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Discussion: Should T&T be reaping the benefits of the end of corporal punishment by now?

Corporal punishment was removed from schools over 15 years ago and there seemed to be a strong moral argument to abolish “violence” against children. But should that not mean young people—at least below the ages of 23—ought to be significantly less violent?

Whether or not you believe that abolishing corporal punishment was the just and right thing to do—and we agreed—what benefits should we be seeing now as a society? Should there be a tangible societal benefit to being less aggressive with our children? And is that evident now?

Please join our discussion on the topic:

Photo: Spare the rod and join civil society...
Photo: Spare the rod and join civil society…

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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629 comments

  1. The violent crime now is the failure of those generations who do not know how to lead without the threat of violence.

    The corporal punishment generation are the ones who “manage” all of our failed institutions where you get paid to do next to nothing. If you grew up under the threat of violence how would you navigate the adult world where you cannot beat your subordinates into compliance and where you cannot be beaten to perform. How will you know how to implement non-violent disciplinary measures if you were not taught as a child?

  2. Suppose young people who commit violence revere it? Suppose we were trying to approach the problem of violence as a negative reaction or an uncontrolled negative response when we should have looked at it from the perspective of it being something that they are aiming for? A conscious decision then.

    • You mean that it is essentially a human trait to want to impose yourself physically on your neighbours?

    • Alana that’s a great point! We know that violence and bad Manism is respected and uplifted. Listen to the rap music, look at the images tattooed on bodies because they tell a story of what’s respected and revered

    • When you say human trait I get the idea that it is a product of instinctive biological predisposition. I am suggesting that maybe there is something cultural that makes them drawn to violence. So they see something positive to be gained in displaying violent behavior. For example, they become more popular, the fear that they generate translates in their minds to respect…I was hypothesizing based on what I hear young people saying. I don’t know if there is research to support it.

    • Agreed! I’ve heard very similar sentiments with young men in other geographies also. Through my church I worked in a gang counseling ministry for a few years here in Houston and the stories here are no different .

    • Alana, I tried unsuccessfully to find the passage that your question brought to mind.
      Essentially, the thinking is that it is human to not be satisfied emotionally until we have the attention, respect or fair of our neighbour.
      Supposedly, most international wars can be linked to this thinking.
      That is why I asked whether you considered that to be a human trait and one that would have existed even before music.

    • Yes Lasana it could be a male trait linked to ego.

    • Lasana Liburd I agree that the basic intent behind wars would be driven by the need for attention, respect or fear. But that’s not a basic biological human trait as far as I know. The need to be violent on a biological level links to the fight for survival, in the interest of food, mating and territory. Over time social behaviors evolved so that this fight became more sophisticated but the line is drawn between violence in the interest of survival and as Brian Harry said in the interest of ego. Violence for reputation outside of the need to survive cannot be put down to a basic animalistic instinct. I could be wrong but I never read anything contrary. Maybe what they were referring to in the article you spoke about was a more evolved human social response, basic but not purely animalistic. And I didn’t mention music that may be an influential factor.

    • Brian Harry…not sure if it is limited to a ‘male trait’, not sure if you have seen the many videos of females bullying and beating up other females.

    • Yes I’ve seen those but I was specifically really getting to the heart of the macho adulation, turf and gangland behaviors. Some females exhibit some of the same

    • Alana, violence for reputation IS violence for survival. When you have little by way of resources, your reputation is a life jacket.
      I agree that it might be social rather than biological. I don’t know enough about biology to suggest otherwise anyway.

    • Agreed. I tend to think it’s sociocultural

    • There are tons of academic studies done on this type of behavior. Some good work has been done at Harvard public policy institute, Rice University, University of Michigan , Univ Chicago – to name a few . It’s a complex issue and our policy makers in TT have to start getting educated and increase awareness so as to develop adequate policies and delivery infrastructure . Also we should nit reinvent the wheel because there are tried and tested programs which demonstrated success in helping to “save” at risk youth. From my time working in TT one thing always stood out for me – ‘how little our policy makers read’

    • As an example look at the Black Youth Project done by Univ Chicago in 2007. Although race was a big factor in this study it will otherwise point you to a lot more material

