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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…

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. 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.

  37. Spare the rod, spoil the child….

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

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

  40. 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….

  41. 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.

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

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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

  48. 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.

  49. 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 .

  50. 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

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

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

  55. 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 …

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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

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

  60. 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?

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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

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

  65. 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?

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

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

  69. 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%

  70. 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. ?

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

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

  73. 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.

  74. 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 😉

  75. 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

  76. 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

  77. 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.

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

  79. 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?

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. There is also a link between the amt of male school teachers within the school system and the indicipline we now see . That to has to be considered .

    • That one needs data too. Lol. But it would be interesting. We would then have to consider have that might affect the attitude of young men to the opposite sex on the whole.

    • Lasana Liburd We know there are alot of young men who have no respect for female teachers .

    • Jimi Jorsling…If we identify that as an issue since 2009 as articulated in letter to editor, and suspecting more females apply for teaching than makes-since more of us go on to tertiary education, what has the MoE done to attract male teachers? If they are more inclined to science, do we provide better labs? How are we actively recruiting male teachers?

    • That was brought up as an issue by a former Education Minister but no one has said what accounted for the drop in male applicants for teaching positions within recent years . A good question for the present adminstration to answer

    • But even so, there are male applicants in the system. Their applications can be fast tracked once they are available for subject areas that have vacancies. It is just a matter of being pro-active.

    • Jimi Jorsling : “We know there are a lot of young men who have no respect for female teachers .”

      WOW . i wonder if that relates to male violence against women, about hyper and toxic masculinity, about the way males interact with females and women???

      who here realizes that casual statement that is very true indicates how early people are socialized to behave a certain way.

      And do we not miss a salient piece in all of this. That violence is about who and how we see potential victims, the proverbial monkey know what tree to climb??

      and how many males insist that young boys respect women, females, teachers, …

      If i keep going we will get to see how men, all the good ones who so think they are, have silently watched and compliantly participated in the disrespect of women. and girls nad the female form and frame.

      from that phrase Jimi writes we should ask. Oh? How? Why? What?? and go down the rabbit hole from there

  83. It’s quite possible that the simultaneous easy and unfiltered access kids got to cable television around the time corporal punishment was stopped may have minimize the positive outcome that should have been achieved.

  84. In my days at St. George’s College, the Principal walked the corridors with his whip…not a man dare peep outside his/her classroom..
    But that was in the 70s and 80s…
    Assuming it was legal (some say it is illegal), for a principal to administer cp today, that principal could face.serious reprisals…from the parents or friends of that student…

    • I remember deans who did the same at CIC.

    • At When I did A’Levels we had Downer at St. Augustine Senior Comp. some of the children there were deemed troublesome and bad, but majority dare not tangle with him, those that did.. well let’s just say we had visits from the police when those episodes occurred and the Dean was a short, little Chinese man, he too they feared. All he had to do was come out his office at the front of the school and the corridors in the back and all became a ghost town. He commanded respect. I don’t agree with the whip, but there must be some sort of disciplinary action that the principal and teachers could take

    • Earlier this month, I was walking down Maraval Road and a mother and daughter were on their way to Newtown Girls. A whistle blew on the school’s compound and the mother continued walking while the girl halted abruptly and said “Mummy” and the mother immediately stopped. She was about eight years old and I looked around after I passed and both of them were standing at attention on the pavement outside the school. I assume that the child was obeying an instruction which was a very pleasant surprise. There must be a way to restore respect and discipline in the nation’s schools and all actions must have consequences at all ages.

    • I think children generally start off respecting teachers. I’m not sure how the respect is eroded after.
      I’d never ill-speak teachers in front of children, even if I think the teacher was wrong. Not unless we are talking about a matter of safety.

    • Parents HAVE to take.control of their children from DAY ONE..now the children control parents..
      As a secondary school teacher myself, like many schools, there is a parents day in.which students, parents and teachers discuss poor academic performance..
      Some of the stories I hear from the.parents….very challenging to keep their sons on track..

  85. I’d like to believe that, in scientific terms, you can measure anything. You just need the right formula. If we beat children in the hundreds of thousands before and we now beat them in the thousands, then would we not be able to measure the benefits of that somehow?

