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School CP - March 2006
Jamaica Gleaner, Kingston, 8 March 2006
Charlie Smith 'buries' corporal punishment
Schools commemorate Peace Day
By Petrina Francis
Dennis Kelly, principal of Charlie Smith High School in St. Andrew, buries a strap in a makeshift coffin, while students look on. The burial of the strap represented an ending of corporal punishment at the school, during Peace Day celebrations yesterday. - RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
THERE WAS no body, no tears and no solemn How Great Thou Art, but Charlie Smith High School celebrated, yes, celebrated the 'funeral' of its system of corporal punishment yesterday.
At the ceremony, which was dubbed the 'Burial of Violence', school principal Dennis Kelly placed a strap in a makeshift coffin, as students cheered with excitement at the highlight of the institution's Peace Day celebrations.
"There is a philosophy that corporal punishment perpetuates violence and children tend to retaliate violently when they are beaten," Mr. Kelly told The Gleaner.
He noted that the burial of the strap is a beginning of the end of violence in the society.
"Violence will not oppress us any longer. Fear will be replaced with fun," Mr. Kelly told the school community.
And the students could not have been happier.
"Mi feel good sey him do it (buried the strap)," said student, Shane Gordon.
But Mr. Kelly told The Gleaner that the burial of the strap does not mean that the school will remove corporal punishment completely, noting that it will be used as a last resort.
After the principal placed the strap in the coffin, it was then placed in a 'hearse', followed by a procession. Students and teachers marched throughout Trench Town, which has been plagued by violence for a number of years.
The coffin was later brought back to the school where it was buried in the Peace Garden. Students from Trench Town Primary and High schools also joined in on the burial ceremony.
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