Retired Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious said he believes The Bahamas has gotten to the point where corporal punishment of children should be made illegal.
Palacious said there are too many parents who do “egregious” things in the name of punishment and take things “way too far” when seeking to discipline their children and those of others.
When asked if he feels the form of discipline should be criminalized, Palacious said, “I would like us to get to that point.”
He said, “In many countries where they don’t have corporal punishment or they don’t have beatings, their children, they don’t end up delinquent because they didn’t get any beating. Let’s face it, many people who are getting beating, it’s obviously not making any difference with that. In some countries where they don’t beat the children, they don’t have some of the social and other issues that we have today.”
Palacious’ comments come after Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell confirmed that an investigation has been launched into a video, purported to be at Children’s Emergency Hostel, where adult women are seen beating orphaned children.
At one point in the video, it appears that a child was being beaten while held down by another adult on a table.
Palacious said he has heard of the video but refused to watch it because it is sickening and would upset his spirit.
The religious leader said in his opinion there is some inward searching many Bahamian parents have to do as he feels many children are beaten for the wrong reasons.
“We need to consider whether there are things that we ourselves are taking out on the children because they remind us of their ‘no-good pa’ or we are so unhappy within ourselves that we need somebody to beat up on,” Palacious said.
The father of one said he’s not just talking, as he’s practiced what he has been preaching in this regard with raising his son.
“I personally did not do it,” he said. “I can see why some parents feel as though they should because sometimes children get on your last nerve, they make you angry. But personally, I never beat my son. One time I spanked him and that was it. But in terms of disciplining, we never used that. I prefer people not to, even though I fully appreciate that sometimes children get on your last nerve. But you have to be more in control of yourself.
He added, “I’m 68 years old. Most of us grew up on being beaten. Some of us were really abused quite frankly, because of some of the torture that some parents put their children through, you know. Go pick a tamarind switch, or go pick a switch. That’s a type of torture. It’s almost a sick mentality that we’ve kind of imposed on children. It’s almost as if it’s an opportunity to dominate them. I really don’t subscribe to that.”
Palacious pointed to the discipline method of using “time-outs” for children and suggested more parents try it.
Corporal punishment is also legal in public schools in The Bahamas and can only be administered by an administrator in the presence of another administrator or teacher.