  86. I would say that the violence in school is just one part of the problem.

    Many children are still violently beaten at home, and verbally abused as well. More beatings do correlate to more violent children, but the anger and frustration in our society comes from children who are not respected, and not listened to.

  87. And my response is the same to you there Renee. This isn’t a thread about bringing corporal punishment back. But rather a look at where we are going.
    Some say we should scale back. Some say we should go further. All made points either way.

  88. I’m with Keston K. Perry on this one!

  89. Sorry Lasana I’m not going to join this discussion. I anticipate getting annoyed quickly. This is a fictitious correlation btw. But good luck!

    • Lol. You sure your correlation isn’t fictious? What I asked was whether we should have a less violent school population as a result of the end of corporal punishment.
      You must be assuming I was making some other point.

    • Lasana, you made a correlation by inferring that ending CP should/would lead to a less violent society. Perhaps you inadvertently made a correlation without realising that is what it’s called. I don’t like discussing simple formulae relative to complex concerns. But anyway ah gone. X

    • Well, I was under the impression that this was partly the point. The whole violence begets violence theory, which sounds feasible enough. I thought that correlation was always there.
      Cheers Keston.

    • Corporal punishment may have ended in schools but not in the home… Plus, children are subjected to violence on TV, the music they listen to, social media, etc.

    • I wager we don’t even know and understand where this idea of beating children to enforce discipline and obedience comes from and why we need to stop practicing this torture of defenseless children.

    • The conversation is not about finding ways to beat children though. Just about considering the gains of things put in place: Is it working? Why not? Or how can it work better? Are we sure we were right to begin with?
      Nothing should be above scrutiny. No sacred cows. You have to believe that everything you think is right can be logically justified.

    • It is easy to assume people have an agenda and are aiming to do something unpleasant. But sometimes we are just discussing things and considering how to create a better society.

    • I recognize your musing.. Not assuming anything….those are just some of my observations. It’s a complex issue and I’m barely scratching the surface here. There’s a plethora of things we need to do as a society that can’t be legislated or imposed, in order for us to change. We have to want to change for the better.

    • Was removing Corporal punishment from schools the right thing to do? Yes. But in the absence of further guidance and guidelines on enforcing discipline, a vacuum developed. Nature abhors same and something filled it. We also failed to address other contributing issues such as parental indiscipline, neglect, domestic violence, children’s access to inappropriate material, our general lack of knowledge and immaturity, our reticence about reading, viewing children as property and without rights, general indiscipline and pervasive violence in society, erosion of values and morals, etc.

    • I wonder what filled that vacuum though. What do teachers do now Peter Joseph? Some of those things at home are hard to legislate for. But the Govt can try to reach parents through campaigns on parenting if they really believe that would make us a better society.

    • What filled it? Well, predators that prey on children don’t only do so for sex. Neglect filled the void. We bred contempt as well when people forgot the difference between entitlement and eligibility. We also assume every woman is cut out to be a mother and they want to be a parent. We don’t actually teach people to be parents too…. We became more materialistic and the Barrel Child Syndrome bred cold, acquisitive, impatient and angry adults. We keep selling this myth that children aren’t good enough because they come from a single female home or their fathers are irresponsible and unavailable so we’ve filled the void with low self esteem. We don’t encourage rational, analytical thought, conflict resolution and reading so we have children and adults that only think and react on a more primitive emotional level; the amygdala hijack is the normal mode of operation. We left children to take themselves to and from school even at the age of 5, and mind themselves at home alone and we left the TV and radio and Internet to babysit…. Lots of things have filled the void really….

    • I think low self esteem runs deep throughout the country though. Regardless of class or the number of parents in the house.
      Same for the lack of analysis.
      I just tied those into our colonial upbringing. Not convinced that the schools had anything to do with those two.
      I certainly agree that all those things are problems for our society.

    • Yes. That low self esteem is at the root of our general apathy and our tendency to await a messianic hero to rescue us from ourselves…. Many days I ask myself why i’m here you know… It’s extremely tiring trying to wake people up!

