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'It's Time To Stop School Beatings'

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

By Ava Turnquest

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

WEST Grand Bahama and Bimini public educators are moving to eliminate corporal punishment within schools, a move The Tribune was told is part of a wider effort to stamp out the practice nationally.

Ministry of Education District Superintendent Ivan Butler confirmed to The Tribune the practice may be fully discontinued within his district before the end of the current school year.

“Our present minister is totally against corporal punishment,” Mr Butler said.

“We have been weaning and I can speak specifically for the West Grand Bahama district, we are eliminating. We have made a conscious decision to take corporal punishment out of the school. Very few students are being administered corporal punishment, and we feel even as early as Easter we will remove it.

“For now most of the principals are aware corporal punishment is not the best method. As for my district, we are eliminating.”

Mr Butler spoke to The Tribune as part of its investigation into a viral video circulated on social media on Sunday, which purported to document a young child screaming in agony from complications stemming from an alleged beating by a school administrator.

The decision to remove the practice of corporal punishment from public schools was not said to be connected to that matter, or the subsequent allegations.

The Tribune spoke with the child’s mother, 29-year-old Erinique Walkin, who said her son, Gregory Haley, was beaten on his back by a West Grand Bahama school administrator nearly two years ago when he was six years old.

The viral video, however, does not depict her son immediately after the incident but purports to show the severity of chronic pain episodes Gregory began to experience in later months.

The incident took place on May 9, 2016, according to a document signed by Superintendent Wendall Deveaux, officer-in-charge of the Eight Mile Rock police station.

Since then Ms Walkin said her son experiences chronic pain episodes that no longer afflict his back where he was allegedly hit three times by the school administrator, but all over his body.

“He has pain everywhere,” Ms Walkin said when contacted by The Tribune after a video of Gregory screaming in a bathtub as his father attempts to soothe him, was posted on a Facebook page and received more than 100 shares and comments on Sunday.

“It’s not just his back anymore, sometimes it’s his neck, his arms, his feet, his penis, his butt, anywhere. The slightest touch could set him off.”

Ms Walkin said pain medications have been ineffective, and she has to use guided meditation to help her child take his focus off the discomfort.

In a more recent video sent to The Tribune, Gregory could be seen laying on the floor groaning, and apparently grinding his teeth, with tears streaming down the side of his face.

“Yesterday he couldn’t hear for a whole hour,” Ms Walkin said, “he kept telling me ‘mommy I can’t hear, I can’t hear.’ Everyday it’s something different, I’m so stressed out, I been to the clinic so much times. How can I be comfortable when people tell me nothing wrong and my child in pain?”

Among Facebook comments on Sunday was Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, who appealed for the parents of the child in the video to immediately contact the Ministry of Education. He said that he would be investigating the matter “right away”.

However, The Tribune has confirmed the ministry is fully aware of the matter, and paid for Gregory’s MRI scan in November last year.

Ms Walkin claims she spoke with Mr Lloyd over the phone, but never met with him face-to-face. She said she began posting videos of Gregory in a bid to get the government’s attention, noting the viral surge came after she reached out to an American-based Facebook page.

“One day he came from school complaining of back pain,” Ms Walkin said, “he kept saying his back hurting, I ignore it couple times after he keep saying it I say let me ask him what’s going on. He told me his teacher beat him on his back and I started to ask him what he did but then I catch myself like never mind what you do nobody supposed to be beating you on your back. He said she put him across her lap and beat him on his back with a ruler. I took him to the clinic immediately. The doctor said it was child abuse, she was supposed to call social services, she never did.

“I went the following morning to the police station and I told them what went down, they try to talk me out of pressing charges against her. At the time I’m trying to be a Christian so I say let me hear her out. His back was tender and swollen, me and my mom were escorted to school with two officers.”

Ms Walkin alleged she spoke with the teacher, who admitted to beating Gregory because he was misbehaving and that she did not intend to do it so severely.

“My son stopped her and he said ‘no, I wasn’t misbehaving you told us to lay down on the desk and I raise up my head and tell you I wanted to use the bathroom, and you take me to your office, put me across your lap and beat me.’”

Ms Walkin admitted she told the police she would not press charges against the teacher because she accepted her apology as sincere, and was also not aware of the full extent of the damage allegedly inflicted on her son.

