Thu | Dec 12, 2019

'Keep corporal punishment' - Student urges State not to prohibit practice

Published:Monday | November 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Deandra Edwards, student at The Cedar Grove Academy, speaking at the National Child Month Committee ‘Children Need Our Love and Protection’ Youth Forum, AFFIRM ME, held at the St Andrew Parish Church Hall on Friday.

Eighteen-year-old Deandra Edwards is making a passionate plea for the Government to think carefully of the repercussions of completely prohibiting corporal punishment, pointing out that it will only lead to further indiscipline and chaos in Jamaica.

The Cedar Grove Academy student, who used the Bible as the premise for her reasoning, pointed to other jurisdictions where the practice is not allowed, which she says has caused a lack of respect among young people.

"We oftentimes want to copy what is happening overseas, but look at what is happening in America right now. Children can speak to their parents any way, sometimes they even get physical, and I don't think that's what we want to happen in Jamaica. I don't want corporal punishment to be taken out completely because I fear that we will become like America," she declared to rousing applause from other students who attended the National Child Month Committee 'Children Need Our Love and Protection' Youth Forum, AFFIRM ME, held at the St Andrew Parish Church Hall on Friday.

However, Kaysia Kerr, head of the National Parenting Support Commission, asserted that the scripture often used to support corporal punishment has been taken out of context.




"The Bible does say do not spare the rod and spoil the child, but I think one of the things we have not thought about seriously is what this rod is and what the rod was meant to do," she said.

"Those of you who have ever seen Bible illustrations would have seen most times that the depiction of a rod is through a shepherd, and the shepherd used the rod to guide the sheep. If the shepherd used the rod to beat the sheep, the sheep would have been devalued and they wouldn't get any money for the sheep."

Kerr added: "There is another component in the Bible that says 'Train up a child in the way he should go ... .' Training is not only telling, it is also modelling and showing what ought to be done. The rod was never meant to hit any sheep and hit anybody. The rod is a guide."