    • Wish I knew the answer to that. When I thought about starting a website that turned out to be Wired868, my idea was to create something that could provoke thought.
      I wanted to start intelligent conversation and to give people the information they need to have the talks that we need to have as a country.
      I can only hope that those talks then lead somewhere.
      I really appreciate some of the people who contribute to our discussions. Maybe these talks can help plant a seed and give an alternate viewpoint.
      My hope is that for every chat, there might be someone who reads without contributing who got something worth musing over.
      That’s why I say no sacred cows. We should be able to justify everything with logic.

    • Lasana to answer you the short way….we have in place something called the disciplinary matrix. It involves:
      Keeping records of student behavior
      Looking for patterns in said behavior
      Reporting patterns to immediate supervisor(H. O. D).
      Letters to parents
      Meetings with parents
      Principal intervention
      It follows that pattern
      Strategies like lines, standing in a corner can be done within reason but excessive use is deemed cruel. I know of a teacher being disciplined for gently tapping on a child’s shoulders (as teacher passes down aisle) and saying “hurry up”. Parents complained that the child was abused.

    • Alana I’m not au courant with ‘smiley face ‘ usage. What’s the meaning of the one you used?

    • Rolled my eyes at the abuse claims…. Some parents are their children’s own worst enemy…..

    • Thing is….I’ve personally received letters from many parents ‘giving me permission ‘ to buss tail.. I politely decline….I have bills to pay

  90. One simply need ask whether corporal punishment was the prime contributing factor to a culture of violence among youth or one research proven contributing factor .. you being naughty now Lasana

    • Lol. We have had some excellent comments on that from teachers Karry. Many believe we should have done more.
      I think for us to go beyond that we have got to show some evidence of improvement or at least paint a picture to show how these changes can lead to a better society.

    • I’m actually NOT saying we should bring back corporal punishment. Although I do find it interesting that we still see such aggressive behaviour from students, particularly when aimed at authority figures who they would have cowered before in the past.

    • Cuase they are being beaten at home and exposed to that violence elsewhere. Students do not exist in a bubble

    • That point was raised several times Rachael. And of course that’s true.
      But it is fact that there is less licks now if only a couple schools in the country stopped. Are you saying that stopping it in schools was a waste of time?

  91. Correlation does not always mean causation. If you remove one form of discipline in school without adequately replacing it with another then, of course, we are going to have problems. We have such regressive ideas education and discipline. We don’t even have sufficient student therapy, academic guidance, sex education or learning disability assistance to deal with the many social issues. Some of these students have an unhealthy home environment. They grow up in dangerous and abusive homes or neglectful ones. But sure let’s just look at the only surface issues instead of dealing with the fact that we are not taking proper care of our children both in and outside of the classrooms.

  92. Were you guys spanked in elementary school?

  93. The threat or implementation of a good cutarse has saved many so i do not discount its value……but when do you say it is abuse???

  94. Can’t say and will not proffer/hazard a guess.Simply put ,we need to address roles of parenting,child rearing,teaching and adherence to basic tenets of values and reinforcement of same.

    • Once we can agree on those “basic tenets of values” of course. 😉

    • Well, let’s start with a little kindness.

    • I think kindness and corporal punishment might not be mutually exclusive.

    • So, why isn’t there a formal citizenship course? You are granted citizenship because you are born here. But with your religious upbringing, despite our cultural norms, you believe that children can be married off. We can be a tolerant society, but shouldn’t there be a more formal way to establish what are our social norms? Things like courtesy-playing loud music to disturb neighbours-why do police have to get involved? Obscene language in public, even when children are present? What discourages such behaviour now? And what encourages such behaviour now, when 20 years ago ppl would not even think to do such things?

    • let’s start with manners: Good morning. Good afternoon. Please. Thank you. Excuse me. I am sorry. What did you say. I beg your pardon. etc etc. you see it readily in those children who have been properly trained. They are not saints but you readily see that their parents have had some positive influence over them and the parents don’t have to be present for that to happen.

    • I actually thought those days died but I was walking in POS a couple years ago when a young schoolboy passed and said…’coz morning’ I was so shocked it took me a minute to respond lol…And there was nobody else on the street. But yup, basic etiquette like these, when children are borough up in homes where they do not get such training-they should pick up the cues from school etc. We see when some ppl come into the workplace and ppl comment that person has no ‘broughtupsy’.

