Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Discussion: Should T&T be reaping the benefits of the end of corporal punishment by now?

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…

About Lasana 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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  1. Spare the rod, spoil the child….

  2. This probably helped cause the violence in society as children learnt that their actions had no negative fallout.

  3. Muahahaa stop hitting the child and look at the sheit we in now

  4. Trinidad children need licks!!!!
    Them can’t get the American life style because, their parents barely take the time to train them….
    I was so vex de other when I pull de papers n read the bully jumping on the boy arm….
    Parents need to know that when u get a child, u automatically become a role model and u can’t do certain things around children….

  5. If I’m a director of a movie I know the script like the Palm of my hands .God who is the director of our lives like it or not believe it or not he is has said let no one add or take away from the word ,spare the rod spoil the child.

  6. The country went down the toilet when the then government removed it and the present government not doing one thing about it

  7. Why not post a picture that more accurately reflects what used to pass as corporal punishment. Who the fuck used to get beaten with a small ruler?. It was a big fucking stick designed to inflict pain and bruises so these fucking ass hole teachers could feel like big men. I love how Trinis think they are so creative yet when the can no longer beat they can’t come up with alternatives.

  8. It may have been removed from schools but it has not been removed from homes.
    Also, removing corporal punishment does not mean abuse has been removed.
    Illiteracy is linked to violence. So we may have to wonder if this whole “place every child in a secondary school” is really working for us.
    Placing a child when they are not academically ready will lead them to lash out in frustration.
    Most of the JSC reports presented last year when they discussed violence in schools linked the issue to frustration due to the inability to “keep up” at school.
    Time to bring back agriculture, plumbing, mechanics. Not everyone meant to do the whole doctor, lawyer thing.

    Not to mention, we do not do preventive teaching. We are quick to correct and punish. Do we have rewards systems in schools?

    • And we should stop the stigmatization of ppl who may not be academically inclined and may choose to pursue skills. This stigmatization also hinders learning for slow learners. Our system is also geared to measure everyone according to a particular academic standard, when gifted children may be lost due to fixed structure. We do not allow for creative thinkers.

    • I don’t know that illiteracy is linked to violence. I would love to stress test that.
      Firstly, I saw more corporal punishment at CIC than any Govt school.
      Secondly, disadvantaged people usually don’t have the same access to many resources including the law. So I’d quicker nod my head if you said violence was linked to poverty. When you are living off the fat of the land, I think there is less to fight over.

    • Do your research. I wasn’t randomly saying it. Research has already proved that illiteracy and violence are linked.

    • Research is not infallible at all and I am not going to accept that unless I see what was considered in that research Marsha. Because poverty and illiteracy often go hand in hand. So that’s an easy mistake to make.
      Research can easily claim that illiteracy and malnutrition are linked too.

    • You can have all the data in the world and make a simple error and arrive at the wrong conclusion.

    • Worse yet, when research is done by people who have no clue of the culture they are operating it. Dwight Yorke’s very famous British biographer did research in Tobago a few years ago and deduced that Tobagonians are too poor to afford autograph books.
      That’s because (a) he can see they didn’t have much material things (b) he never saw them asking Yorke for autographs.
      Now anybody from Trinidad and Tobago would know that autographs are not a big part of our culture, as we are from a small island and can see our stars fairly regularly.

    • One of the presenters of the link between illiteracy and violence was a professor who grew up in Laventille and was raised by a single mom.

    • Well, I don’t know enough about the person’s research to say it is faulty research self-hate, or if they used variables that I am unaware of to get some really fascinating results.
      But I know such communities first hand myself. And, as I said, I totally reject his argument and he would need to convince me that he knows better than my experience.

    • Do you think it makes sense Marsha? That people are perpetually angry and violent as a result of a lack of learning? And the more well-read you are, the less violent?
      Bet you that there more than enough cases of abuse (domestic and otherwise) that would rubbish that theory without even needing to look at the research from those gentlemen.

