Student indiscipline tops the list of concerns for school principals in Saint Lucia, Education Minister, Doctor Gale Rigobert has disclosed.
Rigobert made the disclosure as she addressed a meeting of school principals today at the CSA Centre, Sans Souci.
She told the gathering that her ministry is actively crafting programmes to ensure that when a student is suspended from school, it would not result in ‘spitting’ the child onto the streets and into environments that will create further difficulty.
“We are also working along with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to put together programmes that in the event those kids find themselves there, that they are not thrown into less than child friendly environments and that there are programmes to engage them meaningfully,” the minister stated.
Rigobert recalled that during the budget debate, she made pronouncements regarding corporal punishment.
“I am well advised by my management team that over the last couple of years, many of you if not all of you would have received manuals and/or training with respect to other ways of correcting deviant behaviour or indiscipline,” she asserted.
She declared it was important that attendees understand in the context of ‘child friendly’ schools and ‘safe’ schools that there is a way in which children ought to be approached when it comes to student indiscipline.
Rigobert recalled stating in the past that when there is news of ugly incidents, the focus usually is on punitive measures.
“We never stop the ask the question: ‘Why is it so instinctive? Why is it so easy for people to resort to physical violence in an effort to resolve a problem?’ Because that is what they have known all their lives,” the minister told the gathering.
“You want to resolve a problem in the classroom you resort to physical violence – we teach them that inadvertently,” Rigobert declared.
Asserting that she feels very strongly about the matter, the minister said there must be another way.
Rigobert rejected the argument used by previous generations that corporal punishment did not kill them and as a result would not kill children today.
“That’s ignorance,” the minister said.
“I would like to think that we are an evolving people and an enlightened people and we do not simply follow what previous generations did because we think we have survived,” Rigobert said.
“If some of us were to subject ourselves to some deep psychoanalysis you would discover how affected you are by it,” she told the principals.