  95. what? no, these children need licks! back in our day yuh getting licks from everybody and we want back the ole’ time days

  96. Ian Brooks was there an aim we were working on when we abolished corporal punishment? Or were we just copying other nations?
    That might give us a clue as to what went wrong with that plan.

  97. Earl Best

    It might seem like splitting hairs but schooling and education are NOT, emphatically not, the same thing. And it seems self-evident that education is much broader, much larger, much more all-encompassing than schooling.

    So if we remove corporal punishment from schools and leave it untouched in the wider society, have we advanced the game? After all, it may not be true any longer that the village educates the child but, from where i stand, it certainly is true that the global village is mis-educating the country’s children.

  98. I don’t know (in fact I doubt) if any studies have been conducted into the factors leading to lawlessness in T&T, but studies done elsewhere suggest strongly that corporal punishment actually incrrases the likelihood of the development of violent tendencies.

    It is natural to look for a magic bean that would grow all the solutions to society’s problems, but the fact is many things contribute to the development of violent tendencies and dealing with them firsts requires study and we eh doing dat.

  99. No …. Pavlov theory says no??

  100. The opposite happened because it was removed with no alternative plan for disciplining young ppl…so we reaping the results of poor planning now

  101. Good point…suspensions are making little impact…

  102. NOPE… As with everything else was it done properly, with a proper implementation strategy put in place to deal with and mitigate the fall out… NOPE.. so what we expect.

    • I wonder what the problem was that we were trying to fix then. That might give us a better clue as to if it was done properly.
      And surely we should have some way of assessing it after all these years. So we will know if we need to go further and ban corporal punishment in homes, for instance.

    • Was there a problem or were we just trying to as usual follow an American system, to your point, quick to end without foresight and planning,

    • And so leaving teachers and school administrators in limbo not knowing what was accepted as proper disciplinary procedure, the bad behaviour in school sky rocketed, today even in primary school. A a parent, moreso of boys I constantly meet with my children teachers, with them present so they are quite aware of what I have given permission to and what I expect to be proper behaviour and what the consequences would be in school and at home. Growing up in a time when a cut tail was normal , I rarely put into practice this type of correction, but they are quite aware that there are dire consequences for improper behaviour by the removal of the things they love to do (with the exception of extra curricular activities like football, baskeball etc..) Teachers are in a quandry with sometimes no help and correction in behaviour and attitude from home. I know there are other reasons, but the majority is just lack of parenting and the need to be a friend more than a parent.

    • Well, if we didn’t know why we were implementing it then it is no wonder that it hasn’t worked. I’m still assuming that the intention was to have a less violent society.
      I’m not sure if it was just on moral grounds in that it is child abuse to beat someone more vulnerable than you and in your care.

    • Anyone remembers who the minister of education at the time was?. You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.

  103. Think about it. Your child has picked up the bad habit of stealing little things around the house. You tell him/her that if s/he didn’t ask for permission to get whatever it was, then what s/he did is called stealing. S/he does it again and again and again…and your form of correction gets a bit sterner with each infraction..whether it is scolding, withholding privileges, grounding or whatever you deem appropriate. What would you do if your child starts stealing other kids’ belongings? Their pencils? Pens? Whatever? Especially if s/he has all his/her mental faculties and has the ability to reason things out. I think that there’s nothing wrong with giving that child 2-3 strokes on his/her behind. The point is, spanking is the last resort. This isn’t about being violent. This is about raising your child in the way s/he should go. And there’s scripture to support this claim: Proverbs 13:24 (NIV) – “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them… ” although I’m sure there are Biblical scholars who’d say that my interpretation is erroneous.

    • Exactly! Reinforcement! Reward good behaviour, punish bad behaviour. Anybody recall a time when only a cut eye was enough to stop you in your tracks? From young, listen to how children speak to adults. We try too much to be friend. And that behaviour is reinforced in the tv shows geared for children.

    • Nerisha Mohammed You hit the nail on the head!!!! Agree 100%!!!