    • Human behaviour is complex. So it’s not a finite statement to make. This thread specifically deals with youth that are violent.
      We can go on to discuss other factors such as untreated trauma. Lack of family security etc etc etc.
      Other contributing factors does not take away from the fact that the link has been proven.

      If we want to rid our country of many of its ills then the conversation should be moved towards parent reform. After all that’s the root cause of everything.

      This is a broad topic, mental health of teachers. Our ability to properly diagnose disabilities. I can go on.

      What we have done and continue to do is try to get a quick fix with one reason behind it all. And that simply cannot be achieved. The whole system needs revamping.

      Singapore’s education system is similar to ours yet they do not see the same issues we see. So that alone says it’s not just the education/school.

      We also cannot turn away from the fact that our culture is very violent.

      This topic is never ending. So my initial comment was an attempt to stay on the corporal punishment and ur attempt to linking it to violence.

    • I agree with everything you said EXCEPT that illiteracy is somehow a spur for violence. That’s wrong. I have lived and worked in such communities. And it just is not logical either because it would mean that the reverse is true and the more educated you are, then the less violent you are.
      But, yes, we are definitely a violent society. We were born in violence as a people.

    • I’d just want to say that before we go all the way to everyone isn’t cut out to be a lawyer or doctor or academic, we need to teach children to read, BEFORE even entering primary school. Regardless what career or vocation you end up pursuing, you need to be literate. Simply driving a car requires literacy. If we ensured children were first literate, we’d then be able to better determine who’s academic and who’s not. Too many children start primary school and don’t even know their ABCs. Some unfortunately miss the bus and never learn to read properly, going through the system, becoming frustrated teens in secondary school and angry adults. Parents need to understand the importance of that. The ECCE schools need to be widely accessed and should do more than just act as day care where children only play and color all day.

    • I can’t speak for all of the ECCE centers, but my daughter attends one that is not remotely a daycare. She went in knowing her colors, numbers, alphabet (and the letter sounds), shapes, etc. and is currently learning a wide range of skills under one engaging topic. Her teachers have actual lesson plans with objectives that are readily available to parents who care to ask/look.

      Obviously, there’s no guarantee that all are doing the same things, but let’s not paint with too broad a brush, especially as every private school I visited could only say “we teach them to read and write”.

      Also, the top performing countries academically speaking have recognized that shoving preschoolers into reading and writing before they’re developmentally ready isn’t the best way to go.

    • And before I forget, everyone -isn’t- cut out to be lawyers and doctors and that’s fine. Lawyers don’t grow our food, doctors don’t educate our children and engineers don’t make sure our cities are clean and safe. We need to cut out the elitist nonsense.

    • Alana Abdool…there are some pre schools that adequately prepare children for primary school-I am not sure if there are guidelines from the MoE or if it’s just to attract more students. Remember some schools even have screening to enter primary school so you try to ensure your child is as prepared as they can be.

    • As I understand it, they are not allowed focus directly on reading and writing (i.e. hold your child’s hand and write letters), but their objectives lead that way and their activities do as well. From what I’ve seen, it looks like a child who is developmentally ready will end up reading and writing by the end of preschool anyway, especially if their parents are engaged and supportive.

    • There is no proof that learning to read that early is beneficial to a child’s overall development. In fact many international scholars would disagree that this should be an area of focus so young and in fact may be why our local children are not demonstrating the ability to think critically etc.

      In more developed countries kids don’t learn to read until they are 7.

    • I learnt to read by age one.

      First world countries also have other support systems, parenting is different and other teaching methods that produce other outcomes.

      The way our system is currently set up, it’s important to be literate by standard 1. Even if your child hasn’t learnt to read as yet, reading to them regularly and stimulating their imaginations helps.

      I seriously don’t expect or want everyone to aspire to be a doctor or lawyer or for them to pressure their children in those directions.

