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Friday, 14 January, 2000, 13:53 GMT
Should corporal punishment return to the classroom?

A survey suggests that half of parents would like to see the return of corporal punishment in schools in the UK - which was outlawed 14 years ago.

Union leaders make the point that parents routinely say this in opinion polls but that the proportion in favour has fallen in recent years. What seems to underlie it is a concern about declining discipline.

What do you think?

In particular, if there is no corporal punishment as a last recourse, how are teachers supposed to maintain order in a class with disruptive pupils?

Your Reaction:

Smacking a child is NOT 'barbaric'. What is barbaric is the trend in our society for unruly children who have no respect for anyone or anything.
Martin, UK
Oh dear the pious PC brigade are out again. Smacking a child is NOT 'barbaric'. What is barbaric is the trend in our society for unruly children who have no respect for anyone or anything. For these children the use of corporal punishment is ENTIRELY justified if it modifies their behaviour. You may disagree, until you are burgled by an 11 year old and then probably you will feel a little different...
Martin, UK

The debate about 'controlling' children in our schools truly reflects the barbarity of this debate. From areas of psychology, sociology and education have we not learnt that dignity, self-respect, is the foundation for developing respect for communities and institutions that we are members of.
The corporal punishment debate, like the present proposed policies about the policing of truants and punishing the parents, degrade the children. Let us get to the point, why can't we create schools as communities whose members respect them and they want to be there.
Michael Newman, Summehill School teacher, Britain

Sadly, I think this is non debate. Of course corporal punishment should return for the simple reason (for any who have experienced it) it works. However, we are so deep into the grip of Political Correctness that that once respected quality of common sense is all but extinct. What really is puzzling is how these PC idiots get to write the rulebook when the vast majority of people (voters) think otherwise??
David Edwards, UK

Corporal punishment?! NO WAY!
Darren, Hong Kong

Corporal punishment maintains order by the rule of fear. It does not establish respect.
Nick Logan, UK
There is a difference between FEAR & Respect. Corporal punishment maintains order by the rule of fear. It does not establish respect. Respect leads to order and harmony, fear leads to resentment and disorder.
Nick Logan, UK

I believe in the biblical saying "spare the rod and spoil the child". As a youngster in Scotland, I was subject to corporal punishment and as a result I not only gained respect for authority, but in gaining that respect, I gained respect for other people, their values and also respect for myself.
The moral decay in society can always be attributed to lack of respect for authority and if more of the parents had been disciplined properly, for the right reasons, then Britain would not be the violent society it is today.
Bill, Zimbabwe

If teachers can't discipline kids at all then ensure that parents are present to administer discipline instead. Kids grow up believing that they can do just as they like and don't consider that they are answerable to anyone. What a nasty shock hey will get when they leave the cosy sheltered world of do gooder education land and enter the real cruel nasty world where, if they upset someone they may well find "Corporal punishment" administered to them.
Think of something as effective as caning and I'll support it. We had caning at our school. We understood the consequence of bad or unacceptable behaviour quite quickly. Kids today do not have this advantage
Jeff DRay, UK

Violent children almost always have violent parents. FACT.
Simon Shields, England
Violence breeds violence. This is a very simple fact. If we hit children when they annoy us, they will learn to do the same. Most parents DO NOT smack their children in the cool (cold?), calculated way that many violence advocates say. People resort to violence when angry and frustrated - again a simple fact.
I know many people who were not beaten as children and they are amongst the most well-adjusted, civil and kind people I know. Many of those that I know to have been hit by their parents have all suffered varying degrees of emotional distress. Only a blanket ban will ensure that no child suffers abuse at the hands of those who are there to care for (not beat) them. Violent children almost always have violent parents. FACT.
Simon Shields, England