It would not be until months later when roughhousing with his older sister that Gregory would experience a debilitating pain that would require paramedics to transport him to hospital.

“They kept saying they don’t see nothing wrong. They asked me about my daughter asking is she a big child, how could she have hurt him like this? They thought I was lying, they felt like I abused him. He made about 10 to 11 trips to emergency room over and over in the space of five months. They kept doing X-ray after X-ray.”

Ms Walkin moved to Crooked Island in February last year, and relocated her children in August. She said Gregory was pain free for a few weeks during the summer, but the chronic episodes resumed. At a clinic in Crooked Island, medical staff suggested obtaining an MRI scan; however, Ms Walkin said she could not afford it.

She expressed gratitude to Mr Butler, who authorised payment for the scan, stating the district superintendent was the only official who responded to her cries.

However, the government only paid for the costs of the scan, not a specialist to analyse the results, Ms Walkin said.

She told The Tribune she still doesn’t have a formal medical report, just the advice of a doctor who read the report at the urging of her relative who worked in his office.

Yesterday, Mr Butler confirmed the ministry paid for Gregory’s MRI scan, but noted it would not be rendering further assistance due to its findings, which he did not disclose.

“From the result of the MRI we feel it isn’t the result of a spanking he may have gotten,” Mr Butler said.

“We feel the mother is in need of assistance, we are not convinced its (Ministry of) Education. We think maybe Social Services may be the best person to assist her with that.”

Mr Butler noted the severity of backlash on social media towards public educators was “disturbing”.

“It’s giving our hard-working teachers and committed dedicated teachers a bad rap. Our focus as teachers, we are committed to giving best we have to offer. It’s a bit disturbing,” he said.

“We would recommend her to Social Services. We do sympathise, and we now know thanks to the same school, we know exactly what is wrong with her son now. Had it not been for that school the boy may have still been experiencing challenges. The school cannot assist any further with that.”

On Monday, Ms Walkin told The Tribune she had been contacted by a senior government official as a result of the viral video, who assured her that some assistance would be rendered.

In response to Facebook commenters asking whether there was a portal for online donations to Gregory’s medical fund on Sunday, Ms Walkin replied: “No I don’t have a GoFundMe page. Ya need an American or Canadian account to do that. And here in Crooked Island, we only have the post office here, no banks.”

When asked her thoughts on corporal punishment, Ms Walkin said: “Even if they beat I don’t mind, but beat on the hip, I used to get beat on calf, or my hands, you don’t put children across your lap and hit them on his back.

“I went through all the procedures, I went to Social Services, I been trying to do the right thing,” she told The Tribune.

Comments

rawbahamian 1 year, 6 months ago

Lack of cut ass is why these kids are so undisciplined and stupid.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

I would put good money on most people you see doing the bank lane shuffle being the ones who took more cut asses then your average kid.

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themessenger 1 year, 6 months ago

Bahamian man dem need to know dat if dey did spare dey rods more often we wouldn't have so many spoiled chiles..........

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Ma Comrades, agree forever discontinue any form corporal punished upon our school children's - but why not just transfer the licks over to the House of Assembly to brungs some discipline upstairs that House.... why even the ministerial decision makings this minister demonstrates that from time he own buttocks could have used some paddling by a public purse's state paddler of sorts... for sure da Speaker more so,

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joeblow 1 year, 6 months ago

Time to bring back school beatings in a structured way!

There should be different kinds of discipline for different offences. We should know in advance: who could get a beating, what the offence(s) has to be and the amount of licks per offence. The decision to beat should not be made by one person, and checks and balances are needed to prevent abuses in the system. The item used to dispense discipline should be determined for all schools and parents should be made to sign a waiver at the beginning of the school year.

For problem children, copies of offences should be sent home to the parents for them to have a record as well.

Discipline is needed in schools, not abuse! By the way, I got quite a few licks in school myself back in the day, didn't turn out too bad!

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bogart 1 year, 6 months ago

How ironic......The Police can determine child abuse ...versus.... the Ministry of Education can legally administer Corporal Punishment.... versus..... the other part of govt that can administer Cat o Nine whipping.........

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

Violence is a learnt behaviour, it should not be taught in our schools by teachers. Simple.

