Youths, Violence and Values in TnT

‘Chickens come home to roost’

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
March 12, 2008

PeopleThe recent stabbing death of teenager Shaquille Roberts at the Success Laventille Composite School speaks volumes as to the overt breakdown and rapid, exponential decline and failure of all aspects of young life here in TnT.

The fact of the matter is that the 18th-19th century inherited/ imposed/ accepted Euro-centric British education system has not only totally failed the youths in TnT but, most viciously, it has also successfully imbued in them a sense of worthlessness, nothingness and unpreparedness.

Truth Be Told: The current Euro-centric education system does not equip young people with the vital tools, foundation, direction and security to survive and/or make-it in this “dog-eat-dog” way of life in TnT, 24-7-365.

Today’s youths do not “go to school and learn well.” Instead, after years in public schools, the “3Rs”, namely, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic” are alien to them. After years in public schools, these youths can neither read, write, nor think properly–but they can sure as hell beat a Tenor Pan exceedingly well.

After years in public schools, these youths are just allowed to pass through the System and thus, at the end of their putative matriculation, they find themselves as a superbly nothing group. They find themselves shamefully unemployable, unacceptable and unsuitable vis-à-vis the rest of society. They see themselves as miss-fits in society. They now find themselves engulfed in a total failure syndrome with no viable way/avenue to turn. They begin to hate the education system that did this to them. In their limited reasoning capability/capacity, revenge then automatically becomes the order of the day.

The sad reality is that today’s public school is no longer a safe, healthy/humane sanctuary in which young people congregate in order to co-operate on knowledge-based issues. There is no serious academic/educational intercourse between youths. They now engage in a different genre of cellular intercourse in the nation’s public schools–for a very cheap price.

Today’s school is no longer a place where youths bring well-respected and well-held values from well-knit family-home environments. Such domestic/familial values as respect for all adults and those in authority, discipline, personal and communal responsibility and the ultimate value of human life are not innate assets that youths carry in their school bag. Today, youths carry other items therein.

Today’s school environment is replete with the mind-set of competition, negativity, and self-destructive, dead-end behavior. In addition, the obdurate mind-set of “instant gratification” now seems to be the driving-force, albeit the magnetic force, behind the modus vivendi, of today’s youths.

Ergo, in their socially-neglected and abandoned way of thinking, youths no longer see their father (if he is not in prison) and/or teacher as a role model to emulate. On the contrary, they see Tupac Shakur (who was born in prison) and “50 Cent” as their “brethren” role models to emulate.

Indeed, the scary part is that today’s youths have deduced, rightly or wrongly, that in their current failed socio-economic status, “get rich or die trying” a la 50 Cent’s life philosophy is a viably, acceptable option to emulate. And what is even scarier is that these youths violently act out this option, 24-7-365.

These youths have further deduced, rightly or wrongly, that their failure and/or despair in the education system has forced them to voluntarily embrace Tupac and “50 Cent” as their reliable comfort zone for survival in this society.

As a direct consequence, their personal, inner emptiness propels them not only to pursue vanity at its zenith but also to ossify their propensity for material things such as gold chains, fancy designer clothes and shoes, top-of-the-line cars, etc., rather than the acquisition of information and knowledge about themselves and their history.

Crass materialism and non-existence of the human factor/element/being are the overt mantra/trade mark of today’s youths. “This is madness; total madness” to the extreme.

The “instant gratification” mind-set has propelled today’s youths to gravitate, consciously or unconsciously, towards their community drug dealer/lord as their role model to emulate. And since the Euro-centric education system did not instill any modicum of reasoning powers in them, then, the magnetic force of the drug leader/lord seems a reasonable option.

Today’s youths have also deduced, rightly or wrongly, that since society via the education system failed them, then, ipso facto, society and by extension the System, owes them. And if society and/or the System do not respond to their bottom-less pit and peripheral position, then, they will take and get whatever they want there from, by any and all means necessary. If this means killing another “youth man”, then, so be it, period. Youths have declared “war” on society. Is society listening?

