the field of child/youth development and education. This is not their field of expertise.

With all due respect, bringing in the military to solve youth violence is not a good idea. The security forces, here and elsewhere, are known for high statistics of family violence among their own personnel, due, in part, to the strong-arm and often demeaning methods used to train them for their jobs.

The “boot camp” approach, being floated today in relation to suspended students, draws upon military training methods. That experience may leave the young person even more committed than before to the use of violence.

What kind of citizen do we want to produce? Boot camp and solutions of that kind seem to aim at breaking down the person’s sense of self-worth and bullying them into submission. This is hardly likely to produce a peaceful, self-disciplined citizen with a strong sense of self as well as a strong and active social conscience.

We suggest that the Ministry of Education consider contributions from child development professionals, parents, school students and relevant NGOs in designing a programme for students taken out of school.

Photo: Young Matura football fans enjoy some CNG National Super League Premiership Division action at the Matura Recreation Ground. Matura ReUnited edged Petrotrin Palo Seco 3-2. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Young Matura football fans enjoy some CNG National Super League Premiership Division action at the Matura Recreation Ground.
Matura ReUnited edged Petrotrin Palo Seco 3-2.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Already a worthy suggestion has come from the NPTA President: look at a “suspension programme” being used by our next-door neighbour, Barbados.

Our organisation will shortly be submitting some ideas, beginning with a call for a thorough diagnostic assessment of each offending child to learn what is affecting that child.

Happy children do not lash out in the way that these youngsters have been doing.

About Working Women

Working Women
Women Working for Social Progress is a 30-year old organisation based in Tunapuna, which was co-founded by activist Merle Hodge. The “Working Women” group does advocacy work on behalf women and children and led the way in discussions like anti-corporal punishment or “parenting for peace.”

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49 comments

  1. If corporal punishment was so wonderful, then why did we remove it in the first place? I’d bet there was good reason.
    I think we might be a bit desperate for the “good old days” because things are so rough now. But you can’t use old solutions for new problems.
    It is not that children are more angry and violent now. The whole country is more angry and violent. I’d rather we consider new ways to address this.
    And honestly, I think if there were smart phones in school in my day, there would have been some shocking videos then too.

  2. I think the idea of corporal punishment is more nostalgic than anything else. If there were smart phones in school during my period, I’m pretty sure there would have been all sorts of undesirable video clips too.
    I don’t know if violence is more prominent now than then. But that isn’t restricted to schools either. It is a more violent time on the whole.
    I feel we should look for new solutions for new problems. Not old solutions.

    • ..teens are now controlling parents..this is a fundamental shift in respecting elders…gone are days when uncles and aunts disciplined their nephews and nieces..with full permission of the parents..including ‘licks’…

    • Do uncles and aunts spend time with their nephews and nieces anymore? Or is everyone too busy?
      You get respect from being around. I got licks as a child but not from my uncles and aunts. And I had great respect for them all the same because I spent time with them and felt the love.

    • ..’ licks’ from my uncles and aunts was as a result of my misbehaviour..like not responding with courtesy…I was not physically abused…a ‘tap’ or ‘slap on the hand’..but in those days ..uncles and aunts dealt with minor infractions..today is a very different mindset…

  3. ..the danger of reintroducing corporal punishment is that the punisher’s life (eg principal) can be endangered..

  4. Well go out there and solve the problems with the children, simple solutions, take over the job of nurturing and educating the children no worries

  5. When they said no corporal punishment , did the people who did these policies not think to put alternatives in place … Children are walking around saying they have rights, no one is denying that but as a child you have the right to be respectful. Parents are not being held responsible and accountable for their children good God they are your children take responsibility and stop being afraid of your children . long time could we have back answered our parents? hell no ! Because we knew our place in the home …

  6. As if things could get any worse smh

  7. Just now……how did he end up in prison ….did he not break the law on his own? Oh wait…..licks made him do it. Smh…..you ended up in prison as a consequence to the unlawful actions you took not because of licks. Thats just a big excuse. Meanwhile our youth today laughing because they know people like working women and others will just…..talk.

    • He was providing his experience. If you claim that licks will prevent crime in youth, then he is asking you to explain his situation. Yes he did break a law. But licks did not prevent him from doing that. Should this not undermine the case for corporal punishment?