    • Aza Nedhari reviews the search for power and identity amongst inner city youth. Violence Amongst Young Black Males – a study at North Carolina State University . These make for interesting reading and understanding the issues. Though these studies are done in the USA Inner cities I believe that they are relevant for us in TT

  3. Look at it this way Carol Khan. If the Govt says that we can save the ozone layer by banning on aerosols. So we do it.
    And then 10 years later, you say banning aerosols wasn’t enough and we need to do more to get results. Won’t climate change skeptics be perfectly within their rights to say: Hold up! Show us what we gained by what we did so far!
    I think we have got to look at this rationally. To get change, you must be able to convince of the benefit to the change. And don’t vilify doubters. That’s what led to Brexit and Trump.

  4. Abolishing corporal punishment cannot work on it’s own. This must be accompanied by instilling morals , values, respect, in children. Perhaps more importantly by examples set by parents teachers etc. Positive role models,an education policy which enhances the diverse talents, and skills of young people. Guess one can go on and on.

  5. I agree with Timothy Christopher P Nokio. Blaming the media is a cop out.

    How come the kids in Palmiste, Westmoorings, Maraval, Blue Range who listening to the same violent music, playing the same violent video games, watching the same violent action movies not going around shooting, stabbing, killing and beating up people?

    I watched my adopted nieces and nephews from Blue Range, enjoying all the gangsta rap and dancehall and heavy metal, playing their Grand Theft Auto, enjoying all the blood and gore Hollywood have to offer. They respect their parents. Performed well in school and are responsible, concientious, driven young people now off to university. By the way, they were raised without beating by their parents. Yes, discipline was given and standards were STRICT but never in the form of violence.

    What is the difference when the kids are raised with TWO loving, involved parents with a high IQ and EQ, already mature adults, gainfully employed, in a good marriage, who wanted children and took parenting seriously? What is the difference when parents are more than capable of providing for their needs, even special needs that might require professional help and attend their children’s PTA meetings, know their teachers, have the resources to develop their children’s musical, athletic and other talents with extracirricular activities? What is the difference when the kids have the support of a healthy community, a safe neighborhood to play in and wider family of aunts and uncles also in similar healthy environments?

    • I think the difference between rich and poor children isn’t loving parents. And I don’t think they are less violent. Because there is plenty evidence of domestic violence there too.
      They just have less to fight over on a daily basis perhaps.

    • Yup. I know exactly what you mean. I remember when my son was born and I was working full time. I had housekeeper. It’s a big difference when you pick up your child from daycare and the baby is clean and fed. You reach home and your house is clean and tidy and there is cooked food on the stove. All you have to do is play and bond with your baby. It makes a big difference in how you approach parenting because you are less stressed. I’m not saying people who have means won’t get it wrong but having means gives you a greater advantage I think.

    • Exactly Rose-Marie. Imagine if you didn’t have to work at all and you had even more time and attention to give. That isn’t about being more enlightened necessarily. Just having more resources.
      When your mom has two jobs, how much time does she have to counsel you?
      Let the government give a living wage to all citizens and see if violence doesn’t fall as a result. (If we could afford it of course).
      But despite all that attention, some of those advantaged and wealthy children go on to be abusers. So problem runs deep.

    • Lasana Liburd The difference is not as simple as rich and poor. Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde hit the nail on the head. Parenting is a JOB, a very serious job. You need the SUPPORT and the SKILLS for it. A doctor with the right tools and staff will always be able to perform better than a doctor that does not have proper equipment.

      Trust me, I know a few rich kids who turned out horrible. There are plently little Brad Boyce shits running around too. That is why I mentioned not just financial resources but the inner resources of the parents themselves. Their marriage, their IQ and EQ, their committment to the task at hand and love for it. I mentioned a safe, healthy environment, which does not necessarily mean rich. Clean water, green spaces, no crime and fear and violence all around.

    • I know plenty parents who are not rich but working or middle class. They cannot afford a housekeeper. Their neighborhood might not even be the very best in terms of safety. But they compensate with time and effort. They make sure to eat meals together as a family, communicate with their kids, get involved with homework. If no clean safe spaces exist where they live, they take their kids somewhere safe to play. They find a way to get their kids in whatever free programmes for sport, music, drama they can find.

