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Corporal punishment is barbaric! – Tom Olsen

Corporal punishment is barbaric! – Tom Olsen


Corporal punishment is always abusive no matter the circumstances under which it is administered. And a parent or teacher who resorts to it for any reason is barbaric, having exhausted all civilized mode of reasoning and influence and hence admits defeat.

This is the straight forward, unapologetic view of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Barbados and Eastern Caribbean representative Tom Olsen.{{more}}

In a frank interview with SEARCHLIGHT Olsen said that there is no place in a society for corporal punishment.

“It is undignified” Olsen said.

Olsen conceded that as part of the push for the strengthening of family and moral values in the schools that many would try to bundle corporal punishment into the bag of good values and strategies. He however noted that not all the values of yesteryear were good and should be restored or preserved.

He strongly believes that the bible is used conveniently by persons who want to cover for their inadequacies in raising their children; twisting the famous “spare the rod” scripture verses to suit themselves. To this president of the local Evangelical Association John Lewis says there is no twisting because corporal punishment is a solid biblical tool in the discipline of children. Lewis contends that the problem with corporal punishment is that it has been misused and has often disintegrated into abuse. “What we need is balance we can’t correct one problem by going to the other extreme.” Lewis stated.

“If we are not careful children will be ruling their parents and our value systems will continually be eroded.” Lewis warned. An unnecessary warning it is though, according to Ministry of Education social worker Earl “ole George” Daniel who shares Olsen’s point of view. Daniel is of the view that teachers have the responsibility to create a safe, encouraging environment for learning and corporal punishment can’t be part of that environment.

“Ole George”, fresh from his possible Guinness book of records walking feat (see page 8) said that he is concerned that teachers may not be taking time to realize that in the short time they are with their children that they are dealing with a host of social and emotional defects, hence he cannot fathom how physically hurting a child could bring about any good. Daniel who is attached to the Kingstown Multi Purpose Centre told SEARCHLIGHT that he has seen great change in his students, who many referred to as “rough around the edges” by trying to understand who they are and what contributed to their way of life and thinking.

Daniel also believes that Corporal punishment has no place in the home “parents who hit their children do it in anger and if they were not angry they would not beat their children” So while Evangelical Association’s John Lewis said that his organization will oppose any attempt to outlaw corporal punishment altogether, Daniel and UNICEF’s Olsen will welcome such a measure with open arms and even suggest that we are moons behind time.