“We can’t honestly speak about preventing sexual and gender-based violence or gender against women and girls while we continue to beat children, insult and degrade them,” said a passionate representative of Food For The Poor at a recent domestic violence forum.The representative, Danuta Radzik, shared her sentiments on the matter, at a time in Guyana when violence has undoubtedly peaked.It is because of this reason Radzik shared, “As a country we must abolish corporal punishment as a disciplinary method and implement alternative, non-violent measure to replace corporal punishment in all schools, at all levels”.In fact, she believes teachers should be trained in classroom management and alternative disciplinary measures to avoid children from being hit in schools.She said, “We need to introduce strategies and training to promote violence free-schools, based on gender equality, human rights and non-discrimination with support and engagement from students, parents, civil society and the community”.The representative added that, “An effective response and referral system is also needed to be in place in addressing sexual and gender-based violence and other related issues. Negative gender socialisation patterns are learnt very early in a child’s life, so the earlier this kind of intervention, the better the outcome”.Presently, corporal punishment is allowed to an extent. This newspaper spoke with a teacher who revealed that although hitting children was prohibited it was somewhat revised to an extent.According to that teacher, only senior educators are allowed to punish children in that manner.When Guyana Times contacted the Public Relations Officers at the Education Ministry, the two officials were unable to give the Ministry’s position on the matter and referred this media outlet to the Welfare Department which was unavailable at the time.
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