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School CP - March 2008

Corpun file 20048


Trinidad & Tobago Express, Port of Spain, 1 March 2008

Bring back licks, says ex-principal

By Richard Charan
South Bureau

A retired college principal and school supervisor is calling for the return of corporal punishment as the last gasp means to return discipline to schools, where both principals and teachers have lost the respect of pupils.

Clifton De Coteau, who is now a councillor in the Princes Town Regional Corporation, says if teachers do not want to put a licking on troublesome pupils, the children should be sent to the police station for appropriate punishment.

De Coteau said he expected his comments to be deemed controversial, but said he felt that extreme measures needed to be taken in the education system.

He chaired a police town meeting at St Julien Village, in the Princes Town North constituency on Thursday night. His suggestions brought applause from a standing room-only crowd, who came to hear what the police could do to improve security in their area.

De Coteau, who was principal of St Stephen's College, Princes Town, spoke out about the growing indiscipline in schools, including the stabbing death of pupil Shaquille Roberts at the Success/Laventille Composite school earlier this week.

De Coteau said: "I feel strongly that principals and teachers have lost their authority. I feel suspension is not enough. I know there are support systems, but are they working?"

He said many of his colleagues in education, in a bid to give their schools a good name, had swept under the carpet problems that were coming back to hurt them.

De Coteau said the cadet force should be in all schools.

"I still honestly believe that the best channel to the brain is through the derriere. Strokes, and if they can't do it send them to the police station."

He said pupils should be taken to tour prisons, where inmates could shout "fresh meat" and offenders be sent to jail when taken before a magistrate.

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