    • That seems like it would give you a better chance Jessica. I agree. One thing though… I wonder how much of that gets eroded when the green space boy has violent schoolmates and still ends up having to fight to survive recess and lunch time ???

    • But you have to care enough to WANT to put in that effort. It must be hard. You tired. You stressed. You overworked. Then comes little Suzie with a failing grade on her test and angry note from the teacher. Yes, the easist thing is to pick up a belt and beat her for the stress and aggravation. But somehow these parents just find that extra ounce of patience and strength to sit with her and try to find what the problem is.

    • And that’s why I can identify wholeheartedly with what Jessica wrote earlier. The questionable music lyrics and Call of Duty games etc won’t have a negative impact on a child who was brought up by committed parents who have enough IQ and EQ and who approach parenting as a vocation because this was their choice. The way I looked at it my time with my children was so precious I was willing to spend money on help so I could afford that time. I didn’t have to take time away from parenting to wash dishes and cook food or clean house. It was a conscious choice on how I used my money.

    • If people make parenting a priority they will find a way to overcome many obstacles. It’s how you approach things.

    • Well, for one, the child knows it is fantasy, make-believe. Just like when we used to play cops and robbers or imitate kung fu movies.

      But if there is real violence and emotional dysfunction going on in the child’s life and environment, then of course, it is a difference story. Violence becomes real.

    • One question Jessica and Rose-Marie, how much of that good parenting might be eroded by the violence they encounter in school?

    • Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde Exactly. People treat parenting like joke. “I will just spit out a pickney or two and just feed them, clothe them, put a roof over their head and beat them to obey and not cause too much trouble, and the teachers will handle the rest. My life still going to continue as is, I want to party, chase man/woman, put my needs and comforts first. The chile will just have to find a way to fit into my schedule!”

    • Lasana Liburd I think, if a parent is a good parent, they have a good line of communication going on with their child. So if there is violence in the school, the child will tell them. The parent would then take action. They would go to the school, speak to the teachers, find out what is going on. They will do whatever they have to, just to keep their child safe. I know parents who negotiate with teachers all kinds of things to ensure their children’s health and safety.

    • In extreme cases, I know parents willing to take on 2nd and 3rd jobs to be able to move their child out of a bad school to a good one. I know one parent in fact who is home-schooling her daughter because no school is providing what her child needs. Again, it is all about how much a parent values their role and responsibility.

    • I understand that but the real world is what it is. We can’t escape it. And that child will have to enter it one day.
      No matter our best intentions, we have got to learn to survive outside our safe place sooner or later.
      That’s why we can only move together as a society. Individual progress can be eroded by the stagnation of the collective.

    • Bottom line: what is invested in your child is what’s gonna come out.

    • Kevin, it is great to invest in your child and help form a wonderful being. But unless we make sure society is heading in the right direction, then there is a chance that a badly raised child will snuff out their life.

    • That’s where economic disparity comes in. You said it repeatedly: where there is no struggle for resources, there’s hardly any violence or even a want for it.
      When people’s rights are constantly being infringed with impunity, one will feel some entitlement to screw others out of their hard earned wealth, no matter what it is.

    • To your question about the violence Lasana Liburd . Both my children have karate training. Ethan actually had a 2nd degree black belt by the time he did SEA. It was easy because their dad is a sensei. But the martial arts training actually prepared them to be confident in handling any physical threat at school. Although nobody has ever messed with my son last term he was actually involved in trying to quell a fist fight in his class. And the martial arts training also teaches restraint and respect so he’s actually very good at managing anger.

    • Sounds like you’re well equipped Rose! 🙂

    • Yes Lasana Liburd. First option he could run fast but if he has to he can fight? of course this is for school situations ?

  6. And finally this will all be rejected because in this country ‘I think’ trumps ‘The research suggests” I love my Cuntry…Backwardistan

    • When yuh think about it, it is a little ironic that the MoE operates on basis without local evidence/data. Makes you wonder how ppl do thesis for programmes lol. Btw, wonder if anyone pursuing Msc studied the MoE. Maybe there might be data hidden somewhere.

  7. So to summarize. Removing corporal punishment in schools did not remove violence against children. There is a correlation between religiosity and violence and corruption and violence.

