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In reaction to ‘Principal says she did not assault child’

Dear Editor,
It truly shocked me to read that the principal of Prins Willem Alexander School publicly admitted to hitting a student with a stick three times. This principal is very well aware that it is prohibited by law to apply corporal punishment. Yet she feels comfortable enough to admit it publicly. Does she have the stick always at hand?
Corporal punishment is applied in schools on our island. However, it is very seldom reported by parents or teachers. Just as is the case with our youth, our educators do not want to be known as a snitch and parents are afraid of retribution. If the authorities, Department of Education and Inspectorate keep silent on this issue, it will be fair game for all who want to apply corporal punishment for whatever reason.
If we are really serious about combating violence among our youth, we should start practicing non-violence ourselves. The last resort should be to call in the parents immediately, when a child becomes unruly. Downplaying the issue of just three licks is ridiculous, wrong and unacceptable.
Since the principal dared to go public, the authorities have no other choice but to inform the public on how this issue was dealt with. It is time to address this issue and send a clear message to all who think it is right to, yes, "assault" a child.

O. Bryson-Pantophlet
Former Director of Public Education

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