Should schools reintroduce corporal punishment for serious student misbehavior?


Spare the rod, spoil the child. Isn't that how the old adage goes? Well apparently the majority of teachers agree with it because over half of the teachers who took this poll believe that schools should reintroduce corporal punishment. The question stipulates that corporal punishment would be used only for serious student misbehavior, but who decides what constitutes serious?

Will there be strict guidelines of behaviour that warrants corporal punishment or will school principals be given discretionary allowance to punish the students as they see fit? All these questions need to be answered before the idea can even be considered. Generations ago when parents used physical punishment at home the idea of teachers administering the same punishments was not so disturbing. Nowadays many parents have turned to alternate disciplinary methods such as time outs to encourage good behaviour. Whether this is effective or not is still being debated. However, the fact remains that if parents are not using corporal punishment at home, then they probably won't want it used at school.

That being said, there should be some form of punishment that matches more serious misbehaviors. The student who came to class late and the bully who hits other students shouldn't both be going home with the same note from the principal. There are degrees of misbehavior and there should be degrees of punishments to match. The problem would be deciding appropriate disciplinary actions that are acceptable to parents and teachers alike.

Currently many schools suspend students for varying lengths of time depending on the misdemeanour committed. If this is not followed up at home with disciplinary action some students simply see this as a mini-vacation. Realistically the students incurring school suspensions are not the ones worried about homework assignments and trying to catch up with missed work.

If suspensions aren't the answer, and corporal punishment is not acceptable to parents, what other options are there? This very question must frustrate teachers to the point that they feel that reinstatement of corporal punishment is a viable option. May be it is and may be it isn't - only time will tell.