      Calisa said one of the most important things here: “…especially if their parents are engaged and supportive.” I don’t know how aware many of us here are, of how much parental engagement with their children doesn’t happen. At the end of the day, it matters. I attended an education clinic that occurs in August 2007, before school reopens, for teachers and other school staff. They indicated that the students whose parent(s) takes an active and supportive interest in their child’s academic life perform better at school regardless of academic inclination. This includes picking up and dropping them to school. They found that children that are made to be more independent in terms of travelling to and from school at a young age and spending time at home alone in the absence of parents regularly, tend not to perform as well and seem to be more rebellious.

    • Yes parenting is also a huge link to literacy, which is why I am still dumbfounded at the fact that parenting reform still has not appeared on the lips of our Government.

    • We even have studies that show children of ‘helicopter’ parents-as annoying as it is-tend to be more successful. But to be fair, with the economic challenges faced by parents from low income earners to mid career parents who work long hours, the lack of support from extended families, our increasing reliance on technology to babysit, all play a part in parenting. Progressive schools recognise and encourage need for strong PTAs too.

    • don’t get me started on PTA’S. Some Government schools do not allow PTA’S.

      If we introduce an incentive based program we can actually reward good parenting.

      Imagine at the end of the month I get reward points for having my children attend school on time everyday. Those points can then be redeemed at groceries. Just like credit card points.

      Imagine getting points for volunteering at my child’s school?

      Finding a way to monetize parenting. It’s the one job for which we are not paid and therefore we are forced to sacrifice efforts in that area because bills aren’t paid through “good parenting”

      So imagine if we thought outside the box and found a way to monetize good parenting.

    • Many of us, as parents, urge our children to strive to become doctors or lawyers or engineers or whatever. Most of our schools also shape their curriculum to suit students with those career goals. What we sometimes forget, though, is that there are different/multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983). We focus on students who are linguistically and mathematically intelligent. But what about students who have other gifts/intelligences, be it in art, music, dance, etc.? And why don’t we encourage our children/students to strive to be entrepreneurs, as opposed to depending on someone to hire them? And to determine their salary, vacation, benefits and so on?

      I taught at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels for 25 years…And yes, many struggling students…meaning those who have challenges when it comes to learning..tend to be the most disruptive students, some even becoming juvenile delinquents.

    • Shay Roxy…my niece’s (in Canada) class ran a business selling milk and they got paid (albeit fake money lol) etc just like a running a business. And this was run by the school. Even with extra-curricular activities, such as music etc, they take second place to academics. But some children show potential from early, and the system beats the creativity out of them.
      I find it strange for a country with so much creativity and talent that we are constantly struggling-but I suspect all of that is meaningless if we do not have the necessary discipline to follow through and that seems to be our national shortfall.
      Marsha L. Riley…good point about rewarding good parenting. But at the other extreme, we do not want to penalise families who are trying their best but still struggle. Maybe there is some way to build a support system with the school, parents, teachers.

    • Not getting paid won’t be penalizing. Not like we taking away anything from them.

      Most families that are trying their best would be paid and that way they can be eased up with the struggle.

    • I teach, so I’m painfully aware of the connection between parental engagement and academic performance and delinquency. That’s why I’m less concerned with literate preschoolers and more with parents taking an active role.

      Also, Alana, while your early literacy is impressive, it’s indicative of little more than your own aptitude and opportunities (of which, I’d venture to guess, parental engagement was a significant factor). Most kids aren’t going to pull that off, nor do they need to.

    • My mother had a book called “Teach your baby to read”. It’s along the same idea about babies being able to learn another language and other things we think they may not be able to do but they might surprise you. The human brain has many mysteries….. She was very engaged but not a helicopter type parent. My father was of the absentee type, emotionally unavailable and hardly engaged except to discipline us.

    • I’m not saying it isn’t possible under the right circumstances, I’m saying that it isn’t realistically feasible for most, nor is it necessary, as evidenced by a significant amount of research.

      I too am the product of an engaged mother and a disengaged father. One parent who knows the importance of meaningful engagement and is in a position to engage can have amazing effects. But we’re not speaking anecdotally or about a minority, but about a plan of action that makes sense for the majority.

