Our society rears its offspring on the infliction of corporal punishment

Stabroek News
July 13, 2001

Dear Editor,

Recently, there was conducted in the pages of your publication a debate which sought to focus upon the merits and desirability of maintaining the infliction of corporal punishment upon students by teachers in school.

What has become evident, reviewing the contents of the many contributions which were made, is the fact that most of those who argued in favour of the termination of this practice did not seem to be aware, or perhaps were not prepared to admit that ours is a society which eats, sleeps and rears its offspring upon the infliction of corporal punishment.

Husbands generally accept as being an inalienable right of theirs to assault and physically brutalise their wives and children, the extent varying only in degree and intensity, without regard to race, class, religion.

Parents, for the most part, feel compelled to honour the hoary mandate, to spare not the rod(s) and spoil the child(ren).

The police can see no merit in or purpose to be achieved by projecting anything but an image of potent force, a willingness to resort to violence at the slightest provocation and without the least compunction.

The overwhelming majority of our children consider any environment intended to mould and control behavioural patterns which does not contain at least a potent possibility of the infliction of corporal punishment for infringement of its rules a fertile millieu for indulgence in the creation of mayhem.

This philosophy is consistent with the processes of socialisation to which they have been exposed, in their homes, those of relatives and even in their Sunday schools at times.

What then ought to be the ultimate recourse in schools, schools in which classes are massively overcrowded, schools in which most of the teachers are new to their profession, untrained in the discipline and had been denied lengthy apprenticeships because of the prevailing dearth of trained and experienced teachers in the system?

Schools which, for the most part, cannot rely upon the inclusive society to lend them real support for the creation and maintenance of non-corporal disciplinary mechanism?

Finding a functional alternative to whipping in schools presents a herculean task, primarily because of this society's patent addiction to the concept that the higher instincts can be more rapidly and favourably stimulated in persons who are subjected to brutalities, expressive of our baser natures.

But, such a search is made even more daunting by the fact that the children are brought up to expect it. Anything else is just - soft.

Yours faithfully,

Clarence R Evans