The wounds of corporal punishment do not fade
South Africa is one of many countries in the world where corporal punishment is prohibited, and some of the laws related to this also forbid psychological abuse ("Teacher fired after beating pupil to death", June 26).
But as the saying goes: old habits die hard.
It is disheartening that corporal punishment is still being carried out in schools across the country.
In some instances, this has resulted not just in the psychological or emotional harm of children, but at times permanent physical trauma or injuries - and even death.
The recent decision to fire a teacher for assaulting a pupil would come as a relief to most people.
The Mpumalanga teacher allegedly hit the seven-year-old pupil with a board duster for missing school. This is just one incident.
Many others go unreported because other teachers are tolerant of this practice and parents, especially in rural and poor communities, are not involved in their children's education.
Another pupil, a 15-year-old from Mamelodi in Pretoria, was hospitalised recently after he was allegedly assaulted by a teacher for making a noise.
This allegedly happened in the presence of the principal at the Bophelong Community Independent School.
The Gauteng education department not long ago brought disciplinary charges against the Meadowlands Secondary School principal Moss Senye and a fellow teacher who had allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old pupil for being disruptive.
Although there are no clear statistics on corporal punishment in schools, a National Youth Victimisation study in 2005 found that at least 20.5% surveyed said they had been subjected to corporal punishment at home, while 21.2% suffered this at school.
Before 1994, corporal punishment was also a means of subjugation as opposed to discipline. Over time, the practice became deeply embedded in our society. Corporal punishment can also be humiliating.
In many areas, this has led to children dropping out of school. It is high time for South Africans to stand up against this form of abuse, which inculcates a notion that people must beat those who make them unhappy.
Most successful schools do not use corporal punishment .
Dealing with children daily can be strenuous, but educators should not inflict pain on children unless they want to produce disrespectful brutes.
In a country that has such a strong teachers' union sector, it should not be too difficult to coordinate education initiatives to teach the public that corporal punishment is a crime.