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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 15, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesWe Hit Children; They'll Hit Children

We Hit Children; They'll Hit Children

Dear Source:
Colleen, my eyes have been truly opened since reading all the emails sent to you and between recipients of your first email.
I had no idea that there could be any controversy around the topic of an educator striking a child. I broke down in tears and immediately sat down with my children to talk about it. Rachel had told me before that some of the new kids at Gifft Hill spoke of being spanked with a paddle. I thought the other kids were just telling stories. I was so sadly mistaken.
I tell my children they are going to school to learn the information they will need as adults. I tell them that the teachers and administrators are there to facilitate their growth as human beings. I also tell them that they are empowered people who have the right to speak out if they feel that they, or their peers, are treated unjustly. And they also know to acknowledge others' achievements and show respect for others with good manners. I know your kids, Colleen, and I know you have raised them that way also.
In supporting corporal punishment, either out loud or in our silent acceptance, we have done a huge disservice to all Virgin Islands children. These kids will be adults. Kids learn by the examples we set. We hit children; they'll hit children.
Even the children who seem to already be hardened by life can still feel pain from a cross word or being ignored by others. I am mortified thinking about the psychological damage that Roman, and the other child victims, have sustained.
I don't know if your kids were able to take tennis lessons last year with the high school senior, Lincoln Liburd. He is one of the most inspirational young men that I have ever met. He mostly grew up here and was dealt his own hand of struggles. He seems to believe in all kids, even when they don't believe in themselves. When my kids are in a quandry about the ethics of something or what path to take, sometimes I'll ask them, "What do you think Lincoln would say?" Maybe the answer is to turn to a young Virgin Islander like Lincoln right now.
Thank you for speaking out loudly about this. I know you can't erase it from Roman's memory, or the memories of the other beaten children, but your bravery may help other kids from this time forward.
I've talked about this with others in the last few days and I've heard the comment, "You can't just walk into someone else's culture and change the way they do things." This isn't about culture. This is about kids.
Keep being the squeaky wheel.
Trish Myers
St. John

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