The fact of the matter is that the abolition of corporal punishment in the nation’s public schools, by accident or unforeseen design, has sowed the seeds of the current germinated/blossomed reckless, inhumane, violent and anti-life behavior of today’s youths in TnT. As a result, these young people have absolutely no respect for authority, themselves, people their own age, adults, etc.

And since no one can “cut dey tail”, today’s youths are operating like loose cannons in society. This abolition gives them a false sense of invincibility.

And this scary scenario is further compounded by their perceived expendable, “have-nots” status in society, the breakdown of family values and the violence these dislocated, impressionable youths internalize and act out via BET-TV. BET-TV has now emerged as the baby-sitter of these youths. This exposure accounts for their misplaced ‘aggressiveness’ and physical attire/appearance a la African-American criminals.

The fact of the matter is that these youths are solidly attracted to this criminal, anti-social lifestyle.

These youths have deduced, rightly or wrongly, that this criminal, anti-social behavior fills the void that the Euro-centric education system has dug deep into their very soul. These youths are in dire internal pain. Is society listening?

Today’s youths, therefore, see violence as their only way out. It is their only perceived option to become equal with society that has robbed them of their share of the wealth that is floating around. They want piece of the action, now. They refuse to wait for tomorrow because they may not be alive to enjoy it.

The sad tragedy is that neither government nor society, at large, seems to be listening to the hidden cry of today’s youths. Half-baked measures such as the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) and the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) are the problem; they are not part of the solution. Truth Be Told: These make-shift programmes not only perpetuate, foster and cement gang warfare and criminal activity in their “bowels” but most destructively, they also posit the cycle of neo-colonial dependency syndrome among the youths. Sadly, this dependency syndrome serves as another complimentary comfort zone for them.

In the final analysis, three immediate public policy actions are suggested: (1) the relegation of the current outward-looking Euro-centric education system to the ash heap of TnT’s colonial history and its replacement with an inward-looking, real, historical holistic education system, (2) the re-introduction of corporal punishment in public schools and (3) the deletion of BET-TV from the nation’s television line-up.

The fact of the matter is that subliminal indoctrination of our youths per this medium has got to go now.

Now is the time to stop this country’s societal bleeding precipitated by the Americanization of life, values and human interaction in TnT, 24-7-365.

Fellow Trinbagonians: Wake up and smell the coffee–the “missing generation” has finally found us today.

In other words, as a result of the abolition of corporal punishment in the nation’s public schools, “the chickens (have) come home to roost.” A reality check reveals quite equivocally that there is undeniably a direct correlation between these two variables.

In this regard, now is the most critical juncture in terms of life and death in TnT for responsible public policy makers to stop being in denial of this stark reality. History will not absolve them.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

15 thoughts on “Youths, Violence and Values in TnT”

  1. Dr. Kwame Nantambu I disagree with this article.

    It is true that TnT has inherited the British model of Education, but in my opinion I believe that TnT has adapted it to suit our own needs and MANY citizens have benefitted from it. You state that these schools have failed the country; but I beg to differ. There are endless opportunites for a secondary education, and there is HYPE, YTEPP and the CCC, and many take advantage of it. The ‘prestige schools’ (as they are called) in particular, have benefitted children from wide socio-economic backgrounds.

    People fail to realise that the child who aspires to these schools is not the same child who aspires to go to a junior sec. Children who pass for the prestige schools want to go somewhere in life and they know what it takes to get there; hard work, sacrifice and delayed gratification. Children from whatever social background know this. Prestige schools aspire to be leaders, athletes, musicians and artists. The opportunities at these schools are endless. I have met kids from a wide spectrum; from John John to Manzanilla, Mayaro to Glencoe and all want to excel in life!

