SIR FRANK PETERS :: The cruel and absurd corporal punishment of children in schools is one of the hottest subjects talked about around the world today, and rightly so.
Schoolteachers, collectively, have had the privilege and honour of being No. 2 on the list of the most highly respected of all professions, next to nursing, followed in third place by medical doctors. Wherever they go people shower them with respect and appreciation; and, more often than not, extend special privileges to them.
They are perceived to be spiritual leaders, surrogate parents, and temporary custodians of the ‘crown jewels’ and most prized possession and future of any nation – the children.
To a child, a good teacher is very special: an enormous influence, a substitute parent and dear friend, who watches over, cares, protects, teaches, encourages, and guides him or her in all that they do – and in return the teachers are shown love, respect and admiration for the rest of their lives and beyond. Many of us carry vivid memories of loving, professional teachers who have changed our lives for the good: I do.
School is a huge slice of life to a child. If you were to take the time to eves drop or accidentally hear school children talking; there is no doubt you will hear the names of teachers, how high they are on their totem pole, and blow-by-blow accounts of the happenings in the classroom/school day by day. So-and-so did this; so-and-so said that. Words uttered by a teacher in the classroom are captured and laminated in their mind seemingly for eternity. School and teachers occupy a major chunk of a child’s life; other than their home, it’s the world that’s best known to them – they spend most of their life there.
Many children perceive teachers to be all-knowing, all-caring and ‘right’ in almost everything and anything they do. Teachers are incapable of doing wrong, or so the child thinks.
Other than a child’s parents and immediate family, schoolteachers – rightly or wrongly – are seen as the people who can be most trusted on earth. Children believe teachers don’t lie or divulge false information. How would that be possible? – The trust and expectation are rock-solid. Besides their parents who love them ‘more than anything else in the world’ would not expose them to danger (they think).
Some parents, uneducated and ignorant, are unknowingly their child’s worst enemy; and an enemy of the state, as all law-breaking ‘teachers’ are. They share the ignorant belief that education and good behaviour can be beaten into a child and a child deserves corporal punishment as a deterrent to bad behaviour. (How sad.)
The more frequently the child is mercilessly thrashed in school, the less ‘discipline’ is needed in the home!
At one time, trust in the teacher’s judgement was beyond question. After all (rumour had it) s/he was educated, honourable, fair, knew what was best for the child, and was doing the school, child, family and nation a favour. (How sad.)
Children were brainwashed by past and present generations into believing corporal punishment was some kind of miraculous vitamin pill that was actually good for them, kept them on the straight and narrow, and although like vile tasting medicine, it had to be taken… for their own good. The credo was/is, make a mistake and you’re punished… not corrected or disciplined… punished! How sad for the child, nation and humanity. How sad for mankind.
The fact corporal punishment to children in the schools is being talked about more today than at any other time in history is benefitting the entire world. It’s cruelty and ill effects are no longer hidden behind closed doors.
Headteachers and teachers who once could claim ignorance to the long-term effects corporal punishment could cause children is no longer valid. There is Mount Everest high evidence stacked against the immoral, inhumane evil practice.
When Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed corporal punishment in Bangladeshi schools and madrassas, they defined it as ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.
Children worldwide are much the same. They know fear, anger, disgust, betrayal and sadness and secretly seek retribution. They bleed, feel pain, and cry heart-breaking tears that never dry.
In William Shakespeare’s classic book, The Merchant of Venice, there is a paragraph that reads: “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
Why would anyone of even a reasonably balanced mind think that beating a child is a good thing and it would make them better citizens? A damaged child today is a broken adult tomorrow and a potential threat to society. It’s a known fact that if you touch the petals of a beautiful rose, its bloom dies.
Let’s call a spade a spade, corporal punishment is an horrific crime against the child, against the state, against humanity and teaching authorities should not protect or support those criminals who perform it.
Defending a rogue ‘teacher’ brings no glory or pride to the profession. The fact the rogue has a wife, five children, a cat and two dogs to feed and is a dear family friend of the Headmaster, local politician, or whatever, should be of no consequence whatever. He or she happens to be in the wrong job and society would be best served by their absence.
In every child there are the makings of a saint. It’s absurd to have such heavenly qualities beaten out of them in a hellhole school by demonic authorities… absolutely ludicrous. The nation of tomorrow depends on the seeds planted today.
Stop corporal punishment now – NO EXCUSES!
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, a humanitarian, human rights advocate, a Goodwill Ambassador and Senior Adviser to European and Saudi royalty and a dear foreign friend of Bangladesh.