    • And he did that of his own accord. No one put a gun by his head . Time and time again and admittedly I have seen exceptions to the rule. But you must admit removal of said punishment has resulted in the fruits we are reaping today. And more and more we are following suit with the americans and their way of doing things …hence the excessive talking. Being a former student of Presentation College Chaguanas I have been withness to some of my younger school mates verbally abusing their parents in full view of others and the parents all but helpless to do anything about it.
      No I am not saying it will solve the problem but its a start. We dont want licks or death penalty but yet we all sit in our coushy offices and what not and talk all day. Do you think all this ” talking” to youth has gotten us anywhere in the last 15yrs or so? Keep talking and lets see how far the crime rate goes. Once they know all we intend to do is talk, crime is going to keep rising.

    • You missed the point totally.

      licks does not prevent someone from breaking law. Its like saying hanging can prevent murder.

    • Licks and crime do not exist in a vacuum. There are too many variables to even consider pinning the rise on crime on the cessation of corporal punishment. An ingrained culture of corruption? Surely Randy Burroughs got licks? Driver’s Licenses for sale? Also there is a vast difference between talking to and talking with.

      No. I refuse to allow the advocacy of of the reinstatement of corporal punishment just to make you feel better about “doing something”. All the data shows the exact opposite: for example,

      “There is also an increasing volume of research into the effects of corporal punishment and it convincingly confirms its potential short- and long-term damage to individuals and society. A meta-analysis of 88 research studies published in 2002 overwhelmingly testifies to the dangers of corporal punishment (Gershoff, E. T., 2002, “Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review”, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 128, no. 4, pp. 539-579). The analysis demonstrates the association between corporal punishment by parents and a number of negative effects in children, including higher levels of aggression and anti-social behaviour, lower levels of moral internalisation and poor mental health. An even more extensive review of research published in 2008 confirms the negative impact of corporal punishment on children (Gershoff, E. T., 2008, Report on Physical Punishment in the United Stated: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children, Columbus, OH: Center for Effective Discipline).”

  8. The CP horse has bolted the stable a long time ago; it cannot be reigned in again.

    Yet, why are teachers being asked to train and raise people’s children properly? Is that hte job of teachers? Where are the parents of these children? There are times when good parents produce delinquent children, but that is the exception rather than the norm.

    Were the children being disciplined at home? Were their parents cussing them, the police and the teachers from the privacy of their homes?

    Were the children told that they are duncy, ugly and ‘good for nothing like yuh fadder or mudda’?

    How many hugs and praises did they get?

    Delinquent students should be expelled. If they cannot appreciate free education, free bus rides and free meals, then let them pay for an education privately. Perhpas then the parents will get serious and tell the child to go to school, because “I eh paying for no private school.” Sometimes when we get something to easily, we take it for granted.

  9. I could argue that licks business. I got beaten like a Slave yet I still ended up in Prison. I actually felt like the odd one out, I felt like my mother hated me. This probably why I was eager to flee our home unprepared for what life had in store for me. Think about that people.

    • Yes! Lots of people think they’re not damaged from that kind of abuse but truth be told, they are more at risk of continuing the cycle of violence, either by becoming victims or abusers (of themselves or others).

    • Perhaps the problem was improper parenting…not licks. You are describing abuse, and I don’t think anyone is advocating abuse for the students.

  10. As a secondary school teacher, I’m not adverse to any solution that will stop what I have to endure daily. Corporal punishment was not controlled in my day, but it was not abusive either. I am not violent and I know I am a peaceful citizen. What WW did not say is the students who are well behaved and working at school are mostly the children who get their cut tail at home. How the manifestations of violence are not shown as proposed by WW? Listen, the knee jerk reaction was removing CP without putting any systems in place to deal with deviant behaviour. So now the cart in full control of the horse. Proceed playing- while hardworking teachers and students struggling…..

  11. No corporal punishment actually is what made stuff worse

  12. Wow this place now eh ……my days we got licks, suspended etc but the children still turned out good

  13. Worse how? They doing more shit than me in GTA

  14. So what to do working women, put them in time out, these children smart and playing mind games with ppl like you all, while some may have emotional issues and economically disadvantaged it’s not an excuse for their behavior, what about those who come from good background get every opportunity in life and waste it, many of our leaders today had harsh times growing up and used their challenges to make themselves better, once these children know there would be no consequences to their actions this cancer will continue.

    • Similarly many of our leaders get licks and grew up to be the biggest crooks in the land. Just because no better alternative was implemented does not mean one does not exist. Nor does it condone returning to abuse because we know no better

    • Word. You are so right …sssssoooooo what to do working women. You’ll going to talk to them all day?

