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Corporal punishment not a means to an end

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Fri, Oct 15, 2010

Editor: Kindly allow me a space in your newspaper to comment on the article: “Ministry of Education reacts to Student’s passing, Dark Day”. This was printed in the Weekend edition of the Searchlight Newspaper, Friday, October 8, 2010.{{more}}

The Message from the Minister of Education Hon. Girlyn Miguel sought to express condolences to the headteacher, staff, students, family and friends on the passing of Aldon Richards, who attended the Belmont Government School. She also highlighted what her Ministry did to lend support to the school in this regard and appealed to teachers to assist students who are grieving. Finally, she implored all parents, guardians and caregivers to spend more time listening to their children, while encouraging children to talk about their concerns.

It is my honest opinion that this message was a ‘Shallow echo of words put together’. It did little to touch the hearts of those who were mostly affected, the boy’s parents and other family members. Mrs Miguel’s message never even mentioned that teachers must also listen to children. Teachers, too, must also provide an environment in which children feel safe, secure and respected. The Bible states: don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth. Maybe this child felt looked down upon especially upon failing his Common Entrance Exams. It also seems that he is from a dysfunctional family setting and was paying for this. To make matters worse, it seems he was not even being afforded the respect of being listened to by his teacher.

As the Midweek Searchlight Newspaper, Tuesday, October 5, 2010, indicated, the child’s peers were telling lies on him, which resulted in the teacher confronting him and putting him out of class. The child also stated that he was fed up with the teacher; he said that everything was licks.

My analysis is that there are some very dysfunctional teachers in our school system, hence the reason why corporal punishment should be abolished from the school system. I believe this teacher should be counseled extensively.

The Ministry of Education’s rule is that only headteachers should administer corporal punishment, or a teacher designated by the head. Yet, if you take a walk throughout any of the primary schools, any number of teachers administer corporal punishment on a daily basis. Most times the

headteachers do not know this. You see, teachers expect students to obey rules and listen to them. Yet they are disobeying orders not to administer corporal punishment without the head’s knowledge and consent. It seems as if they are a law unto their own selves.

Mrs. Miguel, in any society, there would be children coming from dysfunctional families; we are a fallen race (human beings). Unfortunate as it is, society just cannot condemn people. Let’s try to protect these susceptible children from some teachers beating the life out of them. Beating would not help the situation in most cases. Love and understanding will help.

Furthermore, the Bible gave fathers the mandate to administer corporal punishment, not teachers. Refer to Proverbs 23:13. Let’s try other avenues of punishment to children before over time our youths take out their frustrations in a negative way.

Very Concerned Parent

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