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Spare the rod, save the child?

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Spare the rod, save the child?

by Adri-Ann Peters
01 Aug 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

I remember back in Stardard Three (at least when it was still called that,) how my friends and I used to smear an impermeable layer of Pritt onto our little hands to numb the nasty sting that would inevitably be left by the notorious class 'plankie'.


That is back in the day a long, long time ago when corporal punishment was still welcomed by parents and class teachers alike and when children seemed to know their place in society. Or did they really?

Admittedly I also faintly remember almost loathing my teacher, after the deed of discipline had been done because she had decided to injure me and my 31 classmates in the way that she had.

But as vivid as that memory still is to me, I also remember having no doubt in my mind that if I wanted to avoid a similar fate in future, I would definitely have to tow the line.

This past week one parent voiced their intention to take their son's Claremont-based private school to court for shutting the 16-year-old out of class for six hours one school day.

This as punishment for allegedly continuously misbehaving, and being unable to rely on corporal punishment.

The parents termed this kind of treatment of their child by the school as nothing short of "child abuse".

But talk of the incident in the newsroom got me thinking.

Could all of that hassle plainly have been avoided if corporal punishment was still around? And in light of increasing unruly behaviour at schools, do children need more than just a talking to in order for them to be adequately disciplined? Personally, although I'm not a mom myself, I've always been slightly puzzled by the idea that some new-age parents prefer verbally "reasoning" with their child instead of reprimanding them physically.

I mean how much reasoning can you do with a two- year-old who just won't stop wailing in the middle of a store isle?

All because you told him or her that there is no way on earth that mommy will be able to afford that ridiculously overpriced telly-tubby they already rebelliously have clamped against their little chest?

So when parents themselves struggle to bring their children to order with mere "talk", how can they expect teachers to achieve the same with ten times the number of kids in their classrooms?

Lets face it, sometimes talk just doesn't work. Then again, if I were a protective parent, would I really want someone else laying their hands on my child while I am not there to witness all the goings-on? Probably not.

It goes without saying though that children need to be disciplined when they are young. How else would they learn right from wrong? Maybe the answer lies with instilling discipline (whether physical or verbal) at home first.

Maybe parents should help make the job easier for teachers, so that teacher's often more subtle disciplinary action can have some effect on children while at school.

At the end of the day it is their child after all.

And in light of the parents who want to sue the school-I have only one question: If we're going to strip teachers from the right to use the rod, why not at least afford them the courtesy of devising their own reasonable disciplinary methods?

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