The Case Against Corporal Punishment.

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Corporal punishment was banned in South Africa, but some teachers continue to use this illegal practice. In the USA about 20 states still allow it. 

An argument often used by those supporting its use is that they can quickly control pupils by using it. However children tend to behave when the punisher is present, but often show more than usual aggression when they are out of school, because they have been stressed out by the corporal punishment and for other reasons related to the humiliation and so on.

Professor Holdstock who was previously at the University of the Witwatersrand in the Psychology Department describes the stresses caused during the punishment in which gastric secretions are thrown into turmoil and other bad chemical effects manifest themselves. He has evidence that resulting bad effects are long lasting. Indeed he says that it seems muscles of the body have a sort of memory of their own – will victims of corporal punishment continue to suffer pain into their old age?

A question that naturally arises is: Do people in countries that use corporal punishment show more aggression? Psychologists say that aggression can show up in subtle ways such as supporting wars, taking it out on weaker people and so on. Many African countries were reported to be using corporal punishment by STOPP (The Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment).

An experiment was done in which strict a teacher taught a class and then left and a lenient teacher taught a class and left. The children taught by the strict teacher behaved badly after the teacher left, but the children taught by the lenient teacher behaved far better and it was if that teacher was still in the classroom.

It seems that there is overwhelming evidence that problems result from the use of corporal punishment. People wanting more information can search for PTAVE on the Internet.

On the religious side much corporal punishment has been justified and many wars have been fought using various interpretations of religion. An argument against justification of corporal punishment using Proverbs  might be that Proverbs 31:6 and 7 say, “Give strong drink unto him who is ready to perish, and wine unto those who be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” (Authorized King James). Is drinking to this extent at all good?  I did a brief survey in P E where I discussed these verses in “The Herald” and it seems that some people hearing these verses justify their drinking using them.

 Could it be that the person writing these verses saw some benefit in drinking but did not have our present knowledge about the effects of drinking. In those days, for instance, they used to put sickness down to evil spirits, not having our present day understanding.


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