Yes, because it worked!
Peter Mash, UK

I was caned at the age of 7 for dropping a sweet wrapper on the floor of the classroom.... except that it wasn't my sweet wrapper and I hadn't dropped it. The real perpetrator never owned up! The sense of injustice and shame in front of my new (I had only joined the school a few weeks before) made me even more subdued than previously.
Corporal punishment solves nothing; parental responsibility is the key. Parents must be made to pay when their children cost the school or county money (and most disruptive children vandalise something sooner or later). Take the cash out of their benefits if necessary.
Pattie, UK

The problem with this whole debate as to whether or not we use spanking or slapping as a form of punishment is always badly distorted. Whenever there is a discussion of spanking, examples of the most extreme nature are always used against spanking. Likewise, extreme examples are used on behalf of the other opinion as well.
As an individual who supports the idea of spanking at home and at schools, I need to point out that we do not advocate beating misbehaved kids to a pulp. Of course that does not work. Instead spanking should be used in a controlled manner, where the child knows exactly how much punishment he is getting for the offence.
Ron Rova, USA

I cannot disagree that corporal punishment is not the most sympathetic way to discipline unruly students, but surely if it stops them disrupting the lessons of the thirty odd other children in the class, its benefits outweigh any possible harm done to the individual.
Time outside class can be spent to talk to and listen to the offender afterwards. Why should the needs of one disruptive child come above those of the majority of the class?
Judith, UK

Among boys being able to take the physical punishment was seen as cool and your status was elevated if you were seen not to cry after the punishment.
Gary, Scotland
Corporal Punishment is ineffective. I was given the belt, a heavy leather strap that was struck across your palms, a number of times while at primary and secondary school and although it did hurt, I was 'happier' to receive the belt than I was to receive detention of do some written exercise which wasted my personal time. Also among boys being able to take the physical punishment was seen as cool and your status was elevated if you were seen not to cry after the punishment.
Gary, Scotland

The kid killed an animal for kicks, or busted up someone's house or robbed a store, stole a car and wrecked it, does drugs and beats up people or all of these together, and our answer is to take his/her pager away or unplug the TV set for a week...
It's too late and any attempt to inflict a just whacking for the horrible behaviour of the few kids who really need it would be impossibly buried in legal delays and paperwork to the point where it would be an incredible joke to everyone, mostly to the intended problem child and their friends. And, it's just too late to fix the idiotic mess we've already created.
Tag Bunny, USA

Yawn! Why is it we Brits always seem to come back to this? I thought this debate was over - evidently not. Here in Norway, where I have been living the past ten years, corporal punishment was banned from the mid thirties, FIFTY years before it was banned in Britain. Even then it had fallen into disuse the previous decade.
I think back to my childhood in Britain where this practice of hitting children was supposedly "only a last resort", where chaos would result without it (even though it did not in other parts of Europe that by then also had banned it, at least in schools)... and how proud does it surely not make us knowing what was done, "only for our own good"!
Christopher Briggs, Norway

If there is the threat of punishment, then they might keep their cheeky mouths shut.
Binky Bumble, England
No one can say or do anything to rowdy kids these days - they have no respect for adults and have the protection of 'human rights' to hide behind to cause as much trouble as they like. If there is the threat of punishment, then they might keep their cheeky mouths shut.
Binky Bumble, England

This is really a very silly suggestion. Talk about going back in time. Should all the computers be removed from bank and offices? We should look forward and not back. The straight fact is there is violence in school but had there been punishment as such, surely the rate of violence will be much higher as this will bring out the worse in anyone especially the younger generation
Anil, Hong Kong

A good teacher should not need to use corporal punishment. Indeed, children should be encouraged to work with teachers because they respect them and not because they are afraid of them. It follows that corporal punishment is in fact a way to avoid the real issue which, for the teacher is how to gain and retain the respect of pupils and students.
Simon Forshaw, United Kingdom

Definitely At the moment the kids are calling the shots. i.e. the tail is wagging the dog
Gordon Mills, England

