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RULER   :  Archive   :  2015   :  BB Schools Jan 2015


School CP - January 2015

Corpun file 25881 at

Saturday Sun, Bridgetown, 17 January 2015

Lash them!

Senator Durant for using the rod


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If that is what it takes to keep children in line, one of Barbados' leading clerics says there is nothing wrong with the "rod of correction" though he is against brutalising youngsters.

Senator Dr David Durant, whose position runs counter to the growing global trend against any form of corporal punishment, told the Senate yesterday that Barbadians should not be pushed into "dismantling key systems of control" that had worked for the country for so many years.

He was contributing to debate in the Upper House on the Prison Amendment Bill.

Durant, an influential Pentecostal preacher, said that corporal punishment should not be used as a first option but as a last resort. However, he stressed: "I believe it should still be encouraged and it is this same principle that should be applied in home and in the schools. We should not be in a hurry or be in a mad rush to dismantle key systems of control that have held this society together for more than 300 years."

Durant told the Senate that he believed most of the senators in the chamber got "a licking" when they were young and it made them "better".

"It helped to keep me in line," he pointed out.

Durant also said he felt that corporal punishment should remain an option to the administrators of the Dodds Prison. However, one of the amendments to the legislation was removal of the use of corporal punishment by prison officials on inmates.

Corpun file 25878 at

Daily Nation, Bridgetown, 26 January 2015, p.1

Wild youth

Teachers told to be on guard in the classroom

By Yvette Best

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VIOLENCE IN SOME SCHOOLS, or involving students, has escalated to the level where some liken a day at school to working in a "war zone".

Just three weeks have passed since the second term started and four major incidents have been recorded, with at least two of them requiring police involvement.

And with the hospitalisation of a 15-year-old boy in an after-school incident last Friday and an injury to a deputy principal in a separate act of violence involving students from a northern school, the two teachers' unions are advising members to keep their guard up.

The union heads said their members had a serious dilemma before them as teachers who have a duty of care to their charges.

But that notwithstanding, the situations have reportedly become so violent, that both the Barbados Secondary Teachers' Union (BSTU) and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) are firm about how their members should respond when faced with threatening situations, which can expose them to injury.

"Protect oneself first before looking to part fights . . . ," BUT president Pedro Shepherd advised. "We would advise our members who are principals to enforce discipline within the schools, because that is a function of the principal."

Think twice

"They will have to think twice and assess the situation before parting a fight," said BSTU head Mary Redman.

Shepherd said the BUT was aware of situations where fights would have been orchestrated and ended with the teacher(s) who intervened either sustaining injury or coming under attack.

Redman said she was particularly wary of teachers intervening in situations because unlike in some other jurisdictions, teachers here were not trained in self-defence.

Among the reasons advanced for the level of violence being exhibited were a breakdown of the home/school partnership, foreign influence from music videos and movies, a divide between principals and teachers on the mode of discipline, and the inability of parents to discipline children as young as three and four when they are just starting school.

Both Redman and Shepherd agreed on the one thing that has proven to be effective when it comes to the discipline of children -- corporal punishment.

"I make no apologies to anybody for it. I've always said that corporal punishment works. And as a society we know it works. Its regulated and judicious use has always worked for us," she argued.

Redman said teachers in both the primary and secondary schools were complaining that students were "totally" out of control.

"They come into secondary school [and are not] intimidated like first formers used to be. They have no regard for teachers [and] they have little respect for administration," she stated.

Shepherd is fully in support of corporal punishment as well, and feels it needs to be administered at some level.

"I believe that corporal punishment should be administered up to third form in secondary school. . . I firmly believe that you should bend the tree when it is young and it will grow the way you want it to grow. If you allow the tree to just grow wild, it means then you have to prune it when it gets old. Train the children when they're young and in the primary [school]," Shepherd said.

The two most recent incidents follow the alleged beating of a year head by a student, and the assault and battery of a relief teacher by a second form student last term. The child in the latter incident has since been expelled.

Two videos of fights between girls at two schools and another of a tenuous stand-off with a female student wielding a hammer have been circulating in recent weeks, and Minister of Education Ronald Jones spoke to two of them at the launch of a mentorship programme for children in secondary schools a few days ago.

He said he had never "encountered so much anger" coming from youths and queried the reasons behind the aggressive and violent behaviours.

Jones also had some lashes for the people who record the various incidents and then post them on social media websites. He described them as "insidious" and said those who record become participants in the violence by virtue of that act.

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