Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
A DISTRICT report detailing the circumstances behind a video which shows a group of students being beaten by an Abaco-based physical education teacher has been submitted to education officials, The Tribune understands.
The report will now be reviewed by Education Director Marcellus Taylor and his team before being forwarded to Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd for a secondary review and ruling.
The case garnered national attention after the video went viral across several social media platforms last week and drew the anger of parents and guardians across the country for its graphic nature.
The video opened with the teacher — identified at one point in the recording as Ms Brown — handing over the device used to record the ordeal to some unidentified person.
After she ensured the device was on and recording, the teacher called over the first student.
As that student walked into frame, he is heard telling the teacher that he was not involved in whatever proceeded the video.
Despite his pleas, Ms Brown directed him to walk over to a nearby wall and place his hands on it.
“You were in the room, right?” she told the young man. “Hands on the wall.”
In total six students — all boys — were beaten.
In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Lloyd said the report had been formally submitted and was now under review by the director’s office.
The South Beach MP said once that action is completed, the report would then be forwarded to his office for a subsequent review ahead of “any determinations” being made.
Nonetheless, he said the ministry has a strict “zero-tolerance” for corporal punishment, except in specific cases where the action is to be carried out by a senior administrator.
“We are not in the business of corporal punishment,” Mr Lloyd said when contacted for an update yesterday. “We take this matter, and all similar to this, very serious. We are in the business of protecting our children and ensuring that they are not physically harmed in the course of being reprimanded.”
He added: “As I have said on a number of occasions, while there is an opportunity for corporal punishment to be carried out, it has to be in very particular circumstance and carried out by those in authority.”
In March 2018, following a similar incident, Mr Lloyd told The Tribune that under his leadership, education officials would revise school policies on corporal punishment, insisting modern research shows it to be an ineffective way of disciplining children.
In that interview, he insisted that children should only be beaten in schools if all other options have been exhausted and in the most egregious of circumstances.
A 2017 Inter-American Development Bank study ranked the Bahamas high among countries in the Caribbean that have tolerance or understanding for hitting women or correcting children with physical punishment.
The report was titled “How safe are Caribbean Homes for Women and Children? - Attitudes toward Intimate Partner Violence and Corporal Punishment.”
In response to the question of whether to correct a child who misbehaves was it necessary to hit or physically punish a child, more than 70 percent of Bahamians said it was “always” or “most often” or “sometimes” necessary.
Nearly 80 percent of Bahamians said they had “always,” “most often” or “sometimes” been hit or physically punished as a child to correct bad behaviour.