    • Nerisha Mohammed I believe you may have wanted to tag the other Alana but I’m chipping in anyway. The ECCE have a curriculum but reading is not directly taught. I fully agree with this as their minds at that age are not ready for a heavy focus on that nor writing. Placing emphasis on that at preschool can be counter productive developmentally. That is not to say that they can’t be exposed to books and print material which is on the curriculum, but this is just to encourage an interest and for them to gain some familiarity. However, there is no known requirement of primary schools for entrance other than being five years old and I believe being in the same zone as the school is given preference for entrance. I do know that some primary schools demand that students take tests but this is not a requirement of the MoE as far as I know. Yes, some preschools invest far more time preparing students but that is a product of the individual school’s management and culture. And that applies to all schools. There is, I feel, a disparity and disconnection in the culture of reading and writing between preschool and primary school. There are expectations of the reading and writing capacity of a child when they enter primary school that don’t have regulatory checks and balances for entry nor do they align with the ECCE curriculum. I also don’t feel there is a enough emphasis on reading in primary school.

    • Tbh, there is emphasis on reading there is homework assignment etc. But again I look to the Canadian system and see where reading is made fun-picture the children’s library in POS. Coincidentally I was passing on Maraval Rd and heard Penelope Spencer (I am sure) reading to students who were sitting outside. You see the difference? We want to get kids engaged in reading, not make it a chore.

    • Well, I suppose it depends on the primary school. I have seen children get writing exercises but not really reading. And I fully agree, it should not be a chore.

  9. I agree with one point however and that is we as a nation we will continue to fail unless and until we become more data driven.

  10. Perhaps more relevant is Erline Andrews direction that childhood violence has not stopped so in effect what we may be seeing is proof, reasoning for a greater push to reduce children’s exposure to violence. I am talking about the home.

  11. If children are getting brutalised, neglected and abused all how at home (emotionally, verbally, financially, physically, sexually)–and I think we can agree it’s at a fairly high rate–I’m not sure what overall improvement people expect.

    • We have to find some way to get data so we won’t be guessing. Now of course corporal punishment still happens at many homes. But I definitely feel it has lessened there too.
      Many people–including myself–come from homes that used corporal punishment but don’t use that as parents ourselves.
      So that’s a start. I agree with Timothy that we probably need to go further with a non-violent approach.
      But it is personally reasonable that the State has to make a case for doing so. And it would be nice if that case came with data for the success so far. Or something than we can measure based on success in similar societies elsewhere.

    • The thing is Lasana Liburd once we keep doing the same we will continue to have policy by vaps. I love my Cuntry

  12. That aside I want to point out a couple of things. Often times cultural change and paradigm shifts do not occur overnight so we may be rushing the brush…so to speak.

  13. If you think about it we have been using the cutlass as our choice of weapon for a long time now so yes we have always been a very violent place . It takes a different kind of person to hack someone to death .

  14. The case against CP is long an exhaustive and i don’t have time to delve into but this should help http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

  15. The reason examining our past is important is because it contextualizes Lasana’s question and really leads the mind to ask an extrapolation which is were we less violent when corporal punishment was allowed in schools? I think the answer is self evident.

  16. I seem to recall Baldeosingh writing about how trinidad was in the top ten violent countries in the 1950’s and I recall courtney Bartholomew talking about how violent and feared the indos were at the turn of the 19th century which suggests we have always been a violent nation as well as arguing against those who want to suggest our present issues have to do with media etc.

  17. From the schools, yes – but not from the homes. If a child is not taught discipline, but only taught to respect a good cut ass, then if they know their teachers are not allowed to physically discipline them, they won’t respect their teachers.

    And yes – discipline is different to punishment, especially physical punishment, which is the most mentally lazy form.

  18. What is the purpose of discipline? Compliance or understanding? Start there.

  19. Fyi this is not just a TNT problem. Many schools in USA and Canada have police assigned to the premises! Many of the said schools are equipped with metal detectors. Now, the fighting bullying is outside the buildings. I think Dr Brathwaite at UWI is liasing with various foreign schools to come up with a comprehensive plan of action …

  20. When you know better, you do better. Yes, we can discipline children without corporal punishment. We did it because it was done to us; in turn, we did it to ours, and ours will do it to theirs….And in the end, what?
    The absence of corporal punishment is NOT the cause of juvenile delinquency, nor the the rampant violence in sweet TNT. There are so many areas that need to be addressed. This is serious discussion here.

