13 June, 2010


 Corporal punishment in school:  I find it regrettable that concern for very deserving human rights has now gone so far as to make it dangerous for the principals of our High Schools in the West Indies to order canings of delinquent students.  A caning from time to time of the worst offenders in school has always had a very salutary effect on maintaining discipline.  A couple of raps across the knuckles, or a belting across the bottom is just as salutary.  I do not know about you, but I never suffered any harm to my body or soul from all the canings I got as a school child.  So far as I can remember, I got six strokes from the pesi cane on my backside most Monday mornings for five years for refusing to play boring sports on weekends.  The caning is meant less to modify behaviour than to teach a lesson.  The caning did not make me want to play sports.  It was not intended to convert me to be a sports lover.  What I learned from my regular weekly canings was that there are consequences for breaking the rules.  The caning merely said that if you disobey a direct order from the Sports Master, there are going to be painful consequences.  If a child puts his hand in the fire on the stove he gets burned and never does it again.  A valuable lesson for life is learned.  Caning is a cheap, effective and instantaneous form of teaching.  Today it is banned, and there is no effective suitable alternative available in school. 
Nowadays, school children are taught, by the absence of pain and suffering for wrongdoing, that there are no consequences for breaking the rules.  The result is chaos in schools and in society.  We have to have police security at all our school gates to confiscate the knives and guns, and we have to send students to the hospital suffering from wounds and injuries.  The child psychologists who have corrupted our education system in this way have a great deal to answer for.  It is due to their teaching that so many of our students can hardly read and write and have no self-discipline. 
I do not consider a caning in school of a delinquent schoolboy to be in breach of the child's human rights.  Nor do I believe such a caning to be inhuman treatment.  There are many worse things that happen to school children that they survive and move on from.  This includes sexual abuse and drunken maltreatment by their fathers, uncles and brothers.  Such home conditions affect a significant percentage of our school children, yet no one does anything about it.  The perpetrators continue to attend church every Sunday and are accepted as prominent and distinguished members of our society.
I include, as an equally unacceptable form of child abuse, the fact that most of our Primary School children in Anguilla arrive in the High School unable to read or write. 
This aversion to a healthy, harmless and effective form of corporal punishment is the most degenerate of the modern norms of European culture that we are being told we must emulate, or be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.


  1. "Speak roughly to your little boy,
    And beat him when he sneezes:
    He only does it to annoy,
    Because he knows it teases..." -- Lewis Carroll, 'Alice in Wonderland'


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