South Africa 26.9.2013 06:00 am

Reinstating corporal punishment decried

Reinstating corporal punishment in schools will not stop pupils’ violent behaviour, the SA Council for Educators said yesterday.

Council spokesman Thembinkosi Ndhlovu said the recent violence in schools was disturbing, but tackling the problem with more violence was not the answer.

“Before we even begin to debate whether corporal punishment should be reinstated, the limits would have to be set,” said Ndhlovu. “Guiding principles would be needed, as educators would take it too far.”

This was after an online poll by The Citizen found that 65% of readers believed corporal punishment should be reinstated at schools, as it would instil discipline.

Corporal punishment is outlawed and the Gauteng Department of Education said any physical punishment could result in an assault charge.

The only acceptable punishments in schools were the demerit system, detention and picking up rubbish on playing fields.

Department spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane said Section 12 of the Constitution stated that no one should be punished or treated in a cruel or degrading way.

He said the SA Schools Act required public school governing bodies to draft a code of conduct for pupils. It must include the behaviours that will be punished and the punishments for different forms of misbehaviour.

The governing body may suspend a pupil suspected of serious misconduct, but may only enforce the suspension after the pupil has had an opportunity to tell (their) side of the story, he added.

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