  21. I fully agree with the abolishment of corporal punishment in schools. However, unless we do a proper analysis of exactly when our society began to go down this slippery slope and do all that is necessary to remedy the fall outs, we will continue to find all kind of excuses for this state of indiscipline and criminal activity in our society, especially amongst our young people. It is my view we are in this dilemma because we are treating crime as a political issue instead of addressing the social and economic ills affecting our society over the years which has contributed significantly to the dilemma we have found ourselves in.

  22. How do homes contribute? More or less stable/violent now. Societal expectations? Influence of institutions???

    • Good point. I’d say the worrying issues of domestic violence might suggest the State should look more into putting counsellors into communities. Maybe at health centres or whatever.
      Those counsellors should also be able to guide parents or offer advice.

    • Exactly but the problem is, we tend to lock the barn door after the horse is out. Shouldn’t we prepare our society to be better parents? And I do not mean sex education. Things like financial literacy, diet and nutrition, conflict resolution, psychology, etc-we have names for the things that parents used to do without realising lol. These might help build stronger families and even provide guidance and support they are not getting at home. We have seen studies of the positive impact meditation has on school instead of detention. All of these alternative methods can be used to in still and reinforce discipline.

    • Funny on the counsellor note:

      I had a counsellor tell me my Secondary school has “no violence” because he never experienced it. I went there for 7 years, and stuck around for 5 more after I graduated, and I found it so astonishingly naive for someone in his position to say.

    • Wow…head in sand? ‘Experienced it’? If he is a counsellor, chances are some students would have gone to him for incidents of bullying. Hmm

  23. the removal is the reason we in this crap right now.

  24. As a teacher what I see daily is foolish behaviour that imo needs a good spanking, however when students are suspended and we see the not so mature parents come to defend their children it really makes me wonder why it was removed because I wish I could administer corporal punishment to both parent and child sometimes ?.
    Being a teacher in 2017 is difficult. Children have all the rights and that coupled with enabling parents is disgusting and quite scary. These “children” are quickly becoming tomorrow’s parents. My form five form class already has a mother in it. I am not saying it should be brought back (after all you can’t watch someone too hard without getting killed) but I can attest that since it was removed it’s a lot worse.

    • Do you have any idea what might help DeNyssa?

    • I am thinking it is difficult to engage everyone as classroom sizes are bigger, more administration for teachers, limited resources, packed syllabus. And yet teachers are expected to perform miracles by being counsellor/advisor/confidante etc. Although some manage but I can see the challenges faced. And a poor support system in most PTAs. How many primary school children are from single parent homes?

    • What happens in Trinidad is we model societies with systems and structures in place that allows their policies to work. We don’t have the support mechanisms to deal with many issues in education. An example School Social workers and Guidance Officers have multiple schools and some schools need them full time. When a child is referred it takes quite a while to deal with the issue. We have few special education teachers and many students that are ADD, ADHD, Aspergers and along the Spectrum that we are not equipped to deal with. Class size is also a major issue of contention

    • We need to start over if you ask me. Press the reset button. Parenting in particular needs to come back, the home is failing.

    • I often wonder how primary and secondary teachers manage 25 students. When, some parents can’t handle 1 child. Yet we want the teachers to discipline, teach, encourage, support and treat everyone on the same level. It is a collective effort, with parents taking the lead.

    • DeNyssa, we have so many issues that need the reset button. Sometimes I feel we should scrap Parliament and have a series of meetings for about six months or so and just a build a whole damn new society.
      From civil source, the police service and our political structure come up.
      And we can put things in place to review that structure after two years in the first instance. And then four years. And then every five years.
      Can you imagine if every five years we address loopholes and stuff?
      I bet you the tendering process would have already been changed and ministers would have no special privilege to give away State houses.
      Not so Afra Raymond? Brian Harry?