No, absolutely not. Isn't this a breach of human rights? What about evolution - if we introduce corporal punishment again then we haven't really evolved. Try and find another way to discipline children - like talking to them and asking them what is the matter. Being insistent with them. Showing them you care. This worked for me when I was a troublesome student.
Selina, Hong Kong

What an absolutely beastly idea! Corporal punishment went because it was unnecessarily hard on students. Bringing it back just because some atavistic septuagenarians think so would be a true pity.
Sarang Gopal, Tanzania

When I was a boy, the discipline given to students was quite severe as compared to what we see today. But, today a 'teacher' would likely be arrested or sued for damages for exercising the kind of discipline they used to do. Things have changed so drastically in the classroom; but, the same holds true for the discipline given to children in families. Parents don't concern themselves with their kids as they used to. And, we are paying a price for it. Discipline should start in the home. And, the question as to what goes on in the classroom would be less of a problem to face.
Dave Adams, USA

Try this one...recently there was a case in one of the states in Malaysia, where a 16 year old boy was caught stealing. In order to avoid the boy being expelled the father had to agree to come in to the school and administer corporal punishment (caning) to his child in front of the school assembly. Nothing like making parents responsible huh? I wonder how many people in UK would find this story shocking if they read it in one of the newspapers there.......a great many I would suspect. I was beaten as a child...both at home and at school...all it did was make me more careful not to get caught!
Mike, Singapore

I am a teacher, who doesn't like corporal punishment. If you smack your pupil, at first, he or she looks obedient, but later, he or she tends to be violent among peers. In our country corporal punishment has been strictly prohibited since some kids were, unfortunately, killed by their teachers by accident. I observed several schools in England last year but I did not experienced bad behaviour that should be prevented by corporal punishment.
Haru Okamoto, Japan

As an absolutely last resort, yes. Rough, yobbish behaviour is a serious problem in large state schools and some kids, due to bad parenting, need to learn that their attitude is unacceptable. State schoolteachers are chronically underpaid and undervalued in the UK, and need to be able to punish obnoxious classroom yobs before they develop criminal tendencies. Due to the increasing problem of discipline in state schools, many bright young people turn down the possibility of a teaching career.
Carys, UK

Absolutely not - by perpetuating violence, all you do is teach kids not that violence itself is wrong, but just that only strong people are entitled to it. Teachers are expected to give pastoral care and work in concert with social services and other care bodies. How can a child who's been beaten in school talk to a teacher about violence at home? The way people treat their kids reflects the values of their society: I know for sure that I don't want to live in a place that brutalises its children.
John Wisehammer, UK

Having left school three years ago, I feel that corporal punishment has been sadly lacking in the classroom. I don't want to see the return of caning for offences such as not handing homework or for mild misdemeanours, but for offences such as bullying, disruption, and abusiveness there needs to be some other form of punishment other than expulsion. If corporal punishment were to be brought back (highly unlikely) it would need proper guidelines so that it can't be abused and naturally the parent would have to consent.
Darren Winter, United Kingdom

Re-introducing of corporal punishment may bury the ideas that a person is born with an indivisible right for life, safety, and dignity; first of all in the minds of the punished children. It would be absurd to smack children and teach them about the Declaration of the Rights of Man a minute later.
Andrej, Russia

My girlfriend used to be a teacher but left when it became too much for her. The last straw was when a pupil attacked her in her own classroom with a home-made weapon. For those who say, "corporal punishment teaches that violence is acceptable," the reality is that many already believe this, and leaving them unpunished spreads that belief. For those that say that it's morally unacceptable: it's up to you to provide a "workable" alternative. Bleating about "underlying problems" is stupid. The underlying problem for all too many teenage thugs is that they know violent behaviour on their part will be accepted indefinitely by authorities too feeble to set clear and un-passable limits.
Alex Swanson, UK