  8. So perhaps a good approach to this discussion is to look at the wider context of what influences or affects behaviour in our nation’s children.

  9. Lasana Liburd. A couple of things to note. If violent media is to blame for violent behaviour one must ask what violent media those in the wild wild west were consuming, Rwandan child soldiers etc. Countries which have high rates of religiosity are shown to be more violent. And finally more corrupt countries are higher on the violence and crime index.

  10. I knew it the day KPB took corporal punishment out of school, say what allyuh want to say, stretch out your hands, and a few lashes never killed anyone, some children are stubborn on discipline, in life we must be disciplined for our greater good, if we do not want to listen, we have to find a way, of getting the teaching of life inside your head

  11. Abolished on paper only-the code of conduct means nothing to some teachers so how can we begin to measure impact when it still continues even today? Unfortunately our problems in school are a bit more complex than any reduction in corporal punishment -real or imagined- could possibly impact. Begins with failing (or simply a lack of proper) systems for ensuring teacher and student discipline are strongly motivated and nurtured.

  12. A house without a proper foundation cannot stand…The Elders had our respect but this new generation now feel that the answers to all our current problems will come one day soon….Sometimes we need to accept that our ancestors had the answers…Sometimes we need to bring back the old way when it proves better.

  13. Tanty Kams knew exactly what she was doing when as Min of Ed., she set the wheels in motion.

  14. 1. Corporal punishment does not belong in school. Instead, what is required is the development of moral reasoning and consistency in nurturing a common value system that includes respect for self and others, tolerance of differences, integrity, responsibility, perspective-taking and empathy.
    2. Our children do not live in sound proof opaque. bubbles neither are they flown in from space in the morning and flown out in the afternoon. Children learn what they see and hear “as if their whole vocation were endless imitation” (William Wordsworth).
    3. Children are works in progress, not little adults. However, they grow up to be the replicas of the adults who shaped them.

  15. Even if we got the funding to build effective, holistic, rehabilitative juvenile centers, is the Government of T&T willing to risk the wrath of people whose children are taken away from them because they are deemed unfit parents? That is the unpleasant step most don’t want to talk about. When social services come and take your child and you are only allowed supervised visits.

  16. I would ask parents to visit any school where there are these “PH” vehicles dropping children . Listen to the music being played , most times it has alot of violent and sexual lyrics and i wonder what child is able to function in school after listening to that shit . This is also a contributor to the behavioural problems at school.

  17. Then on top of their inability to parent, they also dealing with all kinds of baby daddy drama, outside woman drama, poverty drama, throw in a little substance abuse and domestic abuse here and there.

    We way past “licks” as any remedial method for children being raised in that mess. It is deep, social work, juvenile intervention taking them out of that toxic environment, counselling and a regimented environment that also builds team-work, trust and responisibility.

  18. All these videos we see of women cussing, fighting, acting like total warahoons, these are adults who never learned impulse control, never learned to develop their cognitive skills, never learned how to manage their emotions. And they are raising children. What do we expect the outcome will be?

  19. So imagine what happens when children have children. We have immature parents with poorly developed cognition skills and impulse control raising children. DISASTER!

  20. so maybe people who spank “had not yet acquired the inner resources in cognition and emotion necessary for making more appropriate responses in these situations.”.

  21. Similar to Hong Kong where i found this quote from the Hong Kong education Bureau. ‘our observations in schools revealed that when students acted out in defiance, most of them actually had not yet acquired the inner resources in cognition and emotion necessary for making more appropriate responses in these situations.”

  22. The people in Scandanavian countries pay very high taxes that go into very comprehensive and holistic social care systems. Even their prisons are rehabilitating people far faster than there are criminals to put in them, forcing many prisons to close or convert to apartments and B&Bs. We certainly not there yet. Nowhere near it.

  23. what i take away from it though is that sweden has a large enough and well enough financed social care/work system to help parents deal with unruly kids.