  15. I don’t think corporal punishment is a solution to indiscipline in schools, especially at the secondary level. I highly doubt that these ‘monsters’, will submit to the rod…we might hear of cases of children hitting teachers. I think reintroducing corporal punishment is an idealistic solution. Society has changed and so too has the minds of modern children they’re not ‘submissive’ for lack of a better word as past generations. I recently graduated from secondary school and from what I observed these ‘monsters’ and unruly children legitimately seem not to fear anyone least of all a teacher :/

  16. I agree with most of the arguments contained in this article. Where I depart is on the point that military training isn’t suitable for young people.
    Yes, these services do have high rates of domestic abuse but that’s because they are male dominated institutions. Military training however, which promotes teamwork alongside self reliance, physical and mental toughness and endurance, as well as a commitment to values bigger than oneself, are all valuable tools for life.
    Needless to say, corporal punishment is out of the question. What was the most progressive action taken to spare our children the ‘rod of correction’ was sadly not replaced with alternatives and empowerment of parents and teachers alike to be more thoughtful of the long term impact of physical violence against youth.
    Garth and I, alongside 4 youth panellists will discuss this very subject on Eye on Dependency this Sunday. We will propose two different versions of a National Youth Service programme, which I believe if implemented properly, with military-style structure (without weapons) can benefit the entire youth population, not just the delinquent ones.

  17. Well I think the point of removal from the comments Min of Ed. made at the chaguanas school was to remove them and do some type of rehabilitation be it the boot camp type thing or whatever. But some of those children who act out have some serious problems at home. Some of them could just be playing the fool/ have overly permissive parents. It’s a real complex problem though.

  18. Even some parents who beat wouldn’t use it for homework. That one is just dumb. If you can’t find a trick to teach your child the 9 times table get someone else who can. Some of those children really challenging though. Hope they can figure it out before it’s too late.

  19. That being said though…at this stage I don’t thing bringing back corporal punishment will help the cause much. It’s too far degenerated to fix. I agree with the minister. Remove the bad apples. Do it publicly so all can see and feel fear from it. Put them in a holding facility for as long as possible.

  20. Psychologists spew too much bullshit theoretical rubbish that we need to stop swallowing and look at the facts that are staring us in the face.

  21. I’m not either but this family psychologist made some very good points.Parents not paying as much attention to children. The way they speak to children. I mean the world is a different place as well. It is also not coincidental that a lot of children back in the good old days would not even have had easy access to a gun.

  22. ..Well, I am not a psychologist. But I observe. Is it coincidental that the generation that had no corporal punishment is now the runaway generation? Two teenagers held today for shooting at the police? Just saying..

  23. There are two separate issues here. The reintroduction of corporal punishment and the introduction of boot camp type instruction for repeat offenders/expelled students. I’m not sure if modern boot camp type programs use corporal punishment and this morning on tv6 news the education minister was quoted as saying corporal punishment is not returning. To this a family psychologist on the morning edition (can’t rem her name) said she was happy to hear it given that it was a 180 from the Minister’s previous position. Probably this group spoke before that statement was made.

  24. ..We ain’t talking about beating people children ’cause they can’t recite multiplication tables or conjugate verbs here. But SERIOUS offenders who look for it? Let them have it. Phantom is rough with roughnecks..

  25. the amt of massacres it having in usa where it havent had CP for decades and ppl still recommending it not around

    • Actually 19 states still allow corporal punishment, and there is little correlation between those that have banned it and those that experience massacres.

  26. ..Follow each and every “First World” theory nah. Corporal punishment is not synonymous with physical abuse. And it should be dispensed in a controlled manner and environment. Do you really believe school gangsters plotting to murder security and teaching staff could be persuaded to control themselves without the potential threat of physical response always there?..

    • Corporal punishment: Application of pain to induce a certain behaviour.

      Physical abuse: Application of pain to either induce a certain behaviour or derive pleasure.

      Both entail the affliction of pain. Asserting that they are not synonymous does not make it so.

      It is using violence the coerce “good behaviour”. If this is the means by which you try to do so, be aware that it will have to compete with the violence gangs are capable of. Else which threat do you think children will fear more?

  27. I wonder about all these wonderful psychological arguments about the ills of corporal punishment. Because it seems to me the empirical evidence is glaring that this kind of disrespect for authority and school violence certainly didn’t exist back when you would get a good cut ass for misbehaving in school. And then they call your parents and you get another cut ass when you reach home.

  28. Totally agree. you don’t learn to interact in a peaceful and respectful manner if you’re beaten up. That kind of thinking belongs to the colonial times of the 19th century.