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School CP - June 2014

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Virgin Islands News Online, 12 June 2014

Removing CP from schools a bad idea - Bishop John I. Cline

Bishop John I. Cline does not believe that removing corporal punishment from schools in the Virgin Islands is a good idea. Photo: VINO/File

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI -- Bishop John I. Cline of New Life Baptist Church believes the amendment Government plans to make with regard to the removal of corporal punishment from schools is a risky one which will not make the Territory better off.

Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn is expected to bring to the House of Assembly tomorrow June 13, 2014 a motion seeking to have the Bill which seeks to amend the Education Act passed.

It is expected that this Bill is taken through its second and third readings on the sitting tomorrow -- the Seventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly. This amendment is expected to remove paragraphs that speak about corporal punishment in the principal act.

Speaking to Virgin Islands News Online today, Bishop Cline said he had "mixed feelings" on the matter.

"I have mixed feelings on it. In the days of old when corporal punishment was [not only allowed but expected], I think we raised a generation that was more responsible and more respectful when they knew that there was a consequence to their ill behaviour," said Bishop Cline.

Click to enlarge

"I think holding a child responsible for their behaviour, even to the point where they are corrected with a spanking, is still valid," he said.

"The other side to it is of course, I understand the Minister wants to be in line with international laws, especially being a part of the UK and all of that, and today because we are raising children and parents are not open to you correcting their child with a spanking, it becomes very risky for educators to now take that upon themselves when they know there is a possibility of not having the backing of the parents," he said.

"In the days when it was allowed and expected, we had no recourse in terms of going home and complaining to our parents and expecting to find any justice there," he recalled.

"Because you were in their control for the great part of your day ... the teacher became the parent and the educator. [The child's] parent would back the teacher on whatever the teacher deemed the best course of action for correction," said Bishop Cline.

He said that the situation puts the education department and the educator at risk of lawsuits "because of the world that we live in."

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