    • So true Lasana Liburd. Just like in the teaching service where some parents expect teachers to raise their children through their hands off approach to parenting, in our parliament, we expect our representatives to lead us-without taking the time or effort to give our input. We seem to forget they are there to represent our collective interest-not their own! And we drop the ball, get upset etc when ppl try to help guide and steer the course on a straight path.

    • Lasana that’s a great idea!!! That said, it will take real leadership with confidence and courage to pull it off. Such a series of meetings will require individuals to put aside titles and protocol and have direct and open challenge and discussions. The discussions would have to be well structured and facilitated. Great idea though. It has happened before!

    • It’s a daunting challenge if it is we are to try to push for such discussions happening in the real world. But I’m open to the idea.

    • whose model are we following atm? Aren’t there better models?

  25. You can never remove a system and leave a vacuum and expect good results. Corporal punishment is in effective, that’s been proven, but not training teachers in effective punishments (or rather reward systems) is the problem.

  26. It was removed from the schools. Doesnt mean the home.

    • Very true. Would that totally negate the impact though? Is it a little better but not sufficiently better to show an improvement?
      Of course we are all guessing because we have no data.

    • Correct. We don’t have data. We also know that it still happens in many homes. I don’t think it negates it. I think we as a society need to do better in teaching our youth that violence isn’t the answer. Grew up in a home where yes, we got the occasional beating but we were also instilled values. I don’t think that teachers should be responsible for disciplining our children. Things have changed. Technology took over. With that, tv and videogames are teaching our kids. We no longer have a hand as all we’re doing is saying ” go watch tv” instead of being involved. Doing a simple thing as homework with kids teach that you are interested in them. They learn to respect you more. To me they are less likely to “lash out” as the Americans call it.

    • I think even in homes it’s no longer common practice but we need to actually collect data to see what is really going on

    • Yep. Now in schools what they need to do is have something in place for discipline. What i would like to happen is both parents and teachers become involved in some sort of solution forum. Even the Ministry of education. Some sense of community. This is part of the issue. People no longer come together. Is it too late for this generation though?

    • It has declined in homes too. Kids no longer ” fear” their parents. Kids no longer fear d police too

    • Children spend a greater percentage of their lives away from home.

    • All these people talking about children not getting licks have to go in the ghetto and see how much licks dem children getting. I see one getto mother resting level blows and cuss on a three year old child and she taking it like nothing lmao. Why they don’t go in the prison and ask any convict… how much licks yuh mother and father used to give you? I sure all yuh would be surprised by the answer.

  27. sixty three comments, twenty three likes and loves, and so on

    and how many people here know that violence is long before a beating?
    this post and its question ignores a range of violence and incivility, and trauma by simple voice and words, people’s attitude and energy.. not even yelling, long before a child is beaten.

    ;ppl someone writes above they swore their mother hated them. do you know how common that is? and what do you think it is like being raised under that? roses and flowers?

    do you see why we have a crisis? folk are clueless

    How it is we do not know this, are aware of this, is beyond me

    • Feel free to use the question as a starting point. That’s all.

    • do you know that trinidad and tobago was on al jazeera today. at 3:33
      the On Stream Show.
      know what was the topic?
      Domestic Violence in TT, #LifeinLeggings, and Domestic Violence as a Context on Wider Violence in a Culture, Society and Region that is Violent and the incidences of such are Epidemic

      that was the whole thing as introduced, encapsulated.
      come to think of it, it was great ‘production” quality

      but i mention and bring it up only because that point was made. violence is long before a beating. how it is not adequately defined, violence, that we dont understand incivility and other nonphysical forms are very violent

  28. I wonder if there is correlation
    {Graph shows spike in murder rates from 2007–some six years after corporal punishment was abolished in schools}

  29. Meh ….. this is not the reason we here. It’s a whole set of reasons rolled up in one but this is not.one of them

    • I’m sure. But I think it helps if we consider what is and isn’t working and why. And we keep trying.
      Stopping corporal punishment was a good idea once we had something to replace it. But nothing wrong with assessing and reassessing.
      Whether we have the data to do is another question. Surely we should be able to get that at least.