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joeblow 1 year, 6 months ago

Discipline in ALL forms is good when PROPERLY applied (the child understands why they are being punished and it is applied when not angry). Violence is the result of ignorance and frustration combined!

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Ma Comrades endorsing school children's physical abuse what says you's - should we holds public forum see how ya brain's cells does reacts to pain inflicted by teacher. I guess ya also for verbal abuse inflicted by teacher? A fat "NO" to school children's abusers on the public purse. {Somebody should be looking into locking them (and their blogger supporters) up}.

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joeblow 1 year, 6 months ago

DO NOT CONFLATE DISCIPLINE AND ABUSE, THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!!

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

The Scandinavian countries usually top the lists of various measurements of good societies to live in .Two of them have now made it an offense to hit or spank your child. None of my children ever have ever suffered corporal punishment, they have seven college degrees between them and one will soon a doctorate. Corporal punishment is given by parents or teachers who are either bullies who enjoy exercising power over those weaker or they just lack the intelligence and imagination to think up an alternate non violent form of punishment. I hope the mother whose child was so badly beaten is able to take out a civil action against this misguided beating teacher and sue her for a very large some of money. this will not heal the damage done but may make other teachers think twice before they raise their hand to someone who weighs a hundred pounds or more less than they do. Bullies are sick people and should not be in postions of authority.

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Ma Comrade Hyrsippus, any now grown into an adult with lingering physical abuse by teacher should consider suing both the offending teacher and school for causing them's lasting mental suffering, pains and anguish. Both public and private schools are guilty allowing this - more so in years past.... when involves children's abuse there should be no statute limitations brungs charges- lord knows all too well even the highly respected High School I attended lots years back had a couple teachers- and I'm talking about both mental-and physical abuse- that should have never been allowed be around a classroom's children's - but should have been committed up to Sandilands. Maybe its good be talking in this hereto Tribune blog forum about this.

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joeblow 1 year, 6 months ago

The same Scandinavian countries you speak of, have decriminalized so many acts that crime rates are artificially low, but they are very immoral state controlled countries. In addition, they have induced such passivity in their population through political correctness that children can decide their sex. Many of these passive countries have silently been taken over by Muslims, who have created their own crime infested communities with rapes against the women of the native populations exponentially increasing. Their large social welfare states are also depleting vast reserves these countries had that gave them their "exalted" status. In 10 years those countries will not be held in such high regard, they are already a shadow of their former selves!

Countries that fail to discipline the guardians of the future with be disciplined with pain in the future!

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder JoeBlowhard, if you have ever even visited these countries? I have. and you are writing untruths with a very little truth.

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My2centz 1 year, 6 months ago

I somewhat agree with you on that. I've read multiple reports about the Netherlands where crime is so low they've had to close multiple prisons. In the same time frame, I've read that police fear it will become a Narco state where they are powerless to do anything due to the low recruitment of police officers.

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joeblow 1 year, 6 months ago

These European countries realize that it is more important to have people working and paying taxes than in jails funded by the state!!

If you decriminalize marijuana then a person can't be arrested for possession. It doesn't mean people aren't in possession of marijuana or are not smoking it!!

If you decriminalize prostitution then a person can't be arrested for prostitution, although people are engaged in it.

The point was that crime rates HAVE to be low because most of what are crimes in other countries have been decriminalized! But that seedy element is still there!!
In the internet age, one does not have to visit a country to know what is going on there! By the way, how can one write "untruths with very little truth"?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 6 months ago

Jeff Lloyd bragged that he was brought up by his big, stout, Conchy Joe grandmother in Clarence Town, Long Island ........ He said she inspired him because she cut his ass daily and told him he could be whatever he wanted to be ......... and look how he turned out ........ This man is not fit to be Minister of Education ......... He is too dramatic, conflicted and impressionable and trying to be too nice to these unruly Unions and ill-disciplined parents.

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

I suspect the Honourable member might well end up in the Prime seat.

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Ma good Comrade Buddy running the #1 rated Numbers House should put Ministers Jeff and Dionisio James into a locked room with live camera feed hooked up Cable Bahamaland aimed at them - then offer numbers wagering odds how many seconds goin pass before which of the two Imperial crown minsters does talk first, and how impossible be's other minister get other shut the fuc# up whilst trying edge in with he own superiority over other displaying their own unique kinds brilliance over all other kinds lesser mankind's. Tis Ministerial Showtime!! Amen!

