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The Role of Corporal Punishments in Education

By Osa Subscribe to RSS | December 15th 2011 | Views:
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What is corporal punishment? It is defined by the National Association of School Nurses that it is “the intentional infliction of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. It may include methods such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, use of various objects (paddles, belts, sticks, or others), or painful body postures." Corporal punishment such as spanking and hitting students vanished from private schools by the 1960s, but it is still allowed in public schools in 20 states.

Why this is still continued in some school? There is no logical answer to this question. When we look at the map on The Center for Effective Discipline's site, you will see that corporal punishment is still legal in southern and western states east of the Rockies. The northern and west coast states made corporal punishment in their schools illegal in the 1970s and 1980s. There are many schools where students are slapped by the teachers.

There was a case in a school where an English teacher hit the student with the duster for not concentrating in the class. As a result, the student was admitted in the hospital because the blood was oozing and the boy was kept for 3 days under observation.

Corporal punishment is a physical punishment which is given to a wrongdoer for the purpose of reforming them. There are three types of corporal punishments:

• Parental or domestic corporal punishment in which the children are punished by their parents or guardians

• School corporal punishments in which students are punished by teachers or school administrators

• and Judicial corporal punishment which is part of a criminal sentence.

Corporal punishments are illegal in some countries but in some places including Canada, Kenya, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand, they are still legal. Physical and other forms of humiliation and abusive treatment are not only a violation of the child’s right to protection from violence, but also counter-productive to learning. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment to the child. The Act states that no child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment under any circumstance. In August 2007, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights wrote to all the Chief Secretaries of States, providing detailed guidelines recommending that there should be no gradations while judging corporal punishment.

The Commission noted that “small acts” should not be condoned, but nipped in the bud, because they actually led to gross violations of set rules and regulations.

Emotional Punishments affect children much deeper than physical and other forms of punishments. Scolding abusing and humiliating; slapping by the opposite sex; making them stand at the back of the class; suspending them for a couple of days are some of the form of emotional punishment. Negative reinforcement is another form of punishment. The children are mentally oppressed by these punishments. Several State governments have also passed government orders to stop Corporal Punishments. But these acts can be turned into reality only when the parents and teachers understand the importance of them and provide children an environment of freedom and dignity where they can live in peace.

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