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School CP - December 2014

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Daily Nation, Saint Michael, 9 December 2014, p.13

Place for the strap, says doc

By Heather-Lynn Evanson

Press cutting

A PSYCHOLOGIST has thrown his support behind corporal punishment in schools.

But, said Reverend Dr Marcus Lashley, there should be certain conditions if and when it was going to be used.

He was part of a three-member panel at a Mothers' Union of Barbados-sponsored discussion on domestic violence and its effects on children at George Lamming Primary School last Saturday evening.

"I have not been convinced we should not have corporal punishment in schools especially where there is an education component attached to it," Lashley told the audience, which was made up of teachers and members of the Mothers' Union.

But, he added, acts like teachers rapping students on the knuckles or flogging them for misspelling words were inappropriate and "did not help the learning process, and fear is the ultimate result of that".

Not abuse

The psychologist added that corporal punishment should never be the first and only option.

Admitting he was probably one of the few such professionals who still supported flogging children, especially if there was an educational component involved, he however stressed he did not support any form of child abuse.

"I do not support flogging a child without explanation. I do not support flogging a child in anger and if you put those together, those are conditions for abuse," he stressed, saying that when a child was flogged, it should know that was a consequence which came after an action.

Lashley dismissed as a myth the notion that children should not be beaten because it would teach them to resort to violence.

"Utter and complete nonsense! Corporal punishment in schools does not mean the child will grow up to think the one with power will use physical means," he said.

Another panellist, Anthony Coward, senior teacher at George Lamming Primary, acknowledged he was a recipient of corporal punishment "when it was most violent", but said his school recognised there was still a place for it in the classroom.

"I have seen parents cursing little children in the worst possible way, hitting them with almost anything. Now juxtapose that at school with teachers using the soft approach. You can understand that there will be hardly any result," Coward said.

However, he said corporal punishment was used after there had been several infractions and as a last resort. It was also administered only by the principal or senior teacher.

"We're hoping, as time goes by, to eradicate completely the use of any sort or any form of corporal punishment," he added.

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