Our Readers' Opinions
July 8, 2005
Abolishing corporal punishment in schools

Editor: Discussions continue on the coming into existence of the new Education Bill/Act.

Different areas of the Bill have been examined and criticized by various individuals and organizations including teachers, the SVGTU and other members of the general public. It is true that a number of aspects of the Bill should be reconsidered, modified or removed (e.g. the sections dealing with maternity, study and sick leave). {{more}}

However, of primary interest and major concern to this writer is the section of the Act which relates to discipline of students- Corporal Punishment.

Division 5 section 53(2b, 4, and 6 respectively) state:

Corporal punishment shall only be administered in the principal’s office or other private room in the school.

A person other than one mentioned in subsection (2) (a) who administers corporal punishment to a pupil on school premises commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2,000.

A person other than a female who administers corporal punishment to a girl commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars.

On examination of the above sections of the Bill, one can sensibly deduce that: it is propagating that students be privately punished for offences that they may publicly commit (e.g. in the classroom or at general assembly). The Bill makes it difficult for right-thinking concerned parents/guardians to discipline their own children on the school premises, which may be the most fitting measure to take at that time, in accordance with the offence, and thirdly, the Bill seems to be gender-biased.

If one is to follow the ‘reasoning’ of those responsible for the bill, it could imply that when someone commits a criminal offence, the public should not be aware of or witness the punishment (e.g. a capital punishment) since it may cause the murderer to be embarrassed or humiliated!

Policy-makers seem to be taking away the right given to parents by God- a right to discipline children, which sometimes includes the use of the physical rod.

Additionally, these policy makers seem ignorant to the fact and principle, that the right given to use the rod of correction is not limited to females. Could you imagine if this biased ideology is to be transferred to the home environment? It would mean than fathers are not allowed to administer corporal punishment on their daughters. This is non-sense.

For the hard core United Nations policy advocators and so called ‘child rights’ proponents, it is necessary that a differentiation be made between child abuse and corporal punishment. Child abuse is defined as intentional acts that result in physical or emotional HARM to children.

Child abuse is also sometimes called child maltreatment which includes sexual abuse, physical neglect, and physical abuse-acts of violence that injure or even kill a child. On the other hand, corporal punishment is a form of discipline or correction with the aim of deterring, and providing justice and satisfaction to the victim/s that may be involved. May it be known that this writer does not, in any way, support the former (child abuse)

It was stated that the bill should be viewed as student-friendly and geared towards their protection and development. It is also seen as being in accordance with the UN Rights of the Child etc. For all who believe that using the rod is not in line with the promotion of Child Rights , it would be wise to consider the counsels of Solomon known as the wisest man ever lived. I would rather take his advice.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the ROD of correction shall drive it far from him. (Prov.22:15)

A whip for the horse…and a ROD for the fool’s back (Prov. 26:3)

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou BEASTEST him with the ROD, he shall not die. Thou shall BEAT him with the ROD, and deliver his soul from hell. (Prov. 23:13, 14)

The ROD and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Prov.29:15)

He that spareth his ROD hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Prov.13:24)

For persons who reason unscientifically and unbiblically that beating or corporal punishment does not help the unruly child, where is the evidence to support your claim? Is it the fact that students still misbehave? So…there are penal institutions, yet crime rates continue to climb, does this mean that the jail should be shut down? Clearly, this sort of ‘reasoning’ is warped.

Woe to God, those in authority would begin to perceive the results of their action in formulating such a Bill. Teaching is being made a less attractive profession and this is understandable. After all, who would want to endanger his life with stubborn and uncontrollable children who have all the ‘rights?’ So tell me, are we moving towards removing corporal punishment in schools as in countries like Canada, Sweden, Italy…where corporal punishment in schools are declared unconstitutional and unlawful?

May the good God open our eyes to see that Corporal Punishment, properly and justly administered, is biblical and therefore lawful. As a nation which acknowledges the sovereignty of God-Creator, it behoves us to consider his counsels in regards to appropriately dealing with disobedient children.

Ann-Marie John