No! Physical violence is not the answer. However there does need to be some alternative form of discipline both at home and at school. Children do need to be taught right from wrong and different children need different solutions. A school in Kent was reported (about a year ago) to have set up an 'isolation room' where disruptive pupils spent whole days with no contact with their peers. If this worked it could possibly be extended. If not we need to keep trying different solutions until one is shown to work and then roll that out. (However, the campaigners would probably say that it is a child's basic human right to have access to the classmates that he seeks to disrupt!)
Keith, UK

How could the British public advocate the return of corporal punishment to schools when there was a man jailed for smacking his child? If parents aren't allowed to smack their kids to discipline them then why should the onus be placed on teachers.
Lynn, Scotland

I went to a Christian Brothers school were corporal punishment was pretty much the order of the day. The brothers used to beat us with a leather strap. Telling your parents it happened did little to stop it as in most cases it would have earned me another beating with my Dads buckled leather belt. I have to say the discipline was harsh but it did keep us in line. As we now live in an era were kids actually take guns to school, perhaps a few strokes of a cane or a strap is the only answer to bad behaviour.
Steve Price, Ireland.

Today's classroom discipline is an unfair burden on both the teachers and the majority of pupils. What many people forget is that there are people suffering because without the cane, or any reasonable alternative, innocent children are missing out on their education because no one is stopping a few rowdies from running riot.
Kim, England

My wife, a teacher, told me of a parent who on parents evening came up to her and demanded that she should discipline her daughter (the mothers) and make her behave when at home, go to bed on time etc, as the mother did not have time to. Faced with this sort of parental support one has to wonder if the ability to use physical force within limits will be enough? Children have waved knives at my wife, whilst high on drugs - the teachers need to be able to do something
Dave, UK

It worked as 40+ years ago, so why after its abolishment have our younger generation gone (and lets face it) downhill rapidly since? I think everyone knows the answer
Mark Perris, England

Attending school during the 1950s and 60s I was paddled a few times mainly by the football coaching staff for prior season mistakes. I was punished for mistakes I made and tried not to make them again. It did nothing to mould who I am today. So my feeling are bust the little tykes butt a few times. But, child abuse is another story.
Eddy, USA

It all depends on what you do in the name of corporal punishment. The school authorities should be free to choose the form of corrective action to bring up its students as long as it does not make the student a physical or psychological wreck. In my view while a single teacher should be able to "punish" a student of non-physical nature such as writing lines, a second opinion should be sought before making the student to do physical exercises or a canning. That would prevent a teacher to inflict punishment out of anger.
Vijith Seneviratne, Sri Lanka

I don't think schools should teach children that violence is an acceptable way of solving conflicts
Erik Martino, Denmark

Yes! I went to a school that used corporal punishment as a last resort. I certainly kept me on the straight and narrow! Nannying kids is a stupid way to bring them up, and produces many selfish brats who never learnt how to discipline themselves when faced with problems.
John Atkins, Singapore

I am a primary teacher in England and have trained and worked in inner city schools with violent pupils. None of them would have responded well to physical deterrents. They would have responded to a curriculum that allowed for individuality. We live in a world that puts far too much emphasis on passing exams in a limited range of subjects. England is a prime example of this with testing at age 4/5. (We call it baseline assessment). People are individuals and have a wide range of abilities, we are not all of one mind. Children should be given the opportunity to have a say in their own education. I feel this would help with behaviour problems. All the children I have worked with have talent, not always in those areas we deem to be appropriate. Provide children with a responsive ear and the resources to enable them to be productive members of our society.
Elysa, England

As a beaten child, once a teacher, now a grandparent, I say no to any physical punishment. Bullying stems from unmet needs, often from being physically punished at home. Small classes with teachers who want to teach and are trained to teach find alternative ways to manage unruly children. All schools need more resources for many different kinds of behaviours. Beating is no answer.
Naomi, Brit in US

Corporal punishment come back? What a ridiculous idea. It was ineffective and cruel in the first place next thing someone will be suggesting that fathers should be allowed to beat their children with a belt again. Quite rightly we have laws preventing cruelty to children and there is absolutely no need for things to change. Yes, there is less discipline in the classroom, but that is due to poor teacher training and a general lack of guts from heads and teachers to confront parents over their children's behaviour. The reason for poor education levels in this country is the weakness of teachers and not the actual ability of them to teach.
Andrew Leonard, UK