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My2centz 1 year, 6 months ago

School beatings are rarely about discipline and correcting bad behavior. I think teachers who beat draw satisfaction from humiliating an unruly or disliked child more than anything. But still something needs to be done about disrespectful children in public schools.

I think after a certain number of infractions an unruly, disruptive child should be automatically enrolled in a special behavioral or private school at the cost of the parent, if no extenuating circumstances such as mental defects or learning disabilities exist. This should be court mandated, like child support, and enforced with jail time. I think we will see more parents taking an active role in their child's education, and behavior.

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themessenger 1 year, 6 months ago

"disruptive child should be automatically enrolled in a special behavioral or private school at the cost of the parent," What kind of coolaid are you drinking? Why do you think they are enrolled in a government school in the first place? They bettas legalize grass quick 'cause dat stuff you drinking dangerous bey.

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My2centz 1 year, 6 months ago

I know why and I also know why some of these parents don't care about their child's productivity or behavior: It's free. If parents are forced to pay for something they take for granted, behaviors on the part of parent and child will improve because if faced with the cost, or jail time...they'll do better.

I'm sorry if parental accountability is a difficult concept for you understand. Perhaps you need to lay off the drinks and weed yourself...and it will become clearer.

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John 1 year, 6 months ago

Is the minister going to remove prayer and The Ten Commandments next... asking for a friend.

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John 1 year, 6 months ago

If you want to know if the decision is a good one just compare persons who grew up under corporal punishment to those who didn’t.

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themessenger 1 year, 6 months ago

You know what John, growing up here in the fifties & sixties cut ass at home & in school was a given, but it never turned me into one of the young psychopaths we're overrun by today and I am now close to retirement. I never had to beat my own children who are now happy, well adjusted & responsible adults. After independence law and order went off the rails in our society as a whole with slackness and corruption from the government on down, who can forget the drug days of the seventies & eighties when this Nation was literally for sale and the cocaine epidemic which resulted from? Society takes its example from their leaders as do children from their parents and elders, corporal punishment or lack thereof in schools or at home won't matter a hill of beans until those who should govern, guide and teach take a hard look in the mirror and decide if they like what they see.

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John 1 year, 6 months ago

After independence law and order went off the rails in our society as a whole with slackness and corruption from the government on down, who can forget the drug days of the seventies & eighties when this Nation was literally for sale and the cocaine epidemic which resulted from? What message? As was said then and is still true now; The United States couldn't stop the supply of drugs coming into the country because the demand for it was so great. Mexico and Jamaica and Colombia didn't stop the supply because the demand was so great and the market was so profitable. the Bahamas was just a small pawn caught in the middle of a drug war. Whether they got involved would have made very little difference. As today tonnes of drugs are still flowing into the US with very little or no involvement of Bahamians. But how many Americans, except the small street corner dealers, have you heard of being arrested and jailed for drug trafficking. That's because many of the traffickers are also the law enforcers. Just last week a ship with 93 Million worth of cocaine was intercepted of the coast of Florida. Now we have guns lowing in the opposite direction of drugs. And while high profile persons in the US has been linked to gun trafficking, none have been jailed. Your attempt to blame the Bahamas or Bahamians for the drug trade is lame. Sick and lame.

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John 1 year, 6 months ago

How many drugs episodes has America had since the ‘80s and 90’s that did not involve The Bahamas? First of all cocaine never stopped flowing to that country, even though very little of it passes through The Bahamas. Marijuana is legal in more than 30% of the US and decriminalized in at least half the nation.! Then there was the crystal meth crisis in the early 2000’s that was accompanied by flammable and bath salts and other chemical drugs that either killed people or set the crazy for life. And of course the country is also plagued with the opioid crisis where patients are legally prescribed drugs that eventually kill them. Our problem here with shanty towns is caused by illegal immigrants or persons on the border of poverty struggling to survive. In most US cities, including those on California, most of the homeless are drug addicts.

