‘If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.’
- Dr. Spock
What is your opinion on corporal punishment? What is corporal punishment? Corporal punishment is when a person in charge, such as a teacher, causes pain intentionally on a child as a punishment. The opinion is that it is used to stop unwanted behaviour and improper language in class. Teachers use corporal punishment to 'set an example for others'. In this day and age, some people still believe that corporal punishment is a good teaching system; because they think children are aware of the fact that if they misbehave, they will ‘pay for the consequences’. This 'barbaric display of punishment' should be looked down upon by society be it is unethical. Corporal punishment is an inhumane and outdated practice that can lead to injury, mental problems and violence. Yet, it still continues in many parts of the world, such as Kenya, Korea and half of the United States of America.
The cause of corporal punishment in schools results children getting hurt, both mentally and physically. I read that in a Kenyan school children who got punished ended up having bruises and minor cuts. In the worst cases, the effects were children who had sprained or broken fingers or frisky knocked-out teeth, internal injuries, and even death. Sometimes, verbal humiliation is also 'a form of corporal punishment’. Children who are constantly told unconstructive things about their work in class end up not doing their work at all. It causes a domino effect. This method of punishment makes the child think wrong ideas about life and shows cruelty that makes no sense to them. Children who are shown this kind of violence also tend to show violence to others, including their teachers, parents and friends.
Did you know it is illegal to hit your spouse, your neighbour, your employee or even your neighbour's dog, but in some places in the world, it is legal for your children to be hit by their teachers in school? This is outrageous and unfair. Would you like to be in that child’s position? It only leads children to cruelty and teaches them that violent behaviour is acceptable. They look at their teachers as their role models. If the teacher is aggressive toward them, they will retaliate in the same way to handle problems. Think about it. Would you like it if your children beat you or if their teachers beat you? What about their future? It gives them a downbeat view on growing up and gives them a warped view on school. There has to be other answers to handle troublesome behaviour in class besides corporal punishment, such as detention or extra work. Corporal punishment is not the 'last resort'.
Finally, corporal punishment can lead to physiological effects on children, such as 'depression, withdrawal, sleep disturbances, avoidance of school, learning problems, loss of self- esteem and delinquency.' Is this that we want for children? Teachers and parents are supposed to be taking care of children, not causing them more stress in their lives. Luckily, there are many people in the world opposed to corporal punishment. These people care, and so should you.
‘It’s not good enough, simply not good enough’
Why should we care about children, some may ask? Corporal punishment typically is carried out when students insolent towards the teachers, or if they misbehave. And if we continue to let the teachers beat children, it shows that we ‘turn a blind eye’ regarding children. If so they won't care if they disregard their teachers or parents.
Ending corporal punishment of children in schools will involve action. I propose there has to be changes in school rules and attitudes of people working with children and their families. Some ideas can be to find out the school's discipline code and be aware of your child's behaviour at home. Make sure parents pay attention to their children. There are less violent ways of discipline as well as helpful things that can facilitate children devoid of physical contact and resorting to violence.
It is 'internationally recognized in human rights law that children have a right to protection from all forms of violence, including corporal punishment in all settings', as well as at school and at home. This means that children have the same rights as any other person in a society and should be given the same amount of respect by not being harmed. ‘So please care about your children, and help us make all world a little bit better’. If we are all in agreement to end corporal punishment, then it will stop; yes it will stop.
'Raise your hand against smacking!' - Council of Europe