Yes, in moderation - I was struck at school and I deserve the punishment I got. It worked too! I'm not saying beat children but a short sharp shock works.
Chris, UK

The use of corporal punishment had little or no effect on children who were regularly punished in this way. The example set by the society in which you live often determines the behaviour of the people in that society. The idea that inflicting direct pain on individuals will change their behaviour is totally misguided.
Peter Cameron, Hong Kong

No, definitely not. Violence and aggression have never been a good method of educating children. However, there is a definite discipline problem, which needs to be solved. There are other workable systems for teachers who are adequately trained and motivated. Other forms of punishment and other forms of reward. Children generally are not born evil... If they become uncontrollable then there must be a cause. Since problems often begin at home, I feel there must be much more co-operation between parents and schools.
Vivien Cooksley, Cyprus

Many kids should quite simply not be at school after the age of fourteen. They should be working, but be given loads of chances to go back into education later. The money that is spent on trying unsuccessfully to educate them should be used to subsidise employers so they give them jobs.
Tony Robinson, England.

As a teacher, I'd agree there are students who do not seem to enjoy learning. That is the problem - find the way to turn them on to their subjects, make it interesting, and a lot of disruptive behaviour will fade. However, for this to happen requires teachers who are not exhausted with work load plus administration, and leadership at the top of the school that actively and positively promotes positive staff/student relations. For students who are sabotaging the learning of others, the parents should be involved, if necessary becoming involved in the classroom, to assist their child. The main thing is to turn the kids on to learning. And not accept defeat. I would however support strictly controlled corporal punishment, but only for students at college/high school.
Shelly, New Zealand

The power of teachers and headmasters as well as the Bobby on the Beat has been eroded. A swift clip around the ear or a kick up the backside stopped many a kid from becoming a real criminal.
Buccaneer, UK

One question: how many of you pro-corporal punishment adults would submit to it yourselves (say, if a police officer bent you over your car and whacked you with a cane for running a red light or speeding; or if your boss spanked you for being late to work) without feeling your civil rights were being violated? If you believe children should be subject to physical punishment, fair is fair.
Kevin Dawson, USA

Why return to a measure that was a failure before? Shouldn't we be looking at something more constructive? You cannot produce rational thinkers by beating the daylights out of them.
Tom, Australia

The slipper and the cane are just an admission of defeat. "I can't make you behave therefore I will beat you" is no solution. It will merely tell pupils that if all else fails then enter into physical violence to solve the problem.
James Williams, UK

Absolutely not, it teaches children that violence is acceptable - it is unacceptable. Corporal punishment is not conducive to a learning ambience.
Peter Crawford-Bolton, UK in US

I was brought up when doing something wrong meant physical punishment - both at school and at home. Unlike a lot of youngsters today, I, like my parents, have respect for other people and their property, and I have no violent tendencies. Sadly, like in adult life, wrong doers are given too much of an easy time.

As someone who has been punished myself at school I believe it is a deterrent to troublemakers in the classroom and the school. But this is not the solution, you have to ask yourself how are these children brought up. I believe the fault lies with the parent and not the child.
David Hyndman, N. Ireland

As adults we have choices to make. Do we want to grow old and be at the mercy of thugs who have been taught in schools (and perhaps at home too) that violence is an acceptable way to handle conflict? Or would we rather find ourselves in the hands of a new generation who have learnt to manage others with dignity and respect? Would it not be much better to teach children how to manage Relationships (as well as Reading,'Riting and 'Rithmetic)? Getting on with people in a non-violent manner is not magic. It is a skill to be taught.
Cliff, UK

A different perspective is put on your education if you think that your my teachers could be physically violent towards you.
Wendy, UK

