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Corporal punishment not a deterrent for indiscipline

2011-10-25 20:47:32
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Corporal Punishment perpetuates a cycle of violence. Perpetrators of corporal punishment often tend to justify their action by reasoning that being subjected to corporal punishment as children did not do them any harm. However, they are oblivious to the stark reality that they themselves are inadvertently trapped in a vicious cycle of violence. Adults resorting to corporal punishment, teaches children that it is acceptable to use violence as a last resort.  Wars are fought on this principle. However, just as there is no such thing as a just war, inflicting of pain on a minor, too, is unjustifiable.  Due to the vast differences in each individual’s biological makeup, temperament, cognitive endurance, and personality not every person possesses an equal level of resiliency.  Corporal punishment has consistently been found to lead to increased aggressive and destructive behavior, increased disruptive classroom behavior, 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 etc…
Punishing children maybe a successful deterrent to wrongdoings, however, fear is not interchangeable with understanding or realization. When a child refrains from engaging in a wrongdoing because he or she may be punished, it is his/her fear for punishment that keeps the wrongdoing at bay, not the self-realization of the moral implications of his action. Real discipline is not based on force, but grows from understanding, mutual respect and tolerance. Therefore, while corporal punishment maybe a good deterrent it is questionable whether, it a good teaching technique. Teachers should develop more effective creative, positive, non-violent, approaches to school discipline.
Sometimes corporal punishment becomes an outlet for adults’ pent-up frustrations, stress and masochistic tendencies rather than a genuine attempt to educate children. Children then are at the receiving end punishment simply decided by the mood of the teacher.
Children, as all human beings, are entitled to the right to respect for their human dignity and physical integrity, corporal punishment is a clear breach of the same. Severe Corporal punishment is simply unacceptable. While physical punishment may hurt the child insensitive verbal abuse can also leave scars that last a lifetime.
There may also be teachers that abuse their position of authority, gaining self-esteem through the humiliation of minors. Recently, there was a report of a teacher that allegedly forced a student to eat inedible produce. Such sadistic tendencies must not be tolerated.
The normalization of corporal punishment reinforces societal acceptance. It is looked at, as an inevitable part of growing up, as opposed to a problem that exists in society that needs to be addressed.
I am not opposed to the very institution of punishment however, on a comparative basis; the deliberate, repeated, violent and insensitive punishment is simply unacceptable.
The RED Movement is a youth movement committed to raising awareness of human rights issues, inspiring young people and catalyzing change in society. To join the movement or for more information, write to senel.wanniarachchi@gmail.com


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