Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Looking back, looking forward | PM says no to corporal punishment

Published:Sunday | December 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Prime Minister has declared once more that he is against corporal punishment in schools and in homes and has made a commitment to bring legislation to Parliament to make it unlawful. This is a step in the right direction. We simply cannot, on one hand, be against societal violence but fight to the death to be violent towards our children. It is counterproductive and counter-intuitive. We are either against violence, or we are not. We should be even more concerned that children are exposed to high levels of violence and do everything in our power to limit this exposure.

Similarly, there are many parents who beat their children at home but draw the line at a teacher hitting them. What is the distinction being drawn here? Are we seriously fighting over who should have the 'right' to physically harm children?

The sooner we can show children, instead of paying lip service to the fact that we do not have to resort to violence to resolve conflict, the sooner we will be able to order a society in which vulnerable members are not at the mercy of those who have more power.

We have decidedly agreed that it is unacceptable to use violence against all other people, except children. If it is not okay to beat our husbands and our wives, our neighbours, and our friends, then it is not okay to beat children. Perhaps our first step is to come to the realisation that children are people.

- Jamaicans For Justice