Online poll: Most call for punishment for unruly pupils

Violent behavior by pupils in school should simply not be tolerated, according to the majority of respondents to the latest Caymanian Compass online poll. 

Immediate suspension or expulsion should follow such incidents, noted 201 of the 465 people who voted, or 45.2 percent. Add to this the 154, or 33.1 percent, who wanted to bring back corporal punishment, and that comprises a significant majority of 78.2 percent. 

Getting the police to deal with violent incidents was the favored option for 64 respondents, or 13.8 percent, with the remainder of the votes being for “Other” (28 votes, 6 percent) and “Let the parents deal with it,” which was selected by only nine people (1.9 percent). 

One respondent, who chose the “Suspend or expel them immediately” option, said, “Throw the child in jail. And make the parents pay the teacher 50X the medical damages and make the parents take parenting skill classes.” 

Another participant who selected the same option wrote, “Rehabilitation needs to be addressed outside of the classroom environment. It’s simply unfair to the kids who are eager to learn but can’t because of the classroom disruption and fear for their own safety!” 

Among those who voted for bringing back corporal punishment, one said, “When we segregated the schools and got rid of the belt, it all went bad.” 

One reader, who selected the option of lettting police deal with violent episodes in schools, wrote, “Create two more high schools to reduce the student body.” 

Another respondent suggested establishing “a national compulsory youth service for ages, say, 15 and 16 – call it CIYS: Cayman Islands Youth Solidarity. Take a direct interest in our youth and get them to take up constructive interests themselves.” 

Another suggested, “Have teachers that are trained to teach problem children; have education support the teachers more; and hold the parents accountable. Parents have to put their differences to one side, the child at school is not always the child you have at home! Put cameras in the classrooms and show the parents. It is not fair for the students who want to learn to be held back/disturbed just because a child is acting up.” 

Another had a mixture of practical and corporal in mind. “The schools, the parents and the police need to be involved. Send them to boot camp and knock some sense into them,” the respondent wrote. 

Other people suggested that classroom violence was a symptom of a wider malaise to be dealt with. 

“I think a suspension/expulsion and the police should be involved,” wrote one. “Assault is a criminal offense and the sooner these kids learn that their actions have severe consequences the better. 

“Clearly, there is something else going on, perhaps they are not getting what they need from the education system (i.e., special education, etc.) or it’s the lack of discipline at home but the schools need to support and protect their teachers and not hinder them.” 

The words “behavior modification” cropped up time and again in the comments from the “Other” option. 

“Until parents are held responsible for their inaction, this will continue,” one person felt. 

Another blamed the classroom environment, saying “If at elementary level, class teacher/principal and parents [should be] held accountable because they had greater opportunities for intervention and redirection of behavior modification.” 

“We are talking about children,” concluded another participant. “Refer them to a competent professional who can assist with behavioral, cognitive and emotional changes.” 

Next week’s poll question: 

With the recent news of a number of drug busts at the Owen Roberts International Airport, what steps should the government take to keep drugs off the islands?  

  • More stringent screening process for everyone, knowing that arrivals will take longer 
  • More stringent screening for individuals from specific “problem” countries 
  • A complete independent investigation of the Customs department, they must have known about this before 
  • Have drug sniffing dogs in and around airport grounds at all times 
  • Other (explain) 

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