    • Janine Mendes-Franco An interesting study….But the investigator (Gershoff) also cautions that “her findings do not imply that all children who experience corporal punishment turn out to be aggressive or delinquent. A variety of situational factors, such as the parent/child relationship, can moderate the effects of corporal punishment. Furthermore, studying the true effects of corporal punishment requires drawing a boundary line between punishment and abuse. This is a difficult thing to do, especially when relying on parents’ self-reports of their discipline tactics and interpretations of normative punishment.” (SOURCE: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2002/06/spanking.aspx)

    • Yes, I saw that — but who defines abuse? Who draws the line? Better to avoid it entirely. How can we be enraged about domestic violence, but cool with doling out “a good cut arse”? And when those same men who were “disciplined” that way as children start running amok, we wonder why. I’m not saying we need to be welcome mats, but we must approach this issue differently if we want to see lasting change.

    • The reality is that the statistics show more negative long-term effects from corporal punishment that not. The brain being to wire itself differently, particularly if this approach has been used from a tender age.

    • Janine Mendes-Franco Don’t think 2-3 strokes on the behind as the very last resort, after all other methods failed, will do harm. It’s not something I would advocate that a parent does as soon as a child disobeys. Noooooo….That would be bordering on being abusive. Failure to wash the dishes, though an act of disobedience, doesn’t merit being spanked (IMHO)…But stealing, for example, after repeated warnings…and other lesser forms of punishment like withholding privileges, grounding, and what have you…may be one of the reasons why I think a child should be spanked. Isn’t that better than calling the child a jackarse? Hardened? Or saying something more hurtful? Though the wounds from 2-3 strokes on the derriere will heal in minutes, the scars from a hurtful word last a lifetime…So let’s agree, to disagree…

    • Shay, I believe in natural consequences and in communication. We’ll agree to disagree — for me, though, corporal punishment breaks a bond of trust. I personally cannot tell a child that I expect better of him or her when I resort to violence to make that point. If I do that, I cannot later be outraged at teacups being pelted in parliament, etc. 🙂

  104. That is not the only factor, there are many, many interlocking reasons for juvenile crime

  105. Of course that might not be down to corporal punishment at all. But it is ironic.

  106. You see students scuffling with police officers these days. Did that always happen but we just didn’t have smart phones to video tape it?
    Or do children have more aggressive behaviour to authority figures now too?

    • Can you really imagine 20 years ago a school child doing that? Trust, those were the days of some ‘badjohn’ police officers lol. They were taking you home for your parents to finish beating you lol.

    • Thing is I know some stuff like sexual assualts, for instance, always happened. That isn’t new. But I really can’t remember students attacking police much in the past. If at all. But maybe someone can correct me.

    • If we’re talking about the same video, Lasana, I saw it and it comes down to communication. The officers may have been well intentioned, but the girl was in panic mode because she felt she wasn’t doing anything wrong — and they weren’t explaining anything to her. Put that in the context of lack of public trust in the police and you can start to understand her distress. Then the officers pulled rank and started to deride her, which escalated everything. Could the whole scene have been avoided if the girl was approached differently? We need to change our approach and foster more understanding. We only fear the things we don’t understand. And what of the prison system? Do we think the jails will be big enough to hold everybody, or might we start looking at restorative justice? As a friend was asking the other day on FB, if we are an empathetic nation, does that mean empathy towards some or all? We’re all in this together. it’s time we acted like it.

    • There have actually been many videos like that in recent times Janine. But I’d say we were all unfairly treated by people in authority during our days as children.
      It was extremely rare in my days to see such a reaction to an authority figure: be it teacher or policeman.
      I agree that this might have nothing to do with corporal punishment. But there is some irony if students are now displaying more aggression towards authority figures.
      Not that I can prove it with hard evidence.

    • Well, back then, children knew to be children they were to be seen and not heard; we did not know about ‘rights’ then lol.

  107. ..Licks doh kill and licks does cool. Well administered, the threat is more weighty than the act itself..

  108. Lasana, you are right in assuming that even though corporal punishment in schools was banned/frowned upon, children may still be experiencing violence at home. But also bear in mind that there is more than one form of violence. Kids are often humiliated and mentally/emotionally abused by those in “authority” — and not just in school or at home, but on the streets, in public places — young people are far too often viewed as “less than”. People talk about “discipline”, but discipline is nothing more than an opportunity to teach. In T&T — and the wider region — that often takes on the hue of our shared trauma over slavery, which we have never productively addressed in a national space. We are so conditioned to the “big stick” approach that we can’t fathom that anything else could yield results. To all those who walk around saying, “I got licks and I turned out fine”, I have news: you cannot create positive change through fear. You can only inspire it, because for anything to be sustainable, people have to buy into it. Young people need boundaries, but they also need autonomy. They need to be heard, listened to, understood. They need us to be better examples of how to resolve conflict. How can anyone teach non-violence through the use of violence — by doing the very thing they’re advocating against? It’s illogical. Who can learn if they are afraid, threatened or intimidated? Discipline is not punishment. Until we can wrap our heads around that, we’re in for more of the same.