  24. 15 years ago u sure cause I was getting cut ass 11 years ago in standard 4 and 5

  25. WE ARE REAPING THE BENEFITS OF SPEARING THE ROD RIGHT NOW……alot of spoiled children running around on a crime spree

  26. social benefit? not sure…
    Social engineering? yeah

  27. More like reaping the whirlwind!!

  28. The UN’s Juvenile Justice Reform Project in the Caribbean did exhaustive research into parenting methods in our region. Corporal punishment was the one constant. All those juvenile delinquents in homes, get PLENTY licks. Licks was often the main form of physical touch they got from most adults. Nobody developed their empthy, their self-esteem, their decision making skills, their communication skills. They were raised knowing any emotion they expressed that was not submissive or pleasing was met with annoyance by the adults around them. Crying, hurt, pain, anger was not met with concern and an attempt to de-escalate but with impatience, anger and LICKS. Mistakes they made were met with LICKS.

    Then puberty it. Hormones start coursing through their veins. The emotions start getting more extreme. But remember, nobody taught them how to cope with these emotions, how to communicate, how to manage. Only that it and they are a pain in the ass! So they find other outlets for their hurt, pain and anger. Destructive outlets. They follow the example of the adults around them who also resorting to violence and screaming and cussing.

    You really think LICKS can make up for a poor, dysfunctional environment and poor parenting from a tired, frustrated single mother (and it is mostly single mothers) dealing with baby daddy issues and/or frustrated father who never wanted to have kids or are too immature and have too low an IQ and EQ to navigate complex relationships without violence? You think LICKS can make up for parents who cannot even READ to their children. Parents who drunk and high and chasing man and a crying child with abandonment issues is seen as being a headache or willful and in need of some good lash. Parents who cannot even tell or even know that the bad mood swings is because of poor nutrition not beause the child being spiteful jus fuh so. Parents who mentally ill. Parents embroiled in domestic violence.

    It wasn’t the removal of corporal punishment but the deterioration in the quality of parents children have these days. It all started with damaged children making damaged children.

    • So..if EVERYONE got cut ass…why aren’t all children violent? And why don’t we have a problem with just about every child and adult out there if corporal punishment = violent adults ?

      What happened when corporal punishment was used as one form of discipline in a loving home with caring parents?

    • Because corporal punishment could never be the sole factor in either case.

    • Angel Stewart Very easy to answer.

      1. Some who got cut-ass were lucky to also have more positive forms of parenting from at least one or two or more of the adults in their life. SOMEONE did more than just beat them. Someone took time to do the hard work, the hard way of patiently teaching them responsibility, confidence, empathy, ethics and nurtured their self-esteem and showed them what love and affection is.

      2. Some who were not lucky and only got cut-ass but no other forms of positive parenting, internalized the ill-treatment and instead of being destructive to others became self-destructive instead. They became victims all their lives.

      3. Some who were not so lucky were still resilient and remarkable enough to survive and still be healthy in mind and body. For every few hundred people, you will find that one extraordinary person who can endure hardship, abuse, lack of love and somehow due to their own high IQ and/or EQ find it within themselves.

    • Angel Stewart Licks applied in a controlled manner without anger is a myth. I’ve never experienced or seen it.

    • Angel Stewart Then you’re among a lucky minority.

    • Jessica Joseph So if we take corporal punishment out of those three scenarios, you’re saying that the outcome would be 100% better for those children? I’m not seeing the causation here between corporal punishment and violence.

      And you have raised many other factors in those three points which I think have a lot more to do with parenting and behaviour than corporal punishment.

    • I am a lucky minority as well. I fit the description I gave in No. 1. I had frustrated, young, angry and sometimes abusive parents. Licks was the go-to for everything and all unpleasant emotions displayed by me (and there were a lot as I came from a vitrolic divorced marriage) were seen as insolence, willfulness, challenges to authority.

      BUT thankfully, I had a granny, an auntie, a teacher here and there who actually took the time to SEE me and build me up and teach me the RIGHT way. So it is thanks to THEM not licks that I am where I am now.

    • Angel Stewart I suspect licks affects people in ways they don’t even realize. “I didn’t become a criminal” is a low bar to measure the usefulness of corporal punishment.

    • This side conversation proves why study needs to be done.

