By Ann-Marie Ballantyne

There is a continual deterioration of personality traits in both young and old, which evidently leads to an increase in criminality. Any call for the removal of just and proper punishment does not help at all. Yet there are some “progressives” in society who think they know more and better than the Most High. They seem to think that they are more humane than Him and that His disciplinary method is outdated and wicked.

One local newspaper editor described the use of corporal punishment at home and school as “unwarranted, counterproductive … and a gateway to the violence that plagues society”. The editor calls for an end to corporal punishment, which is given by God and has corrected many who are now very disciplined and civil citizens.

Sadly, while the editor thinks that this God-instituted form of discipline is “archaic and barbarous”, the Bible says “the rod and reproof give wisdom…withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 29:15; 23:13) Who do you believe, the editor or God? The editor’s claims are wrong and speculative. God’s position is right, sound and always helpful.

It is important to note and consider the Most High’ position as outlined in the given Bible texts. The rod is not be used haphazardly or in an arbitrary manner to gratify the passions of the adult. Corporal punishment used with reproof is to deter deviant behaviour and make the child become wise in his conduct.

In line with the instruction of the Wise One, 19th century inspired religious writer, Ellen G. White counsels a mother “whipping may be necessary when other resorts fail … if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to it senses should in love be administered”. She wisely shows that “frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime…” She also warns against striking “a passionate blow” and cautions the quick-tempered.

Today, the genuine advocates of corporal punishment do not recommend it for every infraction. The loving parent and conscientious teacher would use all means necessary to guide the child into happiness and civility, teaching him to have sacred regard for the rights and freedoms of his fellowmen. The caring educator would seek to encourage good traits in the child and to discourage evil. All this is done for the good of the child, although the opponents of corporal punishment would seek to make society think otherwise and would seek to influence policy accordingly with their unfounded speculations.

At a time when students are becoming more and more rebellious towards authority and the school environment is becoming more hostile, why would anyone call for the removal of a good form of discipline that helps to restrain many from committing gross evils against their fellow students? When one listens to arguments against corporal punishment, the impression is given that teachers mercilessly and passionately beat and abuse children and have intention to harm them.

However, the Education Act clearly outlines the conditions under which the discipline should be administered — “…a principal may direct that corporal punishment be administered as a last resort…Corporal punishment may be administered by the principal, deputy principal or a teacher specifically designated by a principal for the purpose… in the principal’s office or other private room in the school in the presence of another teacher”. (Section 52) We see therefore, that it is a form of discipline to be used as a last resort under specified conditions, with the aim of deterring deviant behaviour.

Some children may refuse to benefit from the aforementioned type of discipline by choosing to continue in their rebellion and hardheartedness. Most times, if they do not make a drastic turnaround, their doom is sure. Some of them end up in jail or the grave. However, failure to comply with good discipline does not mean that the measure is the problem.

Repeated offenders continue to be a menace to society and are often in and out of prison. Should the judges and the correctional facilities be blamed? Should penalties be abolished then? The just penalty for criminal activity is not the problem. The problem is the crime committed by the criminal. Corporal punishment in the schools is not the problem. The undisciplined, deviant and stiff-necked child is the problem. When they get “licks”, it a consequence of their deviance. Leave corporal punishment in our schools.

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The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

20 replies on “Leave corporal punishment in schools!”

  1. It is ridiculous to think if you do not “beat” rebellious children in school that they will turn out to become criminals. I rather think the problem in SVG is that there is too much beating! SVG teaches that beatings and violence is “the way to go”. If we think that administering beatings is the best way to go, how has it worked so far? Since it is standard procedure for the police to beat people in custody, do we have a low rate of crime? Are we the most educated people in the world, or even the Caribbean?
    I am 60 years old and grew up in the US where it is not allowed to “beat” children in school. Some police in the US beat people just like the SVG Police do. When I was in law enforcement we were taught that beating perpetrators was a sign of weakness, frustration and cowardice, and it is! That is probably the same in schools, between teacher and pupil. Maybe instead teachers should be taught other means to discipline and motivate children or maybe even to understand why they are the way they are. Maybe they should be taught some of the research of Erik Erickson, one of the great child psychologists ever.
    What does it teach a child how to behave properly when adults and teachers imprint into them that “beating” people into compliance is the way it is done.
    Isn’t there too many incidences in SVG where men beat wives and other people in SVG? Shouldn’t we use our brains instead of our fists, cutlasses or hammers?
    Maybe we should start to introduce good behavior in SVG instead of reinforcing bad behavior.

