Use the cane in school wisely

Friday June 22, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/22/focus/11527314&sec=focus

MANY are against the use of the cane in schools as corporal punishment to address problematic schoolchildren with discipline issues.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages in bringing back the use of the cane to curb indiscipline among students in government schools. Caning should not be a problem if it is supervised correctly.

The Education Ministry should weigh the pros and cons of bringing back the use of canes in schools. Many parents are against caning as a way to discipline their sons while an equal number are in favour as it is for their children’s own good.

If caning is allowed, only school heads and disciplinary teachers should be given the authority to do it. During my time studying in a mission school in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, besides the principal and disciplinary teacher carrying the cane, almost all the teachers were allowed to carry one – the most notable “cane” being the feather duster.

It had a dual role – the feathered part to wipe off dust, and the handle used as a cane. I remembered once my class teacher caned the whole class on the back of our palms with a cane for making noise.

This type of punishment, even a pinch on the body, should not be allowed and I am totally against it. Only hardcore, recalcitrant and disobedient schoolboys (schoolgirls should not be caned) found breaking the school rules should be caned, preferably on their buttocks.

This should be done behind closed doors in the presence of the class teacher, the disciplinary master and parents. Even that, too, with extreme care not to injure or tear the skin or leave any indelible marks.

Parents should be notified beforehand on how the caning would be administered. But there is no need for parents to be present to witness the caning.

As for public caning, the offence should be of the extreme nature in the likes of students involved in gangsterism, fighting and blackmailing or extortion. We do not want our boys to “graduate” as gangsters in government-owned schools.

Vandalism of school property and truancy should not be punishable, but counselling given instead. At the end of the day, the cane should be used wisely and with care.

MOHD FAIZAL ABDULLAH,

Kuala Lumpur

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