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ashley14 1 year, 6 months ago

OMG don't remove the 10 Commandments from school or prayer. Now paddling students is walking on a dangerous slope. It needs to be conservative and always have a witness to the paddling. We don't use this in schools anymore in the US. Maybe we should, but you would get sued in court.

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SP 1 year, 6 months ago

Wonderful. Let us ignore GODS guidance at Proverbs 13:24 and follow newly appointed genius Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd and the UN instead. What could possibly go wrong?

Most of us are thankful for good parental and scholarly discipline which included corporal punishment or the revoking of certain privileges.

What is really needed is the clarification of what is acceptable as a discipline and what can be termed as abuse!

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by SP

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John 1 year, 6 months ago

repost:

After independence law and order went off the rails in our society as a whole with slackness and corruption from the government on down, who can forget the drug days of the seventies & eighties when this Nation was literally for sale and the cocaine epidemic which resulted from?

What message? As was said then and is still true now; The United States couldn't stop the supply of drugs coming into the country because the demand for it was so great. Mexico and Jamaica and Colombia didn't stop the supply because the demand was so great and the market was so profitable. the Bahamas was just a small pawn caught in the middle of a drug war. Whether they, Bahamians, got involved would have made very little difference. The drug trade was still going on. As it is today where tonnes of drugs are still flowing into the US with very little or no involvement of Bahamians. But how many Americans, except the small street corner dealers, have you heard of being arrested and jailed for drug trafficking. That's because many of the traffickers are also the law enforcers. Just last week a ship with 93 Million worth of cocaine was intercepted of the coast of Florida. Now we have guns lowing in the opposite direction of drugs. And while high profile persons in the US has been linked to gun trafficking, none have been jailed. And even the marijuana coming here today is not safe. it is highly potent, crossed or hybird and mixed with other substances to make it more addictive and create violence and confusion..Yes many users are ending up in Sandilands. Your attempt to blame the Bahamas or Bahamians for the drug trade is lame. Sick and lame

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themessenger 1 year, 6 months ago

As usual John, you missed the point and got caught up in your rant:

"Society takes its example from their leaders as do children from their parents and elders, corporal punishment or lack thereof in schools or at home won't matter a hill of beans until those who should govern, guide and teach take a hard look in the mirror and decide if they like what they see."

I'm not blaming the Bahamas or Bahamians for the drug trade, I'm blaming them for the running sore of undisciplined behavior and total lack of respect for authority that has been allowed to fester since we became self governing and THAT should make ALL Bahamians feel sick and lame!

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Aegeaon 1 year, 6 months ago

In fact, to prove John's point about Bahamians wrong is that they sold their only chance for redemption out the window is that Carlos was the co-founder of the Medellin Cartel in Columbia, yet Lynden screwed us over and allowed him to reside in the Bahamas for a few years, and it was enough to bring those criminal gangs to greater heights. Any gangster belonging to a gang is sanctioned, no one is allowed to arrest them, but arrest the lone-wolf murderers that only kills once. Now we're destined for the Age of the Cartel, unless someone is willing to remove the shadows that plague Nassau.

But back to this. I approve about abolishing beatings in both the household and schools, as this doesn't do anything valuable today. Keep beating kids, yet they will end up as criminals still. I would like how America or Northern European countries do parenting. No beatings, and still many kids end up as great model citizens. Now in the Bahamas, it's perfectly dis-functional. Beatings aren't love no matter what context it is in. That sounds like psychological confusion at best, and crude at worse. It may had worked with a previous small group of Bahamians. It's not working anymore today. Parents need to put down their belts and find another method that doesn't involve whipping the hell out of them. This land is a ancient narco-state that recruits kids instead of the government recruiting them for being role models.

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ashley14 1 year, 6 months ago

No one should abuse a child, as joeblow said let's not confuse discipline with abuse. Discipline is to teach respect not fear.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 6 months ago

You are too confused with the enlightened USA ........... and look at where their public education system is right now ........ It is a hot mess of dumbness. Corporal punishment is part of the Education Act and Regulations ...... and it should remain there ........ Cutass doesn't retard a person, it keeps them on the right path.

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ashley14 1 year, 6 months ago

Why are you so angry? No one should be beat anywhere, spanking is a whole different thing. Beating a child is illegal and you will and should go to jail. Discipline is not illegal, including spanking.

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