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School CP - January 2007

Corpun file 18732

Jamaica Gleaner, 15 January 2007

Guyana: Row over corporal punishment


The biblical injunction not to spare the rod and spoil the child has found its way at the centre of a controversy in Guyana.

A member of the minority Alliance For Change (AFC) has moved a motion in the House calling for corporal punishment in schools to be banned, but opponents of that position have not spared the rod in beating down the idea.

AFC legislator, Chantelle Smith, argued that corporal punishment is a violation of Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Guyana ratified since 1991.

Smith is also pushing for the Education Ministry to recommend abolition of beating in schools under the new Education Act, now under national consideration.

Holding firm

In its initial response, the Education Ministry said it is standing firm to retain corporal punishment in schools under its jurisdiction.

Head of the Guyana Human Rights Association, Mike McCormack, is on record as fully supportive of the initiatives to outlaw corporal punishment, describing the rod "as a symbol of power, not authority".


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