Readers’ Voice

30 September 2022


Debate on corporal
punishment

Here in the USA we are aware that Sir Frank Peters has long campaigned forcefully for school teachers to respect the Bangladesh High Court ban on corporal punishment and for parents to demand that their children be spared from it.
In his provocative reports he calls for an end to this violence against children and says "Any school that allows corporal punishment is a breeding ground for terrorists".   I enthusiastically agree with Sir Frank and it should be ended immediately.  Violence begets violence.  Children who are hit are more likely to be aggressive, to hit their siblings and to use violence against others including their spouses and their own children as adults.   
I have studied the subject extensively and written two books about it, "This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You" and "Breaking the Paddle". In my years of work as a school psychologist and a campaigner against school corporal punishment, I have talked to hundreds of children and families who have been cruelly impacted by this harmful practice.  Many children have required medical care.  Sometimes the scars are inside and ever-lasting; they experience long-term humiliation, anger, resentment, and hatred of school and teachers.  While teachers sometimes say they only use it as a last resort, many children are smacked for small infractions like missing questions on tests or talking out of turn.  At best, smacking stops misbehavior for the moment.  The student is unlikely to misbehave when the beater is nearby.   It does not teach children what to do in the future when a heavy hand isn't there to punish misbehavior.
The goal of education is to develop citizens to become self-disciplined, caring, responsible and productive.  Children learn best in a nurturing, friendly environment where they can be active, involved, able to ask questions, and to solve their own problems.   Teachers should ask themselves how they want to be treated when they make mistakes.  Don't they want to be able to learn from their mistakes instead of being smacked?  They should treat children likewise.

Nadine Block
Ohio, USA  

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