KINGSTON – President of the Jamaica Teachers Association, Clayton Hall, believes flogging should be retained in schools as a form of punishment in specific circumstances.
Choosing his words carefully, Hall told the Rotary Club of Mandeville on Tuesday night that 18 years as an educator had taught him that corporal punishment was a useful disciplinary tool.
“I am not indicating that all children should be flogged and I am also not saying that flogging must be the solution to all the problems we have. I am merely indicating that flogging or corporal punishment is for me a great deterrent to unwanted behaviour,” he said.
Hall told the Jamaica Observer following his speech at the Golf View Hotel that in his view “no child over 15” should be flogged and the punishment should not be carried out by the class teacher or anyone “emotionally involved in the situation”.
Also, he said it should not be carried out immediately but only after a “process” to determine the appropriate measure and also to explain to the student the reasons for the punishment.
In a question-and-answer session at the tail end of his presentation, Hall — who is principal of Spanish Town High in St Catherine — confirmed that he was voicing his personal views on corporal punishment.
He also made it clear that the Ministry of Education has a clear policy against flogging although the law still allows it in schools. He said the JTA has instructed its members to refrain from flogging children in order to avoid the possibility of legal action against them.
“Corporal punishment is still on our books in that (although) the child care and protection act outlawed corporal punishment in children’s homes and places of safety, it is still legal in schools,” said Hall.
He noted, however, that “there is illegality and then there is policy. The ministry’s policy is to ban corporal punishment, so the association has instructed its members not to perform corporal punishment because whenever it is done we recognise that whoever is the administrator … could find him or herself on his own, without … legal backing”.
While the Ministry of Education has turned its face against corporal punishment and the JTA has instructed teachers to desist from flogging, anecdotal evidence reaching the Observer suggests the practice remains in some schools. (OBSERVER)