    On the flipside, the ‘other’ schools are where the ‘other’ children (who are a minority) go and creat chaos. Dr. Nantambu, I do not want to make a generalisation but the majority of these children DO NOT want to learn, they DO NOT want to train in sport nor do they want to exercise their artisitic talent. Why is it they can wake up early in the morning to iron a spider-web pattern into their school shirt, but cannot get up just as early to study? Why is it when they enter form 4, and you ask them what they want to do in life, they dont know? Some may argue that these ‘other’ schools are not equipped to teach these children, but that is not so! The Junior Secs, and Senior Comps are more modern structures than the prestige schools and most of them are better equipped. Interestingly enough, at these schools children are taught skills like metal working, wood working, clothing and textiles and food and nutrition, courses which are not taught in the prestige schools, and whose skills are in high demand! Yet even with all these resources, some children of these schools still dont want to learn these things.

    People try to bring down today’s youth, but there are many who are going the extra mile in academics, sport, and the arts! Many are at University abroad challenging their tutors. Some are training hard to represent Trinbago at sporting events!DO NOT let the ‘wutless’ minority overshadow the achievements of today’s generation.

  2. These are the three immediate public policy actions suggested by Dr. Nantambu: (1) the relegation of the current outward-looking Euro-centric education system to the ash heap of TnT’s colonial history and its replacement with an inward-looking, real, historical holistic education system, (2) the re-introduction of corporal punishment in public schools and (3) the deletion of BET-TV.
    These are all very simplistic solutions which are surprisingly worthless, coming from such an esteemed source.
    The content of the curriculum would make absolutely no difference if the ancient methods of instruction continue. As a matter of fact, there have already been many curriculum changes over time. The students who end up in the less prestigious schools are in need of special and individualized methods of instruction. How can you expect poorly trained and untrained teachers to cater to a variety of learning styles in poor learning conditions? Many of these students have a history of failure, not because they are unintelligent but because they require specialized instruction to compensate for their learning problems. The school system is failing these students, not the “Euro-centric curriculum.”
    Secondly, to suggest the re-introduction of corporal punishment in public schools is nothing more than regressive, unreasoned thinking. There is absolutely no research anywhere to support this backward suggestion. If the objective is to reduce violence, how can anyone suggest that beating kids will improve the situation? Discipline is needed and when corporal punishment was abolished, the Ministry of Education should have introduced suggestions for dealing with undisciplined students. There are numerous alternative forms of punishment which have proven to be very successful.
    Finally, to suggest censoring television as a remedy for youth problems in society or in schools is an attempt to replace the authority of parents in the home. What children see on television is the responsibility of parents, not the state.
    The situation in Trinidad & Tobago has reached crisis proportions, as described in the article. Many parents and homes are failing to instill appropriate values in their children. This is not a new problem. Educators should look for solutions in societies and communities which are similarly affected. One successful solution in the area of the world in which I live was the introduction of a Ministry of Children and Families which closely monitored “at risk” students in the school system, in close collaboration with School Boards. Support systems are introduced to assist teachers, parents and students in an effort to overcome a variety of problems affecting the success of students.T&T is a rich country which is fortunate enough to do something about the youth problem which it is now facing.

  3. Adults tend, even with the best intention sometimes, to recommend systems that failed them, as good for others on the basis of “I got that, I turned out OK.” Dr. Nantambu’s corporal punishment recommendation falls into that category. (My extensive piece sent to all the media houses has not yet seen the light of day, but I sent Dr. Nantambu a copy at the time of issuance. He already knows how I feel about corporal punishment.) Men beat boys. I wonder how much sexual put down is involved in that. Studies have shown that there is a co-relation between the increased violence of adult supervisors towards pubescent boys, as if trying, unconsciously, to eliminate the sexual competition these young rams offer.

    Unless we are willing to take a good look at the sado-masochistic aspect of physically beating someone into submission, we are not mature enough as a society. All contact sports have this aspect to them, and contact sports appeal mostly to male egos.Is corporal punishment meant to be a corrupted contact sport?

    It is possible for a caring society to devise curriculums that challenge the thinking and problem solving skills of youth, rather than rote memory skills of dubious value. Cold storage training is of no use.

    Unless we train people to think as a way of solving problems, unless we foster team-work and hands on training, we are wasting the time of young men, whose physicallity the adults try to beat down.

