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Serious consequences coming for teachers who beat – Terrelonge

Published:Monday | April 22, 2019 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Starting September, teachers who administer corporal punishment in local schools will face serious consequences, says Alando Terrelonge, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

“I do not wish to receive any report come September that there are children who are being beaten and abused in schools because we will treat with it very seriously,” said Terrelonge, who was speaking at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency’s (CPFSA) field services conference for social workers at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay yesterday.

“Corporal punishment is not the solution for a society that is already steeped in violence; corporal punishment must end,” he said.

The state minister said that although the Ministry of Education has instructed schools not to beat students, the practice has continued.

“We have indicated, as well, that we do not wish for our children to receive corporal punishment in schools, and yet still, there are some teachers and some administrators who are beating our children at schools. I am asking every single one of you to stop,” said Terrelonge.

The state minister went on to explain that, based on reports from the CPFSA, violence against children is at an alarming level and includes violence being committed by children against other children.

“How do we help them, how do we save them?” asked Terrelonge. “I don’t believe that telling a 14- or 15-year-old child that ‘you are an evil person’ and beating them is the answer,” the state minister said.

“The answer has to be counselling, discipline – but discipline with a view to correct, discipline with a view to guide, discipline with a view to change a mindset,” argued Terrelonge. “We want to ensure that our children are disciplined but that their very human rights are also respected.”

He continued: “Discipline that punishes and demoralises and dehumanises children is not the kind of discipline that will help them in the future. That is the kind of discipline that will serve to harden them and make them harder to deal with, and that is why it is important that we address corporal punishment.”