Former President of the National Principals Association (NPA), Cyrus Cepal, has asserted that suspending errant students does not work.
“The days of suspending children – you cannot do that anymore because suspension will not work,” Cepal declared.
He said when students are suspended for misbehavior they engage in the same activity for which they were sent home, because they are not at school.
The former NPA President called on the authorities to create special programmes for such students.
He observed that at secondary schools especially, teachers can identify cases of students who need early interventions if they are not to end up in serious trouble later on.
Cepal said there is need to have programmes to cater to such students who are at risk.
“We need to have a programme where if they have to be suspended, they are recommended to be accepted in that programme where they will be rehabilitated,” he explained.
Cepal pointed out that there is a difference between discipline and punishment.
Discipline, he explained, changes behavior, while punishment is merely to suppress the behavior.
“Sometimes when you punish you will suppress but at the same time you need discipline to help the child to change his behavior,” the former NPA President asserted.
He said it was important to work with youth from the time it is recognized that they are losing focus.
Cepal expressed the view that in doing so, there would not be so many young people in trouble.