Corporal Punishment in Jamaica

This is certainly not a new topic. Whether it be political, social or in home forums, the subject of ‘beatings’ is a very pressing issue in the island.

Recently the Minister of Education Reverend Ronald “Ronnie” Thwaites formerly announced that administering lashes as a form of punishment in public schools is strictly prohibited and could have reprocussions for the accused.

Many threw support behind the minister, while others were not as satisfied with the declaration. “Me get beaten in school and home and it nuh affect me” said a mother who responded to a query posed by a news crew.

From the reponse its obvious that she like many J’cans feel indifferent regarding the beating of children.

Beating of children in home, schools and at times public places is as old in Jamaica as could be. In fact a lot of scholars and locals believe Jamaica morbid beating habit is a residual of slavery and the severe beat downs which were the norm.

These gruesome assaults would be carried out against men women and child. Since enslaved Africans were recultured after there identities were purged, it would be rational to assume they saw this beating habit as ‘right’ if not the only way to resolve issues.

Due to this historical context many are lead to believe that the “quick to beat” mentality was engraved in our ancestors hence the our situation today.

Another belief is that the physical punishment is as a result of poverty in JA. Regardless of reason we love beat pitney and I’ve been on the receiving end of a belt. For me I have no absolute position on the matter in fact I just feel we are trying to conform to external norms.

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5 comments

  1. i happen to be from Africa, Botswana and growing up i was beat both home and at school or where ever the elders found fit…, i am a great believer in discipline and yes children must be beat where necessary as long as the intent is right and for a very good course…

    there is a great difference between being disciplined and being abused or humiliated, as along as the difference is well understood i see why we cant discipline our children.

    discipline is very good and i see nothing wrong with it, mostly i cant understand why it has to even have a political element to it. blows my mind really….,

    people must understand that children do need authority , it builds them and keeps them in straight line mostly in this very confusing, no morals and lawless society.

    • You sound very much like a Jamaican adult. Your views seem to be very connected with contemporary belief in Jamaica regarding the sanctioning of punishment to get children “in line”.
      Personally I feel this new obsession with prohibiting flogging in schools is just a waste of time and a pitiful attempt at explaining the problem of crime in Jamaica; crime which is heavily rooted in government corruption.
      I know some people are thinking probably if the criminals were disciplined more in their youth they wouldn’t grow up to be looters and shooters.

      • we are all different , and in every society there would always be criminals , but to attribute that entirely to lack of beating during youth is far fetched, only may be a very small percentage but as we grow we choose our own path depending on very various reasons. beating wont make one not a criminal when they grow, how ever the thing is, if we cant save all at least we can save one and hopefully direct …..

      • I think you misunderstood. In no way was I limiting Jamaicas social ills solely to lack of discipline.

        Because of course it is established fact that crime in any society involves a multiplicity of factors.

        What I was getting at is that a lot of time people comment saying “lack of discipline in the youth is whats causing some of this”

        They recognize that lacking of discipline is a piece which contributes to the whole.


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