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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 20:34 GMT
Schools lose legal fight over smacking
smacking logo
A group of independent private Christian schools have lost their latest legal bid for staff to be allowed to smack pupils with parental consent.

The action, led by Liverpool's Christian Fellowship School, said the law against corporal punishment breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

But the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling that the law did not interfere with parents' freedom to practise their religious beliefs.

They said the law allowed parents to administer physical punishment if their children misbehaved at school.

...it's a very poor day for democracy, for parental rights and for religious rights

Headteacher Phil Williamson

The school, which has the backing of parents, had sought a judicial review of the government's ban on corporal punishment.

Its lawyers quoted sections of the Bible supporting their case.

These included Proverbs, chapter 23:13-14: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."

They also quoted chapter 13:24: "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

House of Lords

Smacking was banned in UK state schools in 1986 and the ban was extended to include fee-paying schools in 1996.

The school said it would now take its case to the House of Lords.

Headteacher Phil Williamson said: "We don't believe we're given a really fair hearing, but we're going to do all that we can to go to the Lords and see this through to the end.

"We believe that parents have rights and we believe that there are religious rights that the courts have not recognised.

"So it's a very poor day for democracy, for parental rights and for religious rights."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Dave Guest
"The Christian Fellowship School was able to use corporal punishment until 1999"

Click here to go to Liverpool
See also:

14 May 02 | England
08 May 02 | UK
15 Nov 01 | England
02 Nov 01 | Education
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