Children’s NGO condemns flogging of Queen’s College students; calls for end to corporal punishment

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2024, 22:33 by Writer

The non-governmental organisation, ChildLinK Inc. on Tuesday condemned last week’s flogging of 10 Queen’s College students at that institution and urged the Ministry of Education to abolish corporal punishment in its entirety.

“The flogging of children has no place in a modern, progressive society like Guyana and the Ministry of Education should strongly consider taking a more proactive approach to have this de-humanizing behavior removed from its policy,” the organisation said. 

By condemning and actively working to eradicate corporal punishment, ChildLinK said Guyana could create a safer and more nurturing environment for its youngest citizens, where their rights are respected, and their potential is allowed to flourish. 

ChildLinK identified the need for more comprehensive measures to effectively eradicate this harmful practice and ensure the protection and well-being of all children in Guyana.

The teacher, who allegedly took the boys’ pants belts, put them together and beat the students, has been sent on paid administrative leave to allow for the incident to be investigated, but the NGO said more details should be provided by that institution. “It is hoped that further details will be made available to understand how this learning institution is addressing this matter,” ChildLinK said. 

One of the students was said to have told his parents and eventually police were called in to investigate the alleged incident.

The NGO criticised the Queen’s College teacher for beating the children, saying that corporal punishment was linked to violence against females in the wider society. “Flogging is perpetuating violence which is a learnt behavior, it speaks of deep psychological issues and its very unfortunate that a senior teacher of one of Guyana’s top high schools cannot identify and correlate the violence that is perpetuated against women and girls with the flogging of young boys,” the organisation said. 

In the wake of the incident, ChildLinK criticised Guyana’s lawmakers for “unfortunately” retaining corporal punishment in the 2008 Education Bill, though that practice has long been discredited as a form of discipline by numerous local and international organizations, including the United Nations and UNICEF as a form of discipline. “Further despite flogging has been recognized at clear violations and abuse against children, the practice persists in homes and schools, across Guyana,” ChildLinK said. 

The organisation said one of the most troubling aspects of corporal punishment is its normalization within Guyanese society which not only legitimizes all forms of violence against children. “This undermines efforts to promote non-violent forms of discipline, conflict resolution and correction of behaviors,” the entity added. 

Noting that enforcement mechanisms remain weak, and cultural attitudes towards corporal punishment have been slow to change, ChildLinK said flogging children is a violation of children’s rights, abusive, humiliating and perpetuates cycles of violence and inequality.