    • Who knows where I would be today if not for the adults who actually put in the effort to listen, understand, SEE beyond their own ego and inconvenience; speak to me like an intelligent person at the age where I am supposed to be able to understand things better, allow me to release my feelings (even the unplesant ones) and teach me responsibility and accountability in far more effective ways that STICK and make you choose wisely of your own volition, even if there is no big stick.

    • Jessica Joseph, what you wrote is not news to me. and it is still shy of what I would have shared in terms of time line. I know my father’s story because he told it to my brother and I growing up. repeatedly. that bad /poor parenting was going on long ago. since slavery. even when parents werent drinking, running men, women, the streets, .. but poor, not knowing, illiterate, not educated, and struggling, but still in community in the village/ my grandparents were good people, but still fkd up their children. it is our legacy. I only want us to acknowledge that.

      But i did not even write to offer that, cause last night I saw somebody’s timeline of history were indians of 1950s as oif the decimation by violence of first peoples did not happen with columbus and we did not have a thing here called slavery and the plantation, which, Never Ended

      But i came to say, what you offered above gives me pause to learn to be far more compassionate and loving to others. even when I want to shoot them

      and that is a hard task

    • In our culture, we do the same thing to dogs too. We beat them. We would take an outdoor breed of dog that needs lots of exercise and tie it up and when it acts out, we beat it because its bad behavior is an inconvenience. We never stop to consider what is at the root of it. For us ALL bad behavior is because of “spite” and “wickedness” personally directed at us to give us bodderation. We apply that same ignorant approach to parenting.

      Then you watch more enlighened societies and how they take the time to understand each breed of dog. Some need lots of attention. Some need challenges and chores. Some need exercise. The dog owner tailor their lives around what works best for the dog, not what works best for them. Even dogs traumatized they are able to rehabilitate and get to the highest levels of performance and intelligent behavior without resorting to violence.

      If a “dumb” animal deserves that kind of consideration, what excuse do we have?

      We here in the Caribbean we doh have time fuh dat! Everything is now fuh now and must come easy! Or LICKS!

      We don’t take time to understand the unique needs of each “breed” of child we have. Are they extroverted, introverted, highly sensitive, very independent, highly motivated, less motivated. Even when traumatic family events happen, we never stop to consider how it affects them? Our bad marriages. Our financial worries etc. Them witnessing constant violence or sickness or death in their community. Them experiencing poverty, growing up in squalor and nastiness amidst lavish displays of wealth.

      We expect them all to be uniform in their dispositon, emotions, abilities. Any acting out, our first resort is licks. We aren’t HEALING or HELPING our children. We just telling them, “Put a lid on it! You inconveninecing ME!” Then we wonder why alcohol and drug use is so high as adults drown their unhealed traumas. We wonder why domestic abuse is so high.

    • Angel Stewart Yes I am saying if we took corporal punishment out, all those scenarios would be better. Corporal punishment has proved negative side effects. Lack of corporal punishment has no ill-side effects. Lack of proper parenting always has detrimental side effects.

    • wow. you know our stuff about parenting!!!

      “We don’t take time to understand the unique needs of each “breed” of child we have. ”

      But i am sorry, these kinds of writings to me are symptomatic of something we do here constantly. have a standard, an expectation and requirement far outside the abilities, capacities and mindset, thinking, of the citizenry.

      I suggest we will get far further, if we stopped and admitted, acknowledgegd and catered for our challenges when we discuss transformations, shifts, education and moving forward in development… really

      as smart as people i know think they are, and despite all their degrees and qualifications, I know no such parent to do that: “understand the child we were given”

      know what is beyond that and beyond us too: the truth that our children come to teach us, not we them.!
      the recognition that they are the oldest in our tribe and line, Not the youngest! deep sigh

      I give alms to your enlightenment here. real high contribution

    • Maven Huggins Yes indeed. Those of us who know, KNOW. We are bravely speaking out about it. You are so right, family relationships in T&T have been dysfunctional generationally for as far back as slavery days. Men and women’s relationships in T&T have been dysfuncational for generations in our country as well. We used to be frighten to talk about the dirt, but now it have to come out!

      The productive, ethical, honest, humane people we have in our society are the ones who survived that gauntlet through their own sheer self-determination and/or self-help through later therapy/healing and positive mentors. Or they are the lucky few who were spared that gauntlet and were blessed with a healthy home environment, not perfect but healthy.