The children who would once have had corporal punishment are the very same children that are demonised by the press when they behave as they do on the streets, yet when they misbehave in schools it is seen as the school's fault. While corporal punishment is not the answer, expecting teachers to deal with the kind of behaviour which goes on in schools is naive.
Something needs to be done for the sake of the vast majority of children whose education is ruined by a minority. The Governments answer is to force schools to keep those pupils in the classroom when all concerned know that this merely perpetuates the problem and robs the majority of a better education.
Muiris Mag Ualghairg, Wales

I was smacked at home by my parents and once got the ruler across the palm of my hand at school - I deserved it - and I never got hit again - believe me it works.
Lori Davies, UK
I am in total agreement with re-introducing corporal punishment. I was smacked at home by my parents and once got the ruler across the palm of my hand at school - I deserved it - and I never got hit again - - believe me it works. Children remember unpleasant experiences and unless there's something seriously wrong with their brain box they don't want to repeat pain too often.
Lori Davies, UK

You can get half the people to support almost any damn fool idea. That doesn't make it right, nor does it make it valid way to determine public policy. Whether flogging school children or executing criminals, violence will beget violence.
R. Mcnaughton Phillips, USA

It's not fair - it could damage a kid's body.
William A Whitby (age 10), USA (used to be UK)

Although pop psychology says violence breeds violence - but through experience it is fair to say that the liberals have to compromise - as it just is not working children need to be aware that they cannot get away with socially detrimental behaviour. However how can we stop abuse of such authority by equally mindless teachers?
Steven, England

How many of us go to work each day and carry out our jobs under an ever present threat of abuse and violence? Teachers, Nurses, Doctors, Policemen and a myriad of other public servants all do on our behalf.
Teachers in particular have to do this on a daily basis, dealing with our "little angels" who themselves are fully aware that should the desire take them, they can almost get away with murder. I'm amazed by how easily many people commenting on this issue use the word barbaric. I can only assume that they would use the same adjective to describe the quite serious assaults that take place daily in our classrooms by pupils on defenceless teachers.
Counselling or a stiff talking to does not and never will stand up to the threat of violence, which after all is what corporal punishment is, when it comes to dealing with a violent and in specific cases an unruly child. The problem we have at the moment is that our children are no longer afraid to hit their teachers, steal our cars, vandalise our phone boxes and bus stops, beat to a pulp our elderly and infirm. They have nothing to fear. They can threaten the rest of us with violence and regularly carry out their threats, knowing that all society wields is the "threat" of a caution, community service or time off for good behaviour. We persistently shy away from this issue and meanwhile a growing minority of our youth runs riot in our towns and cities.
Cy Eze, England

The idea of a modern 15 year old being scared of a balding 54 year old History teacher with a slipper just doesn't sit well in my head!
Jonathan, Denmark
I'm sorry but I think it's really too late... The idea of a modern 15 year old being scared of a balding 54 year old History teacher with a slipper just doesn't sit well in my head ! The world and society has moved would probably be on their mobile phones whilst bending over !!! The only way to control modern kids is through their pocket thanks to the commercial society we've managed to create ...fine them a months worth of phone credits!!!
Jonathan, Denmark

The people who are so strongly against corporal punishment seem at a loss to offer a working solution as to how violent and disruptive children should be handled. If corporal punishment is not the solution please give a "liberal" solution that will work and make classrooms safe again. It is the duty of parents to teach children right from wrong, should they fail, because they have been to lenient, then instead of inflicting corporal punishment on the children maybe the parents should face a hefty fine and jail sentence to compensate those people who are wronged by the off-spring of parents who couldn't care in the first place.
Gretl Coudrille, UK