    • I agree with you Janine. But even if corporal punishment only stopped in schools, I’m wondering what benefit we should be seeing as a society.
      I believe it is the right thing to do. But shouldn’t our improvements not come with tangible benefits too?

    • Not if the rest of society operating as if it’s business as usual.

    • So you think we haven’t gone far enough in dealing with corporal punishment then. That’s a point. And I accept that it is the morally just thing to do.
      But what benefit would we see? Can we point to any evidence of such? Something that will spur us to continue…
      Are we getting better or worse?

    • It’s such a complex issue. It encompasses so much: the fact that they see their esteemed “leaders” setting bad examples and being rewarded nonetheless, the fact that young people these days are facing a real — and virtual reality — unlike anything we ever had to deal with at that age. They live under threat of violence; the education system is irrelevant to many youngsters’ talents and how they learn; technology is developing faster than we can keep up with it. Media and popular culture also play a role. But if you let kids step outside of the boxes and problems that we have, in large part, imposed on them, they often surprise you.

  109. I do not believe that the Act re:corporal punishment was ever assented to……?????

  110. The idea that corporal punishment is something most children don’t still experience is false for both T&T and America.

  111. My 2 cents Dole Chaddie,the King brothers,Dancehall music and gangster rap mainly contributed to the country vulnerability to cope with this positive belief of being successful via the young generation…I remembered me quite well in my young days dancing to Cutty Ranks kill them music and seeing fights breaking out stabbings and chopping and also as a police officer going on raids and being told leave that one and give that one case…
    Coporal Punishment has little to do with Corruption and Negative influence…
    sorry for my lack of punctuations

  112. A good West Indian discipline didn’t kill anybody…or at least, it didn’t kill most people. Sure, there were parents who used spanking to ‘the full extreme,’ but generally speaking, when used judiciously, and not out of anger, but as a means to correct the child, it did more good than harm. I got my fair share of spankings and so did my sister…and I don’t look back at those times with regret, at all. That form of punishment was for my own well-being. There were mistakes I never repeated…even up to this day. I think there’s a tendency for us to follow what is done in America; but look at their society. Is it a less violent place as a result? Let’s face it; some children would just need to get ‘de eye’ and they straighten up…real quick. Others need a scolding…and they’re good to go. For a few, taking away privileges or giving them time-out help a lot. But for some, they need a ‘cut-tail.’ Simple.

  113. Lasana are you implying that ah good, old fashioned, long-time cutass worked ?
    take care they come fuh yuh eh

  114. Something to consider then in light of the discussion. So who, then, is mainly responsible for disciplining your child? The parent or the school? Keep in mind there were cases where students were disciplined and parents came to the school for the teachers! But what happened in schools, just like in the home, was some teachers took the discipline too far.

    • As a parent it is my duty to discipline. When in school it is the teacher / principal. If left unchecked we then rely on the state. But by then it is already too late.

      The type/level of disciplinary measures used should also vary based on who is administering it.

    • Exactly schools supplement/complement system, not replace. But clearly the level of indiscipline we are seeing in our schools shows a failing in the home if the schools hands are tied.

  115. As far as I am aware children still get beaten at school and at home.

  116. “There is no law in T&T protecting children from corporal punishment at home or at school. Though former president George Maxwell Richards initially assented to the Children Act—which prohibits the beating of children—on August 6, 2012, it has never been proclaimed. The Office of the President, in a brief telephone interview Friday, charted the sequence of events that took the assented act out of the President’s Office before it could be proclaimed into law.

    “After it was assented to, it went back to Parliament and I understand that the Child Protection Task Force had been set up and recommended that proclamation wait until the Children’s Authority was fully functioning,” the Office of the President said. “That is as far as it has reached,” the office said. “The act has not come back to the President’s office for proclamation.” That task force was set up by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in December 2013.”