    Give them the means to try to build a computer. Let then design and build modern machines, in mock up form. Do things with scrap metal other than trying to make home-made guns. If the engineering faculties of our two universities would sponssor some machine building competitions among our young people, they might find a use for measuring things, and the math that goes with it. If part of their school education required them to build a 1/4 scale model, liveable house, those two by fours would not be used as weapons.

    Our children, particularly boys,need practical solutions to accompany the theories taught in schools.
    BET-TV is not to blame. I never watch it, but I get lots of courses in killing from watching regular TV like Law and Order, and see much simulated anger and fake competitive work in Survival. Surliness reaches in Zenith in The Apprentice- created and owned by America’s self made billioniare. BET is not to blame. Because its African looking does not mean its worse than the others. Our internal racism is coming out here. The fact that many cannot envision life after school attests to the vacuity of what happens there, and the dearth of meaningful expectations. Our schools need regular career fairs, and corporations could get involved in on the job training, instead of asking for policemen to have guns all the time. This tells the youth that they too need to be armed, Negatives all the way.

  4. The point is being missed that our education system, whether Eurocentric or not, has on the whole served our country well. In spite of its weaknesses and shortcomings it has produced, over the years, hundreds of thousands of successful individuals who chose to participate in the system, whose parents and guardians chose to get involved in the education of their children, as opposed to others who elected (with the connivance of their parents and guardians as well) to merely pass through the system, a critical difference that seems to escaped Dr. Nantambu’s usually insightful analysis.
    But even so, the majority of those who have failed for one reason or another to benefit from an education system (that many others have benefitted from) have not been affected in the negative and deleterious manner described by Dr. Nantambu, another pertinent difference that seems to have flown over his head. In fact; only a small percentage of those failures degenerate into the socially evil predators that stalk the land today and I am not convinced that they are capable of the type of analysis and deduction, warped as it is, that Dr. Nantambu attributes to them, to enable them to arrive at the conclusions he has arrived at with respect to their feelings of low self worth and alienation.
    I am finding it difficult to accept that any academically focused education system, particularly ours, could produce the type of savagery that we are witnessing in Trinidad and Tobago at the hands of the Corridor criminals and their progeny. I find it difficult to accept that our education system could produce the jungle instincts with which these Laventille/Morvant gangland criminals and their progeny are evidently well endowed. Their frenzied arousal by human blood, by human misery and human suffering cannot have been caused by the mere fact that they did not do academically well in school. Boo Hoo.
    While defending the education system I am prepared to accept the argument that the removal of religious instruction, ergo morality, from education is probably the greatest causative factor to the violence we are witnessing today. When the decision was taken to remove religion from education in the 1960s, many underprivileged children for whom the only moral input in their lives was what they were exposed to at school, were literally thrown to the wolves. One can reasonably assume therefore that these children grew up with an amoral perspective on life, incapable of forming moral judgments on any issue and not recognizing the need to exercise moral and conscionable judgment in their lives. And as we all know “Goat Don’t Make Sheep” and 30 odd years later their children and grandchildren are still being denied exposure to religious and spiritual values in school.
    While the expert analyze the situation into the ground one can safely assume that whatever holistic solutions they come up with will take years to yield results and in the meantime hard headed delinquent students and their equally hard headed delinquent parents will continue to disrupt the education of our children secure in the knowledge that the consequences of their criminal actions would be minimal at worst, nil at best. The last time I checked our schools were intended to be centers of learning for the young and ambitious, for those who recognize the need for education and want to attain it, not battlegrounds for hooligans, criminals and their progeny. And this is where Dr. Nantambu’s suggestion that corporal punishment be reintroduced in schools is timely, appropriate and relevant.

    Children must not be beaten for not understanding their work, for not doing their homework or for their lack of academic performance. But, for disruptive behavior, bullying or any type of violence towards other students or teachers corporal punishment is a legitimate, necessary and useful instrument of discipline. It should not be administered however by either teachers or principals. It should be done by a specially appointed individual, a Dean of Discipline who may be a retired police officer or someone chosen from among the school’s security personnel. Bullies and thugs understand only one language, the strength of a bigger bully and thug. You cannot speak Hindi to someone who understands only Swahili, so why try.

