Dominica could eliminate corporal punishment in schools


ROSEAU, Dominica – Chief Education Officer Melena Fontaine says government’s Child-Friendly Schools initiative is putting alternative methods of discipline in place that could lead to the elimination of corporal punishment.

She made the comments at the first of a series of workshops with education stakeholders on the matter.

“On the issue of corporal punishment, although it is on the books and legal, we have been promoting alternative disciplinary practices. The Education Act says corporal punishment is a last resort, so make it a last resort because there are so many other strategies that we can use to discipline children,” Fontaine said.

“We are actually seeing a decrease in the use of corporal punishment in our schools, not because we are saying not to use it but because there is no need to use it thanks to the alternative measures.”

The Chief Education Officer pointed out that there was a fine line between discipline and child abuse.

“There are so many incidents where people are saying that they were using corporal punishment but really it was physical abuse. So we have to really rethink this thing and look at the research and what is happening internationally and decide whether we want to keep [corporal abuse] on our books,” Fontaine said.

She stressed that the overall goal of the Child-Friendly Schools program is for students to do well. And for that to happen, Fontaine said, the school environment must be safe, healthy and positive.




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