    1. Vincy in New York says:

      Duke, I am in total agreement with you.

      The author shows the lack of innovation and critical thinking in schools and other institutions in svg.

      There is an increase in the murder rate and many would like us to believe that lack of beating is the culprit. Laughable.

    2. Runako Francis says:

      Well put. There are many practices in the Bible that are considered inhumane today, corporal punishment is one such. There should be a complete ban on corporal punishment in school as well as home.

    3. Please explain how well the policy is working out for the United States where today there is more violence and shootings IN SCHOOLS by STUDENTS than at any other point in history.

      1. Phillip, per capita the USA is far less-violent than SVG. It is also forbidden to beat children in Germany and before all the refugees flooded into Germany many towns the size of Kingstown would go over 10 years without a murder. With the practice of administering anti-depressants in the USA Violence and murder has increased but that has nothing to do with teaching physical violence. The US Government is also a different story. They believe “might is right” and use sanctions and violence to force the world to into compliance.

        If you ever observe Muslim schooling at a Madressa, they use a ruler and administer a very light swat when children are not paying attention or similar, but no beatings. Just because Muslims or Russians do it is no reason to say it is bad. Most of SVG are anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Russian, anti, anti, anti… maybe that is why we as a society seem to have a “learning disability”. At least that is one of the good things about the Prime Minister. In many things (not all) he does not follow misinformation Unfortunately he often falls into “political correctness” on issues (especially in an election year) and does things for popular reasons even if they are bad for the country.
        Doesn’t it also say in the Bible something to the effect that Violence begets more violence? The Bible has some great wisdom but obviously there are things, especially in the Old Testament, that are terrible and hateful. Instead we should listen to Jesus who was sent to us to correct all the wrongs.

    4. Duke I agree with some of your points merely at the conclusion …….have you heard the saying ” tough love ” ……..”spear the rod spoil the child”……….that said I do believe there are limitations and better ways to administer this type of punishment and more so believes this type of punishment is a personal and private decision that should be made and only done at home with ones child.
      As a whole , society needs to show more love , care and compassion towards our youths especially in these times where there are so many single parent homes and broken families.fatherless homes teenage pregnancies
      ……..THIS IS MORE SO TO BLAME THAN ANYTHING ELSE FOR THE BREAKDOWN IN SOCIETY AND MORALS

      1. You are probably right AL. See Candice Owens on Youtube as to why African Americans in the USA are behind. Candice is one of the people I admire most!

  2. Megan Andrews says:

    Well said Mrs. Ballantyne.The society is becoming worse everyday,When the big countries sneeze,we catch the cold.First they took prayers out of the schools,then they took corporal punishment out. Look at what is happening students are fighting teachers,they are shooting their school mates .Parents are scared when their children leave their homes.Everytime their phones ring they wonder if there is another shooting or stabbing.Haven’t you noticed that since the teacher in St Vincent was charged in court for administering corporal punishment on a child in school,that the students behavioral attitudes changed for the worse? God cannot be wrong. The wisest man who ever lived said that:Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15.Stake holders, please leave corporal punishment on in schools as a last resort. I also strongly suggest that scripture also be taught as well.St .Vincent is a beautiful and blessed country, but within recent times,the amount of bloodshed that we have breaks my heart.Take a good look, the penalties the once were used to deter criminals are no longer enforced so young people are becoming heartless..Let us save our children, our teachers and homes. I say corporal as a last resort in our schools.