    As a parent of a productive and promising child in school I am not too concerned about the psychological well being of the school bullies and thugs who are intent on disrupting his education and possibly doing him harm and whom the education authorities seem to want to molly coddle. Today’s school bullies and thugs are tomorrow’s criminal gangsters. There is no place in the school system for them and they should be removed either voluntarily by their parents, or forcibly by other means. Let them take their violent behaviour into the streets where the police will deal with them the way criminals are supposed to be dealt with.

    We must remember that no solution, holistic or otherwise, can erase student violence completely. The criminally inclined, like vermin, will always be among us, in the schools and in the wider society, so that the authorities must be prepared to confront their violence and nip it in the bud as soon as it rears its ugly

    We, as a society must be prepared to surgically remove, the few bad seeds among us that threaten to overrun us with their evil, in much the same way that the good surgeon would not hesitate to excise a diseased part of the body so as to save the whole.

  5. The previous writer must answer these questions about our schools:
    When we had classes called “the remove”, whose children were usually put in them? Answer: More from Belmont than Woodbrook, more from Laventille than Belmont,and more from Woodbrook than St. Clair. Now is that accidental geography or race/class distinctions?

    When there were schools like St. Crispins and Trinity Junior school, where multi-racial children got tgether, whose children were likely to be beaten? Answer: The nappy headed poorest of the lot.

    We assign “Success” to those who made it through, got jobs and became earners and spenders in the system, what has traditionally happened to the “Others”?
    If our education system was so successful, why were so many university students involved in the uprising of 1970? These were not the boys from Laventille Hills

    We have ignored, I think, the fractioning of society all along, while trouble was brewing.

    Now, for the first time perhaps, we have a predominant number of young men who are unemployed, unemployable, angry, nay pssed off, at a system that equipped them for nothing, while incompetence piled upon incompetence, and we expect to beat their younger siblings and their sons into submission? You joking!

    Talk to any Trini whose children attend school in other countries, annd see the horror stories they remember about school in Trinidad and Tobago.I know educators in Canada and the US who were schooled in TnT whose memories are a horror show.

    That grown men, allegedly with doctoral degrees could still advocate this cruel path to the subjugation of youth, is dangerously puerile, and unbecoming anyone claiming to be an educator.

    Only former slave societies beat children in schools, and the darker their skins the more licks the get. The poorer they are the more licks they get. The more frustrated the teacher, the more liks the children get.

    Licks is not an aceptable method of disciplining anyone, including our own child. All they do, is wait until they are bigger, stronger, and you are going down. Fair warning. Unlike Dr. Nantambu, my experience is in the public schools of TnT, and three states in the USA, some of which abandoned physical punishment in the eighties, becuse of its obvious racism. We are still in the dark ages on that issue, in TnT. If we could line up the advocates of licks and look at them collectively, and look at wo they want to beat, we will see what I am tlking about. Anna Maria Mora, my former student, where are you girl?

  6. The problem starts at home. Children are not disciplined because parents have no time for them or are completely absent in their lives. When an attempt is made to discipline children at school, the parents are angrier than anyone else because their child can do no wrong.

    The ministry took away a form of punishment but did not implement an effective alternative. Children know they don’t have to homework and the teachers have no way of disciplining them. They can fight and steal and do whatever and the only recourse is to suspend the child – which they obviously love because they don’t have to go to school. They can have sex and record it on cell phones and then sell it for $5 and nothing can be done. The Ministry of Education says a teacher cannot even put a disruptive student out of class because you are denying that child his/her right to education – never mind that little bastard is denying every other child in that class their rights.

    The second problem is all these unqualified teachers. Sure lots of them have degrees but how many of them can teach? Who is doing the job because they want to make a difference or because they couldn’t find work after University?

    Don’t know what source says only former slave societies beat children in school or the darker a child’s skin the more licks they get? Before people chastise Dr Nantambu, they should be aware that many experts are starting to say that the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction by stopping corporal punishment completely. They’re saying sometimes it should be used – as a last resort of course – not to make children learn their multiplication tables. Different experts will keep on arguing the point but consider, corporal punishment has been abolished in Trinidad for quite some time now….so what do we now blame for the rise in school violence? In this case it’s definitely not violence breeding violence.

    People need to take responsibility for bringing children in this world. They need to teach them the meaning of an honest days work and anything worth having is worth working for and picking up a gun is not the way to get it. I said it before and I’ll say it again (and no doubt people will get angry again) but people who can’t devote time to their children should not have children. As one writer above put it “sheep don’t make goat.” While that may not be true in some cases, the majority of people who do not devote time to their children, those children will grow up to be just like their parents.

  7. What is wrong with these people? Why are they all into beating children? It is like they have no creative way to address what they call deviant behaviour in SOME youths (deviant behaviour is not always bad).

    I am not surprised that Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA) would be in favour of beating children, as it seems to be part of some Muslim thing to beat people into compliance, but Kwame Nantambu’s comments are really not in keeping with the best traditional African values.

    After first pointing out the flaws in the education system that is partly responsible for the behaviour of youths today, he did not grasp that the solution has to start with fixing the same education system.

    Parents from the era of slavery and colonialism did not understand the danger in children not having a firm grasp of their history and indigenous values. In fact, they did not grasp the danger in their not having it. So they contributed to the system/education system being what it is today. Education today usually serves the corporate interest which is very Western and materialistic. What passes for education keeps children with the same colonial self-debasing mindset that robs them of their own creativity. They are doomed to mimic bad culture unless there is an intervention that allows them to grasp a better concept of themselves and unlock more of their own natural creativity.

    If the elders in the society set bad examples for the youths, then why should the youths respect them? Why should anyone consider beating them to respect those in authority? The examples from most of those in authority are not good. Children today, generally speaking, have to look for role models from outside of their families and the influential people in society. In so doing they will obviously make many mistakes. They would make fewer mistakes if more people work at being better examples so the youths can have better choices.

    Why beat children when they are born into a world with so many problems caused by adults? Children today are born into debt. They have to pay for all the careless decisions and wastage of adults. They have to inherit a more polluted world made so by adults.

    Why let teachers with their unaddressed racism and inability to separate their domestic troubles from what is taking place in schools beat children? That is a recipe for abuse—a continuation of what existed in the past that contributed to our present dilemma.

    The solution cannot be about beating the victims of adult neglect and excesses. The solution has to be about setting better examples and allowing children to see more of these better examples so they can have more choices. The solution would not come from the lip-service of adults who practice double standards.

    And of course, there is no quick fix.

  8. Amen Heru, Amen.
    The following slave states advocated and practised “Caning” children.The entire British Empire, its former American colony-the USA, the French Empire, The Spanish Empire, The Muslim World of the Middle East and Pakistan- which was also part of the British Empire.
    There is no record of caning or physical punishment in the narratives of the First American people, the traditional African way of child raising, the Aboriginal people of Australia; nor have I seen it in the literature of the Scandinavian countries. I have stated previously the “the Spare not the rod” of Biblical quotation was mis-interpreted. Putting a shepherd’s rod in a child’s hand early taught him the didcipline of keeping the sheep close, and being resonsible for them, and his future; spoilt children, sat around on cushions and learned to do nothing practical.

    Now our religions, Islam and Christianity, because they were imposed on one set of people by outsiders, were big on brutality. Up to today, watch video of a madrassa- Muslim School- the teachers principal instrument of teaching is a stick. I have read nothing in Hindu literature- translated into English that suggests that in that belief system, originally, beating children was favoured. Much of their teaching of discipline was through moral narratives. Now, Hinduism hads been corrupted through contact with western thought and subjugated to British Raj, so beating was widespread in India also. Someone who has read Japanese or Chinese literature in their own languages could tell me whether flogging children with sticks or belts soaked overnight, or multibranched bits of trees forms part of their accultuuration of children.