  117. What were the overarching type of media being sold to the markets to consume? Was there a balance or was it an imbalance of ego driven self satisfying instant gratification!

  118. I think I might make this into a broader discussion to put on the website too…

  119. Lasana Liburd i was waiting for someone to ask this question….. what we are seeing is that generation of no corporal punishment reaching adulthood and the culture promulgated to another….with that said monsters are breeding monsters

  120. A question like this can only be answered if data is being collected and studied. Right now we have anecdotal data on violent children. Also are we to assume that the removal of corporal punishment in school by itself is supposed to make children less violent?

  121. Bear in mind, that decision would have been taken against the social backdrop at the time. A time when there was still some respect for authority, albeit we were already heading downhill. Look at the social climate now. And btw, even if corporal punishment was banned in schools, that did not mean children were not being disciplined at home. Now, the parents have to ask the children permission to live, it seems!

  122. Surely that jump in murders happened too soon to be linked to the end in corporal punishment anyway right Peter Joseph?

  123. Ayyyyyyyyyyyyy where are the psycologists?

  124. is there any government body or NGO that would study the longditudinal effects of our social and educational policies?

    • We have to strive to be a data driven society.

    • That would have had ro start back then. Can’t retroactively study a phenomenon like that.

    • I don’t know. Maybe there might be ways of gathering info. But we have to know what the hell we are looking for though.
      Perhaps reports of violent incidents in school with students attacking students or students attacking teachers might be a starting point.
      It should have decreased each year I would think.

    • cant even begin to ask for that crouch. here is the thing:
      in trinidad, as far as I have seen, in several ministries, some paperwork called a policy is written. and I phrase it like that because really, people really dont know how to write policy here. what they call policy are ideas. concepts, there is no map, feedback, measurement, action, framework of operation,… all the things that validate a policy many are missing. that is the one thing. the documenting of a legitimate policy

      the second thing is, what is implemented is what? a policy ? Or what the minister or some director, or the principal in their school or the teacher who feel to do it or not, or not even be present…

      who maps and monitors and documents that.
      So see the first disjuncture

      our talk of policy here is a farce.
      we can look far and wide at examples. central bank monetary. what is on paper, versus on what the governor says, verse what the bank cartel does. versus what one bank will do when their big pappy walks in to buy, travel or sell the bag of money he is carrying or the safe he sending..

      thanks Jeremy Francis. and one thing you dont do. is wake up one day and decide you want to go back and do a retroactive longitudinal study vikey vy(what is the way to spell that properly?)

    • Lasana, there would be no way to cross reference with current reports, unless the parameters are similar/the same.
      Which would mean that the parameters would have had to be set back then.
      It would have been easy to set up, had someone thought of it.

    • That’s true Jeremy Francis. We could get info but the comparison would be flawed to some degree.
      Makes it damn hard to see whether we are making the progress we should be making and if we are progressing at all.
      If we don’t know the answer to those then it is hard for us to push further down that road.
      Although I personally believe there remains a moral ground not to hit a child, even if there is no local data to support whether or not it is better for them in the long run.

    • The corporal punishment we had was basically child abuse. I remember getting hit in school so hard that I could not sit for a while. That can’t be right.
      The real issue I think is that teachers had no tools to use instead… it was repealed and not replaced with anything. And the vacuum created the madness we have now.

  125. Now I’d assume one possible response is that children still see plenty violence at home.
    That’s very likely. So maybe there should be more stringent enforcement there too.
    But should there be some way of evaluating how the ban on corporal punishment is affecting school life, even before you target households?

  126. We are not seeing any positive benefits, in fact we are seeing more defiant behavior from young people and the majority of criminals are within the age group who were not punished for their wrong doings

    • Sorry. Went away. Now seeing. Corporal punishment in school was ONE element in the cycle of violence young people experience. But the experience of violence and images of violence are part of their daily lives. As usual, we implemented ONE part of what should have been. Multi-pronged approach – doing away with corporal punishment- and expected that would be the answer. And sinc it was never, and could never have been, the whole answer,….