    • Hmm that data will definitely be difficult to find. For me looking back our issues goes way back to the 1970s oil boom days, lack of foresight, social complacency, leadership complacency, media greed, corruption on every level, bad fiscal management and basic divide and conquer. I could go on but I’ll tire myself out.
      We are why we are here, getting good conscientious people to help turn this around will take a while. Trinis does talk, and most just want to see themselves talk and get a pat on the back. We are in a real pickle but I do believe any problem can be rectified.

    • Agreed Nigel. Maybe we can look for reported acts of violence in school before and after to give us a gauge.
      Then the discussion would become what to do next so as to improve our society.
      It is better than aimlessly ambling along I think.

    • Lasana Liburd When was it removed from the home?

  30. At the end of the day all we know for sure is that –
    a) The country is more violent
    b) Children aren’t beaten in school
    c) We need divine intervention
    d) Ohman need tuh find better man

    Class dismissed!

  31. Interesting observation Lasana Liburd, they should be less violent. I however still do not support beatings as I was beaten like a slave as a child and I still ended up in Prison. I honestly thought my mom hated me and wanted me dead! I think that is the root of our problem. From way back when Slaves were beaten to keep them disciplined and docile but this only lead to planning and rebellion.

    This was handed down from generation to generation which I think is breathing the same result now. even though corporal punishment is no longer in our schools, some homes still use it as a way to discipline which is spilling over onto our streets. just my thoughts.

    • From what you said, your situation is not the typical lash or two but more along the lines of physical abuse. Maybe if you were a difficult child-not saying you were but from your story, taking a leap- your mother did not know how to deal with you, so she did the best/ only thing she knew, she wanted to save you from the result of your actions because she cared. And in your resentment at being punished, you turned in the opposite direction, so the licks ended up having opposite effect.

    • Well I was more asking the question though Garth. I’m not sure if it is or isn’t more violent to be honest.
      And, as many pointed out, there more factors that could lead to the violence we still see today.
      But I do think it would be useful for us to decide where we want to go as a country and see if the things we are using to take us there are working.

    • Nothing wrong with a good cutarse. Got plenty in my time and it didn’t turn me into a monster.

  32. If a similar survey was done with members of parliament, the results might very-well be the same.

  33. It would be interesting to do a survey of the prisons to find out how many inmates were beaten growing up. I’m willing to wager the number would be over 95%

  34. Vernal I just considered the evidence of violence in our youth and wondered if things were getting better or not.
    And I wondered whether abolishing corporal punishment in school was supposed to help.
    So I wanted to hear some opinions on it.
    Some people seem to have assumed that this must make me a pro corporal punishment person. It doesn’t. I’m just a curious guy. ?

  35. Is there any basis for drawing a connection between corporal punishment and violent criminality? Honest question.

  36. Yo Lasana,
    Why we having this conversation anyway?

  37. Lasana Liburd…Not to take away from the original focus of your question..but I suspect you’ll also need to consider that over the last 15 years the drop in price of communications technology has really over exposed our ‘immature’ society to values and ideals that put pressure on us to determine our own identity.

  38. We all have opinions on the impact of abolishing corporal punishment in schools. But, without cold facts… we are guessing. Research can be done to assess the impact, considering other variable e.g. violence on TV, in music and family environment then and now. But… good old Observation (a recognized form of research) can also be used to see that some children are truly the spawn of the devil 😉

  39. I wonder if any person contributing to the argument for or against corporal punishment in schools, can think of any teacher who was a cross between a bully and a criminal. I got my good share of licks for many years both in and out of school but I cannot forget the teachers who beat their way through many a class. I would hate to think that corporal punishment in school would be placed in the hands and at the discretion of some of the persons parading as teachers today. If it is reintroduced, there must be strict guidelines and boundaries established for administering this punishment by someone trained. This person should have compassion.

