punishment in Jamaican schools

by Rachel
(land o lakes, florida)


In Jamaican schools today can children still be hit by their teachers without the teacher facing major retribution?

ANSWER: by Wellesley, September 28 2010

Hi Rachel,

This one is a bit grey.

It seems that the Education Act does not prohibit such actions, at least not yet, but the ministry of education have made it clear that the government does not condone such behaviour.

Listen to this:

"Jamaica's Education Act is silent on the matter of corporal punishment in schools, officials say, but the Education Ministry has set guidelines on how the physical disciplining of students can be done. For instance, children 12 and over should not be caned.

However, the Child Care and Protection Act (2004) prohibits corporal punishment in institutions and the Early Childhood Act (2005) outlaws its use in early childhood institutions."
(Gleaner Article August 18, 2006)

That said, a 2006 Jamaica Gleaner - Bill Johnson Poll showed however that the majority of Jamaican support caning in schools!

They found that "most Jamaicans believe that corporal punishment, although illegal in some cases and definitely frowned on by the authorities, should be allowed in schools, to punish children deemed to have behaved badly".

But, in a 2009 Jamaica Gleaner article, the education minister, Andrew Holness, vowed to enact legislation that would prevent same by this soon.

We'll see how that goes.

Stay in touch.

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Comments for punishment in Jamaican schools

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Nov 28, 2012
The Imported Caner NEW
by: John Blenkiron

Getting the occasional six strokes on the backside with the tamarind cane for clowning in class or cursing in the school yard was all part of my educational experience at Manchester School in the 1950's. The headmaster was elderly and didn't use great force with the cane.

One year a new teacher from England joined the staff. He was also our Physical Training teacher and had spent time in the army. He was appointed school caner and even brought his own rubber cane from England.

I stopped cursing and began paying attention in class from that point on.Corporal punishment was a deterrent that I never regretted.

Jul 11, 2012
Pro-punishment in schools NEW
by: Anonymous

Beat them till them cant move!

Jul 11, 2012
Memories of daily Fear and Terror NEW
by: Winston Patterson

I am a 43 year old father of 3, now living in the USA. I grew up in St. Catherine. In 1979 when I was 10 years old I entered Grade 5 at a primary school just outside of Spanish Town. My class teacher was Ms. Cynthia Lawson.On one Wednesday afternoon during the last week of September Ms. Lawson assigned some homework to us. The following Thursday she ordered everyone to turn in in their homework. Those of us, including myself, who did not do it were told to form a line to be punished, and I got six licks of the strap on my hands.
In December of 1979 Ms. Lawson started brandishing a bamboo cane.. I did get several licks of the cane for various reasons.
Over the Christmas holidays of 1979 I became an over-eater. In the mornings I would eat two loaves of hardo bread with ackee & saltfish, a bowl of porridge and a hot beverage. For lunch I'd have eight patties, two cakes and a large Kelly's soda. For afternoon snack I'd have one whole HTB bun with cheese and more soda, and I'd eat a huge dinner every evening.
I certainly needed the extra nourishment for the common entrance exam which I sat at the end of January 1980.
By March of 1980 I was extremely obese with thick fleshy arms and a gigantic, big belly.
My mother bought me bigger pants and shirts, but the shirts could not cover my belly! In the mornings I'd button the top of my khaki shirts and leave my belly exposed.
One day in April of 1980 Ms. Lawson set some Maths problems for us to do in class. This cute girl named Charlene and I decided to cheat by using a textbook with the answers. Soon Ms. Lawson caught us and called us up. She then explained our infraction to the rest of the class. Then she reached for the cane. First she gave me six whacks across my back and told me to turn around. Then she whacked me in my belly eight times with the cane.
Another day I was caught talking in class and got six strokes in the belly and four on the hands. The pain was excruciating. I tried as hard as I could from then on to avoid any further whacking.
That was to no avail however, as on one day I made some errors in a composition which I had written. As I stood at Ms. Lawson's desk, the cane struck me six times on my belly leaving a small cut by my navel. Soon I had many black cane-scars "adorning" my belly. My mother had to rub skin crème on them to get them out.
In late June the common entrance results came out, and I was thrilled to have passed for a prominent high school in St. Andrew.
Seven years later I entered University and in 1995 I received my PhD in Pharmacology.
My mother insists that Ms. Lawson had something to do with my success, citing the fact that most of the former students of her class are now successful lawyers, doctors, teachers etc. today.
However, I still associate Ms. Lawson with the most physically painful period of my life.

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