    • Right. Makes sense. What other experiences of violence should we target? (If I can press you here. Lol)

    • So many! Children experience violence at home. I know families where the young parents don’t believe in beating (I’m not talking spanking eh!) and the older generation put endless pressure on them and will hit children themselves if they get a chance; sometimes the parents themselves believe in sharing licks. Then – we just have to watch TV or FB, Lasana. Images of violence, both real and in shows, surround us. And then there is the emotional violence and mental abuse that children receive themselves, and see their parents receiving sometimes. We ARE a violent society. We propose violent solutions to our problems at the drop of a hat. And our children watch, listen and learn.

    • Well, it is a cycle. Because I don’t want my children to be bullied. So that means I have to tell them to “stand their ground” too as if they were in Florida!

    • Or, you could teach them non-violent ways of conflict management and resolution as well. You could live and model kind, loving, non-violent relationships at home; you could try to make time to sit and talk (casually) about the media images; you could discuss their feelings of rage when they are young, so they could know that becoming angry doesn’t make them monsters; expressing angry feelings verbally is not a sin; and you could teach them self defence with the understanding that sometimes answering physical violence is necessary for your safety, but it’s not the first, or the preferred, solution. Again – no one-off solution. They learn about life choices. I want to emphasize – part of the solution is teaching children not to repress anger (which is a natural respons) but to acknowledge and manage it

    • Is that your suggestion for if a child hits my daughter Patricia Worrell?

    • If a child hits your daughter, Lasana, I would say that the same response would be relevant as if a child hits your son. And what you would tell each child to do would depend on each child’s abilities (I would teach each child Self defence in a context where physical bullying is a reality, by the way). BUT at any point where either physical or emotional bullying is more than a child can handle on his/her own, I’d say the adult has to step in and take action immediately. Report it. To the teacher. To the principal; to the school supervisor. But again – not first to go and offer physical violence to the bullying child/children. Your child must see you modeling the non-violence you preach; your child must also be confident that you will protect him or her, and put his/her well being first. And you need to be closely enough aware of what is happening to your child to make it clear to all concerned that you are very present in your child’s life always, and that you expect that other adults will be prepared to deal with situations where your child risks being hurt. ASAP!

    • I said daughter because I don’t have a son Patricia Worrell. Sadly, the teacher cannot always keep an eye on them and my daughter is the youngest in her class and the smallest.
      I won’t be modelling her after Gandhi. The instruction is hit hard and sprint to the nearest teacher. And I will take it from there. Sorry.
      This is always in self defence of course. A boy in her class was expelled from the school in second year. Can you imagine how miserable you have to be to expelled from a GOVT school?! Lol.
      I’d wish she never had to learn about standing up to bullies and she is very reluctant to have a physical confrontation. She certainly doesn’t know about hitting from home.
      But I won’t have her be bullied if I can help it.
      Having said that, it isn’t an issue for her at the moment. And that class seems to be breathing easier after that expulsion.

    • I understand your concern. I understand your intuitive response. I didn’t tell you do a Gandhi, by the way. Read it again. I said teach her physical and emotional defence strategies. But I think, you know, that you should be allowing her to learn basic self defence so she doesn’t have to live in terror in a context of violence. I’ll be honest – I believe that only if we consciously choose non-violent responses as far as possible will we hope to see our society shift away from violence. But I am also realistic enough to say we can no longer put our heads in the sand and assume violence may touch our boy children, but not our girls. As you know, my own family learned only too well how violence can be visited on girls. I’m repeating: boys AND girls need to learn the basics of self defence; boys AND girls need to learn the basics of conflict management; boys AND girls need to develop their emotional intelligence so they can deal with their own feelings. And it has to start from early.

    • Yeah. I actually teach sarcasm as a first line of defence to verbal bullies. 🙂

    • It’s tough times. We kinda blank that bit out of our own childhoods for the most part. The fighting. There was loads of it. Nobody should want that for their children.

    • I love sarcasm – but I find it takes a certain level of intelligence for people to get sarcasm. And an amazing number of physical bullies aren’t too bright! ?

    • Hahaha. Usually their friends get it though. Confusing them is good. They will put a front to save face. But they will eventually keep away if you do it just right I think. Lol.
      Funny enough, I still use it on attorneys when I get pre-action protocol letters. I publish their letter with my sarcastic response. And it has saved me thousands in legal fees! Hahaha