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School CP - November 2015

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The Daily Observer, Antigua, 30 November 2015

Antonio: Corporal punishment not ruled out of National Discipline Policy

By Theresa Gordon


One of the major contributors to the draft National Discipline Policy said that corporal punishment has not been ruled out of the document which is currently going through a series of consultations.

The document seeks to promote discipline strategies in schools and aid in developing the academic and social behaviours of students.

Education Officer and Focal Point for the Child Friendly School (CFS) Desiree Antonio said corporal punishment is included as a consequence in the document; however it should be the last resort.

"We are thinking that will be the last resort because we have been exposing our teachers, principals to alternative forms of discipline that are more proactive and that will promote introspection, corrective behaviours and our students," Antonio said.

During the first round of consultation on the proposed document, a week ago, school authorities raised objections that the matter of corporal punishment was omitted from the draft policy, while it is included in the Education Act of 2008.

Corporal punishment is touted by many as the most effective method of curbing undesirable behaviour in deviant children, and for ensuring that they do not repeat an unacceptable action.

The Education Act states "corporal punishment may be administered where no other punishment is considered suitable or effective, and only by the principal, deputy principal or any teacher appointed by the principal for that purpose, in a manner which is in conformity with the guidelines issued in writing by the Director of Education".

The educational official said there has been a reduction in the use of the strap within schools as administrators are adopting other forms of punishment.

"It is not saying get rid of corporal punishment, but what other strategies are there outside of the strap that we can use to help our students, that these behaviours are unacceptable and how can they correct them," Antonio explained.

© 2014 The Daily Observer Ltd.

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