Corporal Punishment -- Archaic or Reasonable Discipline Method?
International Journal of Law & Education (2012) 17(1), 73-86
16 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2012
The classic English case of Williams v. Eady (1893) had, for over a century, supported a teacher acting in loco parentis when inflicting punishment on a child, so long as the punishment was reasonable and given in good faith. But in response to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which calls for all to respect a child’s right not to be “subject to torture or to inhumane or degrading treatment”, many countries have banned the practice of using corporal punishment in schools. This might even include the use of reasonable force to prevent a student from injuring others or causing damage to property if it is seen as a form of discipline or punishment. Schools, therefore, have a difficult task of striking a balance between providing a safe environment for the whole school community and a child’s individual rights. This paper gives an overview of corporal punishment trends in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and Singapore, and then looks briefly at the jurisprudence of the courts on this issue. It then discusses the implications for employing or banning corporal punishment as a disciplinary strategy, and in particular whether corporal punishment, if carried out reasonably, could be considered a reasonable form of discipline, ensuring a safe and disciplined environment in which the school community, as a whole, might operate.
Keywords: discipline; corporal punishment; rights; violence
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation