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Call to end corporal punishment in Jamaican schools

SUPPORT: Senator Ruel Reid

MINISTER OF Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid has called for an elimination of corporal punishment in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, Caribbean 360 reports..

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the second Regional Caribbean Conference of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), Reid said: “Corporal punishment is so entrenched in our culture and interwoven in our society that it has been accepted as a norm for many families and at a point in time in our schools. We have been able to repel that in large measure.”

“I join the Prime Minister, the National Parenting Support Commission [NPSC] and, of course, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in calling for a shift in culture and discontinuing the practice of corporal punishment in our region.”

Senator Reid added that parents and caregivers must employ “permissible ways” to discipline children, rather than resorting to physical and verbal abuse, which he said, have long-lasting psychological effects.

“In many cases, violence begets violence. The cycle cannot be allowed to continue.

“Our Prime Minister has been very strong on this point, and he has given clear directives and mandate for us to put it in a legislative form. Until I have been able to conclude that, I have the authority to outlaw it by giving an executive directive that corporal punishment is no longer allowable.”

Reid also urged the ISPCAN members to use insight from the conference to effect the changes necessary to end violence against children worldwide.

“The change, therefore, starts here. The cycle of violence must end. It is my hope that every parent… whichever part of the globe you are from, will leave this conference determined to make the step to make the world a better place,” he said.

The conference was hosted in partnership with the Office of the Children’s Advocate.

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