    • And there in lies the difference. There were teachers to me who took it to the extreme, this I do not agree with, but at the same time, there must be some sort of action that a teacher can take without reprisal (trained as you said – that’s why we had deans) that can correct a child who misbehaves. We have got to remember Teachers, the school system have our children for sometimes more than 8 hours a day during the week. I would go berserk if I had a multitude of children for even 4 hours with no means to correct them based on the type of behaviour.

    • I agree with you. Parents look forward to school reopening because a child on your hands all day can be difficult sometimes. Imagine a teacher’s position. Training and counselling are necessary to assist the teacher to manage an entire class day after day. And we are not even talking about corporal punishment yet

  40. I am old school. I can’t tell you when last any of my children got licks but they will get the occasional pinch or slap on hand in extreme circumstances

  41. What does the abolishment of corporal punishment have to do with the larger universal set of violence? We have not removed the potential for violence by banning corporal punishment. So there’s nothing to expect in the way of a reduction of violence. All you’ve done is set a precursive condition to attempt to mask an innate, animalistic potential for the purpose of nothing more than creating a false sense of progress. As to what your idea of just and right, that’s a naive perception of what was “accomplished” by banning it. Until society starts seeing past the stinking smoke screens we’re going nowhere

    • My idea of “just and right” is naive? You don’t think there is such a thing as “just and right”?

    • Remember you’re tackling two separate issues here Alana Abdool. Whether or not it is just and right has nothing to do with violence. I certainly didn’t suggest otherwise.

    • Yes, it’s naive if you think doing nothing more than banning corporal punishment is just and right. This is separate from whether I think there’s such a thing as “just and right”. I support the abolishment of corporal punishment. But it is naive to assume that this is sufficiently “just and right” and that it can somehow lead to a reduction in violence.

    • Lol. Break it down for me Alana. It is naive for me to consider it just and right NOT to hit a child unless I am doing more than just that?
      Like I said, I think you are confusing different things in the thread.

    • And the question was whether we should be seeing a reduction in violence. Many people have simply stated their opinion one way or the other. Because one thing cannot solve a problem doesn’t mean there can be no manifestation.
      By following your logic, it makes no sense to do anything unless that act solves the problem. Whereas things can be incremental, whereas you do something and assess and then do something else.

    • No it is not naive for you to consider it just and right not to hit a child…I meant it would have been naive to believe it would have led to a reduction in violence. But your second comment made me go back to the question where you specified “should” and not “shouldn’t”. So you were absolutely right Lasana Liburd I misread it the first time. Of course I agree solving things should be incremental. In which case before we can consider what we should be seeing we should ask why it was done. You can’t query the possibilities of what unless you understand why. Unless the decision taken to ban it was grounded in a goal or objective we won’t know what we’re looking for.

    • Actually someone explained here that the removal of corporal punishment WAS designed to lessen violence in society.
      If so, then the conversation certainly becomes why it has not worked and what it will take to make it work. Some of those things you suggested should definitely be considered in such a discussions Alana.

    • Ok I’ll go back and look for that comment in a bit. Doesn’t make much sense but I’d have to read it to get the full context.

  42. I would say we’re worse off than before.

  43. Basdeo Panday or Kamla Persad Bissessar, can you help us by explaining why corporal punishment was abolished?
    Was it because it was the morally right thing to do? Was it to remain in step with our neighbours? Or was it to have a less violent society?

  44. Thing is it can be said that the end of corporal punishment was done strictly on moral grounds, which is that adults ought not to hit vulnerable children in their care.
    That would be sound. And that would have nothing to do with making the country less violent.
    But I’m not sure what the initial idea behind ending corporal punishment was.

  45. Human society isn’t a scientific laboratory where you can easily separate variables and try to attach one variable to a particular effect. It’s almost impossible to do that with any accuracy of determining cause/effect. You cannot eliminate or put aside environmental, historical, social, mental/cognitive and other factors of life in that way to arrive at a single conclusion. If one’s premise is problematic, any conclusions from such will be at best inconclusive, if not outright wrong. That’s all.