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Vengeance and corporal punishment not the same - Hall

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Hall

Western Bureau:

Former president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Clayton Hall, has added his voice to calls for the maintenance of corporal punishment in schools, arguing that based on his childhood experiences, it serves as a deterrent to undesired behaviour.

Hall, who was addressing a retirement function for two teachers of the Cacoon Primary and Infant School in Lucea, Hanover, on Friday, also sought to make the distinction between vengeance beatings, child abuse, and punishment for improper behaviour.

"There are some things I must say this evening that some persons may not agree with ... . I am a proponent of corporal punishment, without question. If a student misbehaves, disrespects a teacher and the teacher takes a stick and hits that student, that is not corporal punishment, that is vengeance, and I want you to be clear on that," said Hall, who is now regional manager of the JTA's western chapter.

"Corporal punishment is a prescribed method of punishment. And how it operates is that the person emotionally involved is not the administrator of corporal punishment. If you are a parent and your child makes you upset and you hit that child, that is not corporal punishment. That is vengeance; because it is out of anger you are reacting to that child," he said.

Suspensions not the solution

Hall said suspensions and expulsions were not the solution, as youngsters are at a developmental stage where they need to be properly guided, as they naturally may not be able to fully understand the importance of attending school, until later on in life when they are mentally mature.

Hall referred to his adolescent years as a student at Titchfield High School in Portland where students who made the principal's corporal punishment list exhibited the most exemplary behaviour from the day their names were published leading up to punishment day.

"The threat of corporal punishment is a greater deterrent to unwanted behaviour than the flogging itself. And it is in that context I say that corporal punishment should never be abolished. Let us look at what is happening in the United States - we take everything from the US ... . The US has outlawed corporal punishment, but their prison population has quadrupled in the last 10 years. So we can always abolish corporal punishment, but we must be aware that if we do that, we must be prepared to put in more prisons," he said.

claudia.gardner@gleanerjm.com