Agreed, corporal punishment is not an acceptable form of punishment. However in response to Chris Klein's point, it is wrong to equate the way one treats a child with the way one treats an adult. I have never told one of my subordinates at work to "go to his bedroom and stay there until he has something nice to say" either but I'm sure that's a reasonable chastisement for a kid.
Seriously the way forward is to restore the perceived authority of the teacher. These are degree educated professionals for goodness sake. Successive governments have reduced them to administrators - implementing a syllabus set by the government with minimal consultation. The whole concept of professional judgement has gone out of the same window as has public regard for the profession. No wonder kids take no notice of teachers - if the rest of society doesn't respect how can we expect children to?
Richard, UK

I was at a relatively rough secondary modern school when corporal punishment was banned and classroom order went rapidly downhill within a matter of weeks.
Neil Halliday, England
I was at a relatively rough secondary modern school when corporal punishment was banned and classroom order went rapidly downhill within a matter of weeks. Even then, as I watched those in my class who couldn't be bothered to do anything but throw chairs and books around (often at the teachers in later years), I thought how quickly the troublemakers would be brought into line with even just the threat of the cane.
It's all very well bleating on about the rights of the child, but what about adults, or other children, who are in regular contact with vicious (and the word 'vicious' can be applied with alarming frequency these days) juveniles who will absolutely not respond to anything other than brute force. Kids have to be taught right and from wrong, that there is a type of behaviour that is just not acceptable and if they can't understand that through simple reasoning, being treated like adults or empathy for those on the receiving end then why shouldn't they be punished? If their parents won't provide proper role models or values then the schools should.
Neil Halliday, England

The automatic assumption is that reintroduction of corporal punishment means severe beatings and caning. The problem is that the complete lack of discipline amongst many of today's children demonstrates that no effective alternative has been found to what is a natural form of punishment. We kid ourselves that we live in a non-violent 'civilised' society but we are never more than a small step from behaviour that is described as barbaric. Therefore corporal punishment in measured amounts should be returned to schools as no alternative has been found and it would help stem the tide of evil behaviour that becomes crime and serious anti-social behaviour amongst adults.
James, UK

Corporal punishment wouldn't be required in schools if parents did their job in the home. Unfortunately, too many parents are lazy and slipshod bringing up their children and leave it to the schools to teach values, respect and responsibility to their offspring. Clearly, these are the duties of parents.
Gerry B, Scotland

Children and young adults need to be guided. They need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to make amends for any disruption and damage they might cause; i.e. vandals should clean up vandalism, bullies should run favours for their classmates. Corporal punishment may not be a good solution but unsociable behaviour shouldn't be left unchecked.
Karen, UK

Corporal punishment is ineffective as it does not take into account why children are naughty, but just punishes the naughtiness.
Grainne Phillips, Ireland
No, corporal punishment should not be brought back into schools. Corporal punishment is ineffective as it does not take into account why children are naughty, but just punishes the naughtiness. If we want to deal with disruptive pupils in the long term then we have to look to the reasons the child has been disruptive - are they having problems at home, are they being bullied at school? I have seen far too many nuns and priests in schools effectively torturing children under the guise of corporal punishment to have any faith that it can be useful as a method of discipline.
Grainne Phillips, Ireland

Corporal punishment should never have been outlawed in the first place. The problem as with capital punishment is that there are too many do-gooders, who fail miserably to come up with any alternative solutions. Maybe if there were less do-gooders around shouting loudly about human rights there would less victims in society.
ND, England

The use of corporal punishment in schools will not bring discipline back into the classroom. What is needed is more support for families in the home. Help with parenting skills and help when things start to go wrong.
Sue Auckland, England

The school I went to as a pre-teen, run by Benedictine monks, used the cane with excessive force. To this day I can not respect men off the cloth. BUT in the next school I went too, the cane was used as the last line of defence. In the 5 years I attended the school it was used only twice, both occasions for bullies; it's still amazing to me that even the biggest bully could be reduced to a blubbering baby. Incidentally the bullies did cease there bullying.
I do believe a school needs the last resort punishment, but it should be just that¿the last resort. I do not believe in violence against my fellow man, but sometimes a little is needed to bring one into line.
Francis, USA, ex UK