  3. Thank you Mrs Ballantyne for sharing this because it is the position I hold also. God cannot be wrong. But what irritates and confuses me is the hypocrisy of some who like to say we are a Christian society but only are interested in following God half way. To them, the United Nations and other agencies/organizations have stronger principles than God’s – the Bible and the Holy Spirit.
    Who can, in their right minds, use the US as an example of why corporal punishment should be taken from school’s? As Megan Andrews mentioned, look at what is happening in their schools.
    As a firm believer in God, whose principles as stated in the Bible have held true through all my years, corporal punishment should remain in schools. I agree with the writer that it’s not usually administered arbitrarily, haphazardly, passionately and abusively. In those situations where it might have appeared that such was done, were incorrect. One case I know of, the child was light skinned, so obviously marks will show up easily. If such children are spanked at home the same will happen. Let’s not allow economics and popularity and the need for being liked cloud our vision to what is right and meaningful.

  4. Beating behavioral change into children won’t work. Rather, set an example for the child to follow. You will find that love, caring and nurture works better than anger and ignorance. Create environments where children van develop into responsible adults. I wonder what goes through a teacher’s mind when he/she goes to physically beat someone else’s kid? I can’t imagine. I would call the parent. No one should beat their ideals into an innocent child. You are only making a angry child. I wonder how happy SVG’s children are. The entire culture of child abuse(pedophilia, beating children, etc.) in SVG must change. But as usual, none (who can probably do something about it) has a clue as to how. They too busy filling their taxes and working out how they going to feed the family for the rest of the month. Even police officers are going around bulling little girls. These things use to happen maybe once or twice in twenty years now it has become the new normal. Life for most SVG inhabitants is hard. Just look at the people’s faces, read the news, look at the infrastructure of the capital and the upkeep, you will probably come to the same conclusion. Lord knows that my heart is laden to see my people suffering so much at every turn.

  5. I have no problem with disciplining children even using corporal punishment. What I have a problem with is, the teachers who behave like bullies and tyrants and then they are allowed to beat people’s children. Also this form of punishment as Mrs Ballantyne stated should be administered by the principal, deputy principal or designated teacher, preferably senior. However that is not the case . Any teacher beats children I the classroom with everyone watching. You also said the child is the problem, not the punishment . Not all the time Mrs Ballantyne.

  6. We have gotten so bright and educated that we think we know more that God. When we buy an automobile and the manufacturer says this is a gasoline engine we don’t say diesel is cheaper let’s use diesel, if we do it might work for a while but later problems show up. When the man who made us guide us as to how we can maintain body and soul we think we brighter than him so we do what we want then later society suffers

    1. The problem is that I have never seen any evidence of who actually wrote the bible that everyone here is using as a reference to justify beating children. To think the bible has NO human influence is being very naive. Can anyone on earth prove that God wrote the bible and then insure that no human influence occured in translating and writing it from original language? Even though Jesus told us to “beware of the teachings of the pharisees” (the old testament) most prefer to ignore whatever Jesus has said, instead follow teachings Jesus told us to be careful of and nevertheless call themselves Christian.

  7. Why don’t you donkeys go and beat you all children. Imagine being abused at home and get to school to be abused.
    Imagine being a mother and you’re battle personal problems and at times you don’t have the patience to deal with your kids.
    Now being an under paid teacher, financial stress, relationships stress, and dealing with an over sized class, The children will be at risk, because you’re stressed.
    These old folks needs to step aside with they bullshit.

  8. The children today are not afraid of anybody. They know their parents and teachers cannot discipline them. Discipline is part of the education system. No one turns up late for work because he/she will be fired. No one drives drunk because he/she can be killed or kill somebody. No one refuses to do homework because he/she will never pass an exam.
    It is also difficult for teachers to handle children from an undisciplined home where children abuse and kick their parents. Many men who abuse and kill women today are undisciplined. I don’t see many people calling and showing much interest in such situations in SVG these days.
    Why is anybody going into people’s home and tell them how to bring-up their children. You can’t go into folks bedrooms and tell them how, when, where and why the can and should have sex. The situations are practically like the “same tin of condense milk”.

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