Letters & Opinion

Alternatives to Corporal Punishment

Image of a child

THE withdrawal of corporal punishment from all schools has precipitated intense discussions both for and against and one can understand the arguments put forward but at the end of the day, we must all decide which decision holds the edge. St. Lucia must keep abreast with the ongoing standards around us and one example to hand is the question of execution. There are individuals at home who consider an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth while others argue to the contrary.

First world countries which face greater challenges than St. Lucia decided to eliminate capital and corporal punishment for years to the extent that if St. Lucia endeavours to execute anyone there will be a price to be paid by some form of international penalty. Brute force is not the way forward as there are other methods which can be implemented e.g. community service, suspension and expulsion. Suspension and community services are the first choices as it permits the students some time to reflect on their misdeeds but more importantly, the parent or guardian can decide the kind of punishment required. Speaking for myself, I distinctly recall my time at the Convent and St. Mary’s College respectively. At age seven years I was beaten on the hands with a twig from a lime tree to ensure that the thorns stayed in my hands. At age 11 at St. Mary’s College, I was terrified of Brother Lawrence who demanded certain forms of learning literature and below a certain grade, one received a detention and three detentions in one week qualified the student for a caning which meant six strokes on your bottom on Friday evenings. At the end of four years, the fear took its toll on both my confidence and academic achievement. My career after leaving school blossomed into a highly competitive individual having recaptured my confidence.

There are certainly no magic formulas in life but corporal punishment at schools in today’s age is somewhat archaic and needs to be revisited as teachers are human beings and have the ability of executing their misgivings in various ways which does not necessary bring about the best results. We accept the fact that students today are far more difficult to handle hence the onus needs to be on the parents when one to one discussions can be implemented. Failing to succeed the parent needs to find outside assistance.– Marcus William

1 Comment

  1. Regardless of what is decided, we NEED better discipline in our schools as these kids are growing up without any respect for their peers or adults… Discipline is a requirement in our society otherwise you will continue to have unruly persons – in turn, more criminal mentality and activity.

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