    • All dogs doh suck egg.
      But if you do a study on dogs that suckkin egg…you will get a picture of all dogs that sucking egg.
      Not a picture of all dogs.

    • I think Angel Stewart is quite right. Logic must be able to stand on its own two feet. Not every child who faced corporal punishment turned out to be an abuser. And I’m pretty sure that not all abusers/violent people received corporal punishment either.
      Someone else spoke about illiterate people being more violent when scientists are creating bombs to kill millions with one push. And we have had serial killers with PhDs.
      We cannot oversimplify this.

    • In the same way that corporal punishment is not the cure that some people think. It might also not be the destroyer of humanity that others think.
      Or at least we ought to be able to prove it logically.

  29. Scotty Ranking

    In my humble view, I think that the problem lies with the education system itself and not the removal of corporate punishment of schools in itself. Let me explain.

    Discipline forms an important part of education in that immediate penalties and consequences must exist for non-performance, con-compliance and general wrongdoing by students. In this system corporal punishment was seen to be the pinnacle of this disciplinary apex – you mess things up and you collect a guaranteed cut-tail from the teacher. There are arguments on both sides about the merits of “licks” but for many the thought alone of licks sharing was enough to deter them from pursuing errant behaviours.

    When corporal punishment was abolished in the school environment, it was done so hastily that nothing else in the education system could take its place at the disciplinary apex. As a result, the single major consequence for bad behaviour disappeared overnight and left the educators effectively impotent as a result. It is this vacuum of serious immediate consequences that caused indiscipline in schools to rise – to the children no licks equated to no real punishment. And things just degenerated from then onwards.

    As much as people clamour for it, corporal punishment isn’t going to come back simply because T&T cannot risk ostracism from the international society over the issue. Lest we forget, corporal punishment didn’t disappear due to some paradigm shift in local education; it did so because of certain international treaties to which our government assented. To back out on that would court disaster for us in the short and long term.

    So what can we do? What do we do? We need to find alternative and effective disciplinary methods and stick to them. Also, we need to hold parents more accountable for the care and behaviour of their children. Otherwise we can talk until we are blue in the face and things just will not change on their own.

  30. Cut ass is the primary disciplinary and parenting tool used in T&T’s homes. Visit juvenile delinquents in institutions, all of them got plenty cut-ass. Visit prisoners in institutions, all of them got plenty cut-ass. The corrupt politicians and businessmen and people we deem respectable but yet as decision-makers SUCK at making ethical decisions and are constantly shaming us with their poor behavior and words, they got plenty cut-ass.

    If cut-ass is so effective, how come our country is not thriving, safe, smarter, sustainbly performing on the econiomic scale and rid of crime and corruption? The leadership in business, politics and religion are all mainly over 35 and come from the GOLDEN AGE OF GUAVA WHIP! How come they not more honest, disciplined and productive?

    In African nations, cut-ass is still the go-to thing. Why are their countries so terrible for the safety and well-being of women and children and their governments so corrupt? I thought cut-ass was supposed to make people GOOD? Maybe it is time we admit it does not make people good. It just makes them comply (for a time) out of fear until there is no more cut-ass or they figure out better ways to avoid it. Meanwhile it teaches them a dangerous lesson about how to get respect and obedience is through violence and fear.

    • Quite an interesting perspective.

    • Make no mistake that those “first world” countries are the ones who thought us the violence though eh. So you can’t break the world into civil and un-civil based on corporal punishment. Otherwise I agree with you.
      For instance, Jim Crow America was just as bad as ISIS to minorities.
      We are all their students and we need to forget the lessons they thought us. But we have to do it for us and not because the “first world” says it is “civil”.

    • But did we have to learn or absorb what was being fed to us? We learned and adopted it because of our leadership void which wasn’t presenting us with attractive options. Just my hypothesis

    • Brian, the “first world” killed every African leader they could find–and couldn’t convert. Hence the leadership void. Even the peaceful ones like Martin Luther King Jr got the bullet. Much less the radical ones.

    • I’m sure they did the same to the Amerindians.

    • Lasana ok many were killed but I don’t subscribe to the conspiracies also they make us look like perpetual victims. Let’s bring it home – what created the leadership void in TT?

