Flogging should be last resort - CIOG
Guyana Chronicle
December 14, 2006

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THE Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) says the Islamic viewpoint on flogging in schools is balanced in that it allows disciplining children out of necessity with strict rules imposed by Islam that do not allow any abuse of authority by parents or teachers, and whipping must be a last resort.

However, the organisation is advocating that “prevention is better than cure” and is emphasising that the correct examples should be set by both parents and teachers.

In a statement on the issue which the organisation notes is controversial, it declared: “The child is a trust in the hands of his/her parents and his/her innocent heart is a precious element capable of easily forming impressions. Parents must recognise their role as the first teachers of their children and fulfil this role thus easing the task of teachers at schools.”

The CIOG also feels that parents and teachers must be educated in alternative methods of disciplining other than beating, such as denying the child certain privileges.

“Parents who instil love and develop strong attachment with their children very early are rewarded with disciplined children. These children will avoid doing things that would disappoint or jeopardise this relationship. Instructors must recognise that teaching is a great responsibility. The teacher must be tender to his pupils and treat them as if they are his own children,” the CIOG urged.

It cautioned that at all times using the whip should be the final resort and when this extreme occasion arises it has to be carried out within the limits of Islamic law.

The first rule, it said, is never to punish a child in the state of anger or emotion as in this state, the intellect becomes clouded and proper reasoning is impossible.

“Think over the gravity of the situation, the extent of mischief and misbehaviour, and then consider a suitable form of discipline,” the CIOG exhorted.

The type of whip used should not cause injury, inflict wounds, fracture bones, cause internal disorders or bruises because if this happens even by a single stroke, such a person will be guilty of oppression, the CIOG said. It added that sensitive areas should be avoided such as the face and hands and it should also be borne in mind that repeated punishment is extremely undesirable as the effect is lost.

For children to become disciplined and decent, parents and teachers among others must exemplify this discipline and decency and allow them to keep decent company, the CIOG urged.

It concluded that prayer is the most effective weapon that could be employed to discipline a child, as it has worked miracles for many frustrated parents and teachers.

“In Islam, the whip at home or school, hanging on the wall is a warning sign,” the organisation declared.

A motion was tabled in the National Assembly by Ms. Chantalle Smith of the Alliance For Change (AFC), calling for the abolishment of corporal punishment in schools, but the political parties last week agreed to defer debate on the matter for a period not exceeding six months to facilitate greater consultations and discussions.