Not for the sensitive.

I want to blog about something that I saw on the news this morning. Cellphone footage taken by school children of teachers administering ‘Corporal punishment’. The first one of a teacher soaking a girls hands in freezing cold water and then hitting them with a blackboard duster and then a male teacher hitting a male student with a hosepipe for being late.

My husband always tells me that I get on my high horse about these things, but I am really passionate about it. My stance, I completely disagree with corpral punishment in schools. My view on this is that it can never ever be properly controlled and I don’t think it teaches a child anything positive. I don’t believe that it can ever be administer in a fair way – How does a teachers attitude towards a certain child influence the punishment? Would you put a teacher in charge of deciding on the correct physical punishment for YOUR child? I am not saying for a moment that there should be no form of discipline in schools. I’m just saying that any type of physical punishment is not on. Keep the detention and writing out lines, but do not touch my child.

I suppose my view on this comes mainly from my experience of corporal punishment in primary school. In those days it was ok for teachers to give out smacks or jacks as they were referred to. I was never a naughty child and so I only received one smack on the hand with a ruler in my entire schooling career. This was for not returning a library book on time. I felt really bad when I received the punishment, but I remember most of the kids thinking it was a big joke.

One teacher shaped my view on this subject forever and I was deeply effected by the event. It happened during our standard five end of year exams and involved the head master and a particularly naughty boy in our year. We wrote our year end exams in the school hall and so our entire year was seated there on this day. We had just finished writing our exams and the teachers asked us to stand (I can’t remember why). The principal of the school then entered the room and started examining the hall for scrunched up papers under the table and chairs. He immediatly picked on the naughty school boy and demanded that he picked up a piece of paper that was nowhere near him. The boy refused and what followed was the head master hitting him repeatedly in front of our entire year. He slapped him a couple of times and told him to go to his office for jacks. As the boy started to exit the hall the principal proceeded to call him names and even kick him. In the background his twin sister was screaming ‘Leave my brother alone’. I will never forget it.

The same teacher was out maths teacher at one stage and he used to take boys into his storeroom for what he called ‘cookies and tea’, friggin wierd if you ask me! The boys always claimed that he just smacked them in there, but I still get a funny feeling thinking about it.

A week or so after the incident in the hall, the parents of the boy laid charges of assault against the teacher. Evidence emerged in picture form of bruises on the boys body and eventually the principal was fired.

My husband’s view on this is that it was an isolated incident and that corporal punishment really does work in schools. He went to an all boys school and reckons that the jacks really helped. But honestly when the adult boys talk about thier experience of corporal punishment they refer to it as if it was all a big joke. So was it really effective then. Did it stop them from being naughty….I don’t really think so.

My FIL is a school teacher and he feels that corporal punishment should be brought back into schools because children are so indisciplined these days. In my opinion I think it has absolutely no place. Parents are responsible for the discipline of their children NOT their teachers. Can you ever be absolutely sure that teachers are dishing out corporal punishment on fair terms? Can you be sure that your child isn’t going to received an extra hard smack because the teacher is in a bad mood that day! As far as I am concerned, my childs discipline will be up to me and my husband ONLY. I will not allow a teacher that is already pressured to also be responsible for the discipline of my child. Not physically at least. Detention is fine with me, but do NOT touch my child physically! That is not ok. Parents should be teaching their children at home to respect their teachers. Its is not the teachers purpose to discipline your child.

I also think that all corporal punishment teaches a child is that violence solves problems. There may be people out there who totally disagree with me, but I ask you, what exactly does this teach a child. What struck me most about the one video clip I saw this morning was that the children in the background were laughing. Now what does that say to you! These incidents are teaching children that this is not only ok, but its actually funny.

I suppose I am on my high horse (as my husband says) about this, but jeez I am passionate about it!

I would love to know your thoughts. Even if you disagree with me.