Editorial

Hitting children is wrong, as teachers should know

18 August 2019 - 00:00 By Sunday Times

An eight-year-old pupil's finger was broken when his teacher hit him with a hard plastic pipe. The Mpumalanga school did not inform the provincial education department of the vicious assault, which took place in May. In another incident, a video that went viral this week shows a Limpopo teacher slapping pupils across the face. Besides sparking outrage as they rightfully should, these incidents prompt the question: why are teachers still beating pupils, which is plain assault, when corporal punishment was banned in our schools in 1996?

Corporal punishment is defined as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort. A corporal punishment protocol developed by the department of basic education states that it could take the form of smacking, slapping or spanking children with the hand or an implement such as a whip, stick, belt, shoe or wooden spoon. The protocol outlines the roles and responsibilities of principals, teachers and pupils in dealing with corporal punishment. It says that teachers must accept the responsibility for creating an environment that will help children thrive and develop to their full potential...

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