Corpun file 20325
The Nassau Guardian, 27 June 2008
Turnquest supports corporal punishment
Says he did not know teachers still "beat students"
By Jasmin Bonimy
Guardian Staff Reporter
Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest expressed his
support for corporal punishment yesterday morning.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony for troubled teens who completed two months of training in a behavioral program, sponsored by Partners Against Crime, Minister Turnquest said he backed corporal punishment.
"I listened to the principal of L.W. Young talk about sitting on the block with his cane. I didn't know we could still beat students," said Turnquest. "But perhaps we need some tough discipline in our schools, homes and in our communities.
"I want to say that while it may not be for the principal to discipline with the belt, I encourage parents not to spare the rod and spoil the child," he added, attracting applause from the audience of prison officials, students, and educators.
The national security minister's comments came after a public school principal openly expressed that he advocates corporal punishment.
L.W. Young Junior High School principal Telford Mulling admitted that he practices corporal punishment at the public school.
"Like the officers from the prison here, after school I would sit on the block from Kingsway, or sometime I would go up the road by Kentucky with a cane in my hand," said Mulling. "If I don't have a cane in my hand I will take off my belt. I am an advocate for discipline."
An Education official told The Guardian yesterday that the government department has a written policy that corporal punishment is reserved for the headmaster, and the senior masters or mistress.
According to the Education Act, teachers are not allowed to physically punish students.
Over the past decade the issue of corporal punishment has stirred a wave of controversy.
In 2000, the heated debate peaked after a coroner's jury of six women and one man voted six to one to recommend that a teacher, Rosalyn Astwood, be charged with manslaughter in the death of student, Shawn Evans, who had a heart problem, and whom she had given six strokes with a stick in the palm of his hand.
As a teacher, Astwood did not have the authority to impose capital punishment on the former S.C. McPherson Junior High.
At the time, the verdict left the country divided with one side calling for corporal punishment to be abolished in classrooms while others were outraged over the verdict.
Teachers across the country refused to enter classrooms. As a result, government schools in the capital were shut down for three days.
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