    • Brian Harry…sorry to make this controversial statement, but do you realise one set of oppressors (from colonial days) was just replaced by another, and we accept it because ‘they look like us’? Just like we revolt against management because we are the working class, but if you look at the trade union movement-collecting salary whether workers strike or not, being on state boards, and other ‘perks’ of the job, can you truthfully tell me the difference between union executive and management?

    • So first don’t apologize because you make a statement which may be controversial. We should all feel free to debate and discuss without being offended or seeking to be offensive. The union situation is complex and also does benefit from the weak leadership in corporate TT

    • I think it is less weak leadership and more back door politics at play. We have too many ppl wearing too many hats, which is probably a discussion for another time.
      We seem to still be searching for a national identity since we largely reject the colonial history, and without knowing and preserving our history, we leave our young to emulate foreign cultures. If you saw the movie Hidden Figures, if you know about Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman etc, you know that blacks in the U.S. are trying to preserve their history. Locally, if we argue that the history learned is from a colonial perspective, what have we done to honour it? Do we have remnants of plantations that are preserved to see what it was like? Is there a museum for Caroni? Do our students learn about the history of Dr Williams, Butler, the inventor of the pan, etc? Do we teach the history behind the camboulay riots? We have a rich history, but it seems as though the struggle was not hard enough to preserve and honour those gone before, and that might be a reason our young seem to be struggling; they may not appreciate their roots.

    • Makes much sense. If you don’t know your history it’s hard to shape identity . True

    • Unless we still want to deny it? Look at the bajan culture.

  31. I just wish there were more programs aimed at sensitising parents that licks should not be the first option and hopefully not a option at all. You could do what you want in the schools I believe that everything is nullified by what happens in the home. Whether the corporal punishment reduction in schools has had a positive or negative effect on the kind of children the society has turned out to me is almost a moot point. Because what happens in the home and the circle of adults a child is surrounded by in my opinion does more to shape behaviour. And to tell you how ingrained licks is in some parents. Yesterday I went to my kids training session after they had returned from an overseas competition. And my husband who accompanied the team brought back a pair of shorts that was left under the tent at the stadium. When I showed it to some parents to see if anybody recognized it one mother said “if that was so an so (her child) own I was going to beat him fuh leaving it! He would have to learn not to leave his things all over the place! He woulda want to fly back there to bring it back!”. All this for accidently leaving a worthless pair of shorts! And to think this is a normal conversation eh. Plenty parents agreed that their child would get licks for that.

    I don’t know what is the answer or the method by which it could be addressed. But I just wish there could be some kind of campaign or education program to gradually steer parents away from the “beating culture”.

  32. The Educational system (schools etc) is the Microcosm of the Marcocosm (Society) …u break the rules in school u get punished…u break the rules in society u are also punished (fines cutass from lawmen etc.) But we supposed to understand this fully ,yes ?? Nah we eh get it yet…dont think we will #discipline your kids T&T!!

  33. Y’all still tryna put corporal punishment to blame? Discipline starts at home, starts in the village.

  34. The removal was problematic as there is no deterrent for bad behaviour. Schools at the worst send home a child for 7 days, imagine a bully who may cause serious harm to another child biggest punishment is a 7 days rest at home… unacceptable. Let’s not even go to the parents of the resident monsters cause all parent swears their child isn’t a bad seed it always someone’s fault their child behaves badly.

    • And along with the 7 days at home he now has more time to become more of a problem because his parents most likely not stayin home from work for 7 days to supervise him. Now hes back in school all rested any ready to pick up where he left off

  35. Many teachers still hit and pinch children, especially boys. My son has been pinched, hit with a ruler in the palm of his hand and on his legs, hit in his back, his head pushed in a toilet bowl… at both public and private schools. And he is only nine. I have had a hard time fighting not only the teachers and the Ministry of Education, but relatives as well, who think this is “discipline”. The wrongs done to boys in this country is the root of all this bloodletting and violence.

  36. Lasana Liburd we should also be discussing ways to mediate and resolve conflict that don’t involve bouffing, shouting, hitting etc.
    That isn’t part of the school’s system for multiple reasons.