    I can thus repeat without fear of contradiction, that physically punishing children came from the British class system. The children of the poor were throwaways. People were put in the stocks for the smallest of offenses. Then, when slavery became prevalent, those brutal methods were used to subjugate entire civilizations, and the twenty or thirty purchased Africans that some ignorant white planter wanted to force to cultivate his fields in the new world and elsewhere. The first education in TnT was done by people of the slave-owning group, to former slaves, and nothing changed.

    This is what we inherited. This is what we practice.
    To believe that it is good for children is as foolish as to believe going to work for free with a yoke on your neck as if you are a buffalypso developed character in the enslaved and the indentured
    people from whom our society emerged. Believing that religious training, at the hands of the subjugators of the people is equally nonsensical.

    Watch who beat and murder their wives. The same people, for whom positive interaction has never been the only way, who beat children.
    The women accept the brutality because they were conditionedas children to be beaten by older, bigger people. It was/is a look, a word, then blows. The society has a carbuncle on its face called corporal punishment, and it needs to be incised. To prevent further infection, some antibiotics are recommended in the form of remediating behaviours, as well as a better diet of ideas and positive teaching, leading to useful work for all.

    I leave this thread with these thoughts. We sow violence. We reap violence. Amen.

  9. Children should not be flogged for not performing well in school or for minor infractions of school regulations. But for bullying, threatening or intimidating behaviour, BREAK DEY ARSE AND BREAK IT GOOD.

    And this is where we must recognize the difference between corporal punishment administered as a legitimate and justifiable consequence of one’s gross and potentially violent indiscipline, and abuse inflicted for the sole purpose of domination.

    Children must be made to understand the rationale behind their punishment, not just their cut arse but any type of punishment. The child must understand that the cut arse that he is about to experience is being administered as a consequence of specific wrongdoings and for no other reason, certainly not because Mummy/Daddy/Teacher is annoyed with him but simply because there are consequences, good and bad, to his actions and behaviour. When he is good he is rewarded, when he is bad he is punished, and if he behaves violently or hurts people or animals he will get his arse cut.. The child must be made to understand that anger has nothing to do with his punishment. And the rules must always be clearly laid out so that the child knows well in advance that if he engages in a certain type of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour, his arse will be broken.

    For MOST children corporal punishment is NOT necessary. There are other children however, who by nature, are not responsive to other forms of discipline and for whom corporal punishment does work and must be administered.

    The rationale behind corporal punishment on children is no different to other forms of punishment which the child will experience in the adult world. And if we were to accept the logic that corporal punishment serves no useful purpose then we might as well abolish all forms of punishment and all laws that prescribe punishment or penalties because no law, no punishment, no penalty serves as a deterrent, but people, including children sometimes need to be punished simply because their behavior warrants it.

    If a person whether, child or adult refuses to respect authority in an orderly civilized society founded on respect for the rule of law, he has to be forced to do so.

  10. In response to Linda Edwards.

    You wrote:

    “When we had classes called “the remove”, whose children were usually put in them? Answer: More from Belmont than Woodbrook, more from Laventille than Belmont,and more from Woodbrook than St. Clair. Now is that accidental geography or race/class distinctions?”

    LadyBird’s response:

    I am not familiar with the term “the remove”. Are you referring to detention classes?

    You wrote:

    “We assign “Success” to those who made it through, got jobs and became earners and spenders in the system, what has traditionally happened to the “Others”?”

    LadyBiord’s response:

    The majority of them are NOT bandits, kidnappers, gangsters and murderers. Many of them lead productive law abiding lives. A minority, less than 10 per cent end up social menaces.

    You wrote:

    “If our education system was so successful, why were so many university students involved in the uprising of 1970? These were not the boys from Laventille Hills”

    LadyBird’s response:

    1970? Oh Gawd! Yuh want de real trute bout 1970? A handful of idealistic but backward thinking UWI students with a half baked political agenda allowed themselves to be manipulated by an amalgamation of anti government rabblerousing trade unionists who had their own agenda. The end result was 20,000 odd idle people mashing up de country for reasons which 99 percent of them couldn’t understand and didn’t want to understand. Williams guns put paid to their bow and arrow dotishness.

