Assault over corporal punishment


Principal Rita Manu of Bethel international public school, Bengaluru, on Friday, allegedly beat up a class 4 student, B. Aakash, with a hockey stick as the boy was reportedly playing with water balloons.
The boy’s mother noticed the bruises and Aakash narrated the incident to his father Basavraj.

The parent, along with local residents, assaulted the principal on Saturday. This instance of corporal punishment and subsequent attack on the principal has given rise to several questions about treatment meted out to students and parents’ reaction after seeing the bruises of their wards.

“We can’t change a child just by beating him. It’s absolutely wrong and that, too, playing with a balloon is not a crime. In fact, the balloons are used as an activity in classrooms,” says Ms Radha Srikanth, a teacher of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Anna nagar, Chennai. She also adds that parents and others assaulting the principal shows their impatience.

The incident also indicates that corporal punishment does not happen just in government schools.
“Using a cane is more common in government schools than in private schools. But these days, government schoolteachers have stopped using the cane. The teachers indulge in corporal punishment because there is no one to question them,” says Mr S. Arumainathan, president, federation of Tamil Nadu students-parents welfare association. A government schoolteacher says that the teachers never beat students.

“Teachers in government schools have stopped using the cane. Punishment will not discipline a child,” points out the teacher.

While none supported the actions of the principal, neither did anyone condone the gruesome assault launched by the parents.

“The parents have no right to assault the principal. They should have taken up the issue with the school management. Students will take advantage of teachers and bring in their parents every time he/she faces a problem,” said a parent.

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