Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with the open hand or with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings. Corporal punishment is defined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as: “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.”[1] History

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Depiction of a flogging at Oregon State Penitentiary, 1908 Corporal punishment was recorded as early as c. 10th Century BC in Book of Proverbs attributed to Solomon: He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes.[9] Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.[10] It was certainly present in classical civilisations, being used in Greece, Rome, and Egypt for both judicial and educational discipline.[11] Some states gained a reputation for using such punishments cruelly; Sparta, in particular, used them as part of a disciplinary regime designed to build willpower and physical strength.[12] Although the Spartan example was extreme, corporal punishment was possibly the most frequent type of punishment. In the Roman Empire, the maximum penalty that a Roman citizen could receive under the law was 40 “lashes” or “strokes” with a whip applied to the back and shoulders, or with the “fasces” (similar to a birch rod, but consisting of 8–10 lengths of willow rather than birch) applied to the buttocks.

Such punishments could draw blood, and were frequently inflicted in public. Quintilian’s (c. 35 – c. 100) early and complete opposition to corporal punishment is notable. According to McCole Wilson, probably no more lucid indictment of it has been made in the succeeding two thousand years.[12] By that boys should suffer corporal punishment, though it is received by custom, and

Page 2 Corporal punishment should be abolished in schools Essay

Chrysippus makes no objection to it, I by no means approve; first, because it is a disgrace, and a punishment fit for slaves, and in reality (as will be evident if you imagine the age change) an affront; secondly, because, if a boy’s disposition be so abject as not to be amended by reproof, he will be hardened, like the worst of slaves, even to stripes; and lastly, because, if one who regularly exacts his tasks be with him, there will not be the need of any chastisement… Besides, after you have coerced a boy with stripes, how will you treat him when he becomes a young man, to whom such terror cannot be held out, and by whom more difficult studies must be pursued?

Add to these considerations, that many things unpleasant to be mentioned, and likely afterwards to cause shame, often happen to boys while being whipped, under the influence of pain or fear; and such shame enervates and depresses the mind, and makes them shun people’s sight and feel constant uneasiness … scandalously unworthy men may abuse the privilege of punishing, and what opportunity also the terror of the unhappy children may sometimes afford others. (Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, 1856 edition, I, III)[13]

Corporal punishment in schools should be abolished

Corporal punishment has been used in schools as a way of handling disciplinary problems. It refers to school rules which allow students to be punished using physical pain without causing injury. It is believed that using punitive method can promote students’ obedience and reduce problematic behaviour. As a result, it can decrease the number of disciplinary cases and maintain order inside the classroom. Indirectly, it will help to build students’ discipline. Thus, teachers can focus on teaching the students. However, I believe that corporal punishment will bring more harm than benefits. Therefore, the practice of corporal punishment in schools should be abolished.

The first reason why I’m against corporal punishment is because it can create an unhealthy learning environment. Students, especially the young children should feel safe when they are in the classroom. They need to feel comfortable inside the classroom so the process of teaching and learning can be optimized. If teachers often use corporal punishment such as caning or spanking, the children will feel threatened as they have the possibility to receive the punishment. This is not how the situation in a classroom should be because it will diminish students’ attitude toward school rather than building self-discipline. Some students might not want to attend school and skip the classes as they are scared to attend the classes.

This situation can lead to truancy which can increase the number of discipline cases. Harsh punishment will also hinder open communication between students and teachers in the classroom. This is because students will perceive teachers as ‘colonels’ who are ready to punish any students who misbehave. Furthermore, some students will be afraid of voicing out their opinion in classroom discussion. Teachers and students should have good relationship in order to optimize the process of teaching and learning. Using caning or spanking will Husaga (the right of the master of the household to corporally punish his servants) still permitted in Sweden during the 19th century. Peter Newell assumes that perhaps the most influential writer on the subject was the English

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