    Now back to topic.

    You wrote:

    “When there were schools like St. Crispins and Trinity Junior school, where multi-racial children got tgether, whose children were likely to be beaten? Answer: The nappy headed poorest of the lot”.

    LadyBird’s response:

    Your reference to “nappy headed poorest of the lot” being beaten more than others would be relevant if those children were singled out for flogging for no reason other than the fact they were “nappy headed and poor”, which I seriously doubt was the case.

    Are you suggesting that the indiscipline and disruptive behavior of the “nappy headed and poor” should go unpunished simply because they are “nappy headed and poor”? Gimme ah break!

    Being “nappy headed and poor” does not confer entitlement to special treatment, good, bad or otherwise.

  11. Repeating something without fear of contradiction won’t make it true. Yes, licks was common among societies that practised slavery but it was just as common in societies that did not practise slavery. In ancient China, one form of punishment(considered mild) was for a child to be struck on the soles of their feet with a bamboo rod. The Aztecs had a form of punishment which included rosting a chilli and making the child inhale the fumes…doing far worse damage to their lungs than a simple spank. In Japan, it was only when Westernized education systems (The ones being blamed by writers on this blog for all the licks) arrived that corporal punishment in schools was made illegal.

    Anyway as I said, it is a topic that experts on both sides will continue to debate.

    For the Bible readers out there check Proverbs 23:13-14. I cross-referenced it with at least 10 translations and the individual word for word translation of the earliest avaiable texts with the software available at my school’s library and in every one of the translations, the words “beat” or “strike” are used.

  12. It is inarguable that there is breakdown in discipline in schools, and indeed in the general society. And I am not certain that the totality or even majority of blame can be justifiably laid at the door of the “Eurocentric Education System”. The youth of today have a great deal more access to information to supplement their cultural awareness than that which was available four or five decades ago. If the “Eurocentric Educatonal System” is totally responsible for some of them turning out the way they are, most of us who went to school back then should have been raving maniacs. Because we are not suggests that we need to examine these phenomenons in a more nuanced manner, rather than go with the notion that “the whiteman did it”. “The whiteman” did more than his share of wrongs, but its effect on us is determined by how much we cooperate with the agenda.

    There is a general breakdown in social discipline the world over, and its manifestations on the populations of so called third world nations are endemic. Back in the day the cultural emulations were drived from soap operas and affected domestic relationships at the top. Today its emulations are sitcoms, and has cut a wide swathe through the family structure, how they interact with each other, and what kind of authority and leadership exists in the unit.

    I just did not give a damn about social propriety when it comes down to how I brought up my kids. As long as they lived under my roof and I provided for them, when I said jump the expected response was “how high daddy”. I have one heart and would have gladly surrendered it to ensure the life of any of them. No one that did not have this conditional relationship with them were and are authorized to tell me how to bring them up.

    Good discipline does not mean that your homes have to become familial boot camps. But kids who learn and are nurtured to respect authority are less likely to commit crimes and other social faux pas’. When we went to school we sought to be educated for the sake of knowing things, not only to get a job and raise our standard of living. That curiosity is not prevalent today, sadly, and its absence is reflected in the disinterest of many.

  13. indeed the streets are hot and the youth bare a cold spirit. While i do see educatin as an important factor, public policy still remains the fuel that keep education inequality burning in the hearts of the youth of today – all across the world.

  14. Unfortunately, I don’t have sufficient time to showcase my views but i will say one thing. I do believe that the government had good intentions for the abolition of corporal punishment in schools as many children were unable to learn due to fear of being beaten or children were disuaded from a particular subject because of they beatings they recieved upon failure of it.
    However I dont agree with it because as mentioned in the article above, children feel invincible now. One thing that i must say that I totally disagree with is the statement that the education system has failed children. No learning can take place without discipline and if they lack the values and discipline that should have been instilled by parents then how can they still in a class room and learn anything? Many have successfully passed the system, so how have you derived at that conclusion.
    Thanks for the information though, I’m writing a paper and this was really helpful. Thanks!

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