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Reintroducing Caning In Schools Will Need A Referendum : Havi

Constitutional lawyer and Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi says the reintroduction of corporal punishment could be long and complex.

He says Chapter Four of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, outlaws corporal punishment. It is a protected chapter.

The law states that every person has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be subjected to corporal punishment.

Havi says to amend the Bill of Rights, Kenya has to hold a referendum.

“A proposed amendment to this Constitution shall be enacted in accordance with Article 256 or 257, and approved in accordance with clause (2) by a referendum, if the amendment touches on… the Bill of Rights,” the Constitution states.

There are those who think the education system has refused to meet students halfway.

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Others believe the children are simply aping what they see in society, while others see it as just plain notoriety that should be met with equal measure.

Corporal punishment in school is further outlawed under the Children Act, which states that “no child offender shall be subjected to corporal punishment.”

Human rights lawyer Njoroge Kimani says the Bill of Rights applies to all laws and binds all state organs and all persons, thus outlawing corporal punishment means this extends to the school set-up.

He states that Article 53 (1) re-affirms that every child “has the right … to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.”

The return of corporal punishment has been backed by some legislators, Cabinet secretaries, parents’ associations and teachers. However, civil rights groups have fiercely opposed it.

In the search for solutions to indiscipline, there are those who think the education system has refused to meet students halfway.

Others believe the children are simply aping what they see in society, while others see it as just plain notoriety that should be met with equal measure.

Education CS George Magoha falls in this last group. He has taken a hardline stance. Magoha thinks that the reintroduction of corporal punishment will tame indiscipline.

This school of thought, however, lacks scientific backing.In fact, there is more evidence against corporal punishment than there is in support.

Studies show corporal punishment has negative effects on children, among them aggression, antisocial behaviour, physical injury and mental health problems.

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