When I was a teacher there were one or two ringleaders and many followers amongst disruptive pupils. Corporal punishment had little effect upon the ringleaders, but acted as a deterrent to the weaker followers. The result? I was able to teach the children who wanted to learn, who today are often the unheard victims of classroom disruption.
T. Phillips, Greece

Could the 'upsurge' in support for this barbaric practise just be the result of too many badly thought out liberal policies towards child discipline, that has lead some parents into believing that the beating of children will improve matters?
J Malcolm, UK

This is a cruel, humiliating and barbaric way of punishing children.
Janet, UK

No of course it shouldn't be brought back. This is a cruel, humiliating and barbaric way of punishing children. It is a pointless, act of violence, and we know too well that people who experience violence often become violent themselves. I doubt in any case, that it will alter children's behaviour. There is no place for this in a civilised country.
Janet, UK

Discipline in schools can only come with the support of the parents. Corporal punishment is against the law just about everywhere in the US, because it was often abused and kids were sent home with bruises or even broken bones. Physically hitting the child is not necessary to maintain order in the classroom if a simple phone call home will solve the problem. The difficulty comes when the teacher calls the parent and gets no response, or worse, the parent supports the child over the teacher.
Chris, USA

Fighting or bullying is a common problem in schools. I'm not sure it is consistent to tell children that it is wrong to cause pain to their fellow pupils but it is okay for them to be physically punished for breaking rules. This only encourages children to believe that violence is a valid solution to life's problems (rather than a last resort) or that violence is okay as long as you make the rules.
S Moore, Switzerland ex UK

No corporal punishment should not be brought back. For a start it just teaches the children that phisically assaulting people is the best way to resolve a problem. Secondly, Why should it be legal to beat a child when it is illegal to do the same to an adult.
Many people have said that corporal punishment has not harmed them. Fine, I can accept that, but if the teaching staff felt the need to use it then the treat of a beating did not help to keep order in the class did it?
Carl Minns, England

Some thing needs to be done and if this is the solution then so be it, but only for serious instances.
Rebecca, UK
In the past corporal punishment was carried out for very minor offences like not handing home work in which I do not agree with, there are other ways and means of getting round that, but in this day and age when some pupils think they can get away with anything, some sort of punishment is needed more than a removal from the class.
As a young child at primary school and high school, I was tortured and eventually had my leg broken in 2 places. The person who did this got no punishment because a story was made up and he got away with it. I was in pain for 5 months and he got away with it, that's the sort of behaviour that needs proper punishment, not a don't do it next time.
Teachers are sometimes subject to physical abuse from pupils but they can not do any thing to defend them selves because if they do, they are at fault!!! Some thing needs to be done and if this is the solution then so be it, but only for serious instances.
Rebecca, UK

No. I will not allow any person, including teachers, to physically assault my child.
KJD, England

No! My wife and I have six children and we never use physical violence to punish or coerce. If I struck one of my subordinates at work for allegedly unacceptable behaviour, I would quite rightly face prosecution for assault. Why should children be treated differently? Corporal punishment tells children that violence is an acceptable form of coercement; it isn't.
Chris Klein, UK

I can't believe that we are still having this discussion in the year 2000. It's a barbaric futile exercise. 50% of people would like to see the return of public hanging but we're not suggesting we bring that back, or are we?
Eddie, UK

There used to be a saying "spare the rod and spoil the child" I'm not saying children should be beaten but I do thing that the short sharp shock can work wonders. If children are taught right and wrong at an early age they turn into responsible adults. If they get away with everything as a child they'll continue to expect this in adulthood.
I was smacked when I did wrong as a child and I still love my parents dearly and have a respect for authority and the rules of society.
Amanda, UK

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See also:
07 Jan 00 |  Education
Parents 'back corporal punishment'
01 Feb 99 |  Education
Schools demand right to corporal punishment
12 Jan 99 |  UK
Smacking children 'does not work'

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