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School CP - January 2016

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Sunday Sun, Barbados, 3 January 2016

Corporal punishment to reduce indiscipline

By Barry Alleyne

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IN A culture where suspensions don't work and detentions are laughed at by some students, corporal punishment should remain in schools in Barbados.

That's the feeling of president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU), Mary Redman.

But along with the BSTU's membership supporting the flogging of students by principals or senior teachers, Redman sees many other problem facing schools due to a lack of discipline.

"In Barbados, we have children who are brave enough to curse teachers to their faces. We have children who regularly threaten teachers with violence," the outspoken BSTU chief noted.

Redman said that more than ever before, police stations have been inundated with reports made by teachers who fear for their safety. "Some teachers have been forced to report cases of them being assaulted by students, or being threatened with assault," she said in a recent interview.

Redman said the use of corporal punishment as a deterrent could definitely lead to a decline in such unruly behaviour by schoolchildren.

She said many people were not understanding there was a vast difference between corporal punishment and child abuse, between properly regulated and judiciously administered corporal punishment and abuse. People are not recognizing that, or choose not to. People talk about the society being more violent now as a result of corporal punishment but the irony is that the society is now more violent in times of reduced corporal punishment and no alternatives for instilling proper discipline."

Redman said the BSTU's membership felt strongly about the issue. "Corporal punishment should remain on the statute books: she stressed. "To simply remove it and not have anything viable and practical to replace it with would make no sense.

"It should always be there as a deterrent only."

Redman, who has been teaching for more than three decades, said children have recognised how to [sic] strong discipline, and it was getting out of hand.

"We have a situation now where children flout school rules openly. They show little regard or respect for teachers, and even for principals regarding the administration of discipline. They even show little regard for authority in society, even for the police," Redman said.

According to her, the Ministry of Education and parents also had a very important part to play in the general administration of discipline across the system.

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