Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Corporal Punishment

Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offense, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to disciplinary measures taken to an offender whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings.

Corporal punishment may be divided into three main types:

  • parental or domestic corporal punishment: within the family -- typically, children punished by parents or guardians;
  • school corporal punishment: within schools, when students are punished by teachers or school administrators.
  • judicial corporal punishment: as part of a criminal sentence ordered by a court of law. Closely related is prison corporal punishment, ordered either directly by the prison authorities or by a visiting court.

As a teacher in primary School in BELIZE one of my great concerns is Corporal Punishment. Therefore, this blog is based mostly on corporal punishment in primary schools.
* Recently, BELIZE is undergoing a review on whether Corporal Punishment should or should not be completely removed from Primary Schools.
  • Corporal punishment in schools

School corporal punishment covers official punishments of school students for misbehavior that involve striking the student a given number of times in a generally methodical and premeditated ceremony. The punishment is usually administered either across the buttocks or on the hands, with an implement specially kept for the purpose such as a rattan cane, wooden paddle, or leather strap. Less commonly, it could also include spanking or smacking the student in a deliberate manner on a specific part of the body with the open hand, especially at the elementary schools level.

Advocates of school corporal punishment argue that it provides an immediate response to indiscipline and that the student is quickly back in the classroom learning, rather than being suspended from school. Opponents believe that other disciplinary methods are equally or more effective. Some regard it as tantamount to violence or abuse.

In most places, corporal punishment in Public schools is governed by official regulations laid down by governments or local education authorities, defining such things as the implement to be used, the number of strokes that may be administered, which members of staff may carry it out, and whether parents must be informed or consulted. Depending on how narrowly the regulations are drawn and how rigorously enforced, this has the effect of making the punishment a structured ceremony that is legally defensible in a given jurisdiction and of inhibiting staff from lashing out on the spur of the moment.

Geographical scope:

Corporal punishment used to be prevalent in schools in many parts of the world, but in recent decades it has been outlawed in most of Europe and in Canada, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and several other countries . It remains commonplace in a number of countries in Africa, south-east Asia , the Middle East and Belize.

In the United States, the supreme ruling in Ingraham v. Wright (1977) held that school corporal punishment does not violate the federal Constitution. Paddling continues to be used to a significant extent in a number of Southern states, though there has been a sharp decline in its incidence over the past 20 years.

In some Asian and African countries where it has been theoretically outlawed, it is still used in practice.

Much of the traditional culture that surrounds corporal punishment in school, at any rate in the English-speaking world , derives largely from British practice in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly as regards the caning of teenage boys. There is a vast amount of literature on this, in both popular and serious culture. Britain itself outlawed the practice in 1987 for state schools and more recently for all schools.

Many schools in Singapore and Malaysia use caning (for boys) as a routine official punishment for misconduct, as also some African countries. In some Middle Eastern countries whipping is used. In South Korea, male and female secondary students alike are commonly spanked in school.

In most of continental Europe, school corporal punishment has been banned for several decades, much longer in certain countries. As a formal deliberate ceremony, it seems to have been more common in northern/Protestant countries of Germanic culture than in southern/Catholic countries of Latin culture. Caning was not completely abolished until 1967 in Denmark and 1983 in Germany.

From the 1917 revolution onwards, corporal punishment was outlawed in the Soviet Union as contrary to communist ideology. Soviet visitors to western schools would express shock at its use. Other communist regimes followed suit: for instance, corporal punishment remains outlawed in present-day North Korea and (in theory) in mainland China.] Meanwhile, communists in other countries such as Britain took the lead in campaigning against school corporal punishment, which they claimed was a symptom of the decadence of "capitalist" education systems.

Justification and Criticism:

Principal David Nixon, a supporter of corporal punishment in schools, says that as soon as the student has been punished he can go back to his class and continue learning, in contrast to out-of-school suspension, which removes him from the educational process and gives him a free "holiday".

Philip Berrigan, another supporter of corporal punishment, says that the corporal punishment saves much staff time that would otherwise have to be devoted to supervising detention classes or in-school suspension, and managing the bureaucracy that goes with these punishments. Parents, too, often complain about the inconvenience occasioned by penalties such as detention or Saturday school.

One argument made against corporal punishments is that some research has shown it to be not as effective as positive means for managing student behaviour. These studies have linked corporal punishment to adverse physical, psychological and educational outcomes including, "increased aggressive and destructive behaviour, increased disruptive classroom behaviour, vandalism, poor school achievement, poor attention span, increased drop-out rate, school avoidance and school phobia, low self-esteem, anxiety, somatic complaints, depression, suicide and retaliation against teacher."

See pictures and facts about corporal punishment:

Corporal Punishment in Schools
Corporal punishment bruises

See Video showing Corporal Punishment:

Teacher Lashing student for teasing

Corporal Punishment in Belize:

In Belize (South America) Corporal punishment Was practiced by teachers and principals as a disciplinary measure. In the past years Corporal Punishment in Belize was only carried by principals as a last resort of disciplinary measure. Today, Government is undergoing a review of this issue on whether to completely remove it or not. Teachers are claiming that if this law is removed then government should have an alternative plan for disciplinary measures. Teachers strong point is that students come to school with l a lot of misbehavior and attitude problems.

On the other hand, The minister of education is strongly emphasizing that teachers that plan using the constructivist approaches will keep students more involved in class and have less misbehavior. Thus, teachers should be properly trained.

See the articles on Corporal Punishment in Belize:

Articles of Corporal punishment in Belize

should teachers be able to cane

NOPCAN wants to abolish Corporal Punishment in Belize

Minister of education comments on bill on Corporal Punishment at a House sitting.

Monday, May 31, 2010