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Heinous acts of corporal punishment continue

Corporal punishment

Opinion

Heinous acts of corporal punishment continue

If horrific incidents of corporal punishment were depicted in the time-honored Ripley’s ‘Believe It Or Not’, this one, unquestionably, would be featured.

I’m sure you’ve read or heard about the Dale Carnegie biblical-like, highly influential, life-changing book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. If you haven’t you owe it to yourself to grab a copy and read it. Countless millions of copies have been sold worldwide.

Regrettably, what you are about to read does not subscribe to Carnegie principles. Nor is it an example of how school principals should behave if trying to promote goodwill, harmony and respect between schoolteachers and pupils.

In many schools, sadly, there’s an abyss between teachers and pupils. A sort of ‘us against them’ attitude persists. Teachers demand respect from pupils (because they’re in authority and feel they ought to be given respect).

They forget or don’t know that respect (just like love) must first be given before you can expect it to be reciprocated.

There’s an incredible story unfolding as I write. It’s about a class IX teacher at a secondary school in Wakad chowk, Pune, India who no doubt had won over the love, respect and admiration of her pupils (as most professional teachers would love to do).

So much so, they all contributed to the purchase of a cake on her birthday to openly express their joyous feelings for her.

What an honor. What a wonderful human gesture. A beautiful eye welling experience, no doubt, for teacher and pupils, too. A dream come true and a golden memory built in the mind of the teacher that would never to be forgotten by her.

What happened next, however, boggles the mind. Some would call it misbehavior; others would liken it to an act of insanity, but most definitely it would have made Dale Carnegie would turn in his grave.

AV Unavane the principal of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation secondary school condemned the celebration and went on a corporal punishment spree, mercilessly beating up some students. One student’s finger was fractured during the disgraceful shocking incident.

Imagine how embarrassed the birthday celebrant teacher would have felt and the level of respect the entire school would now have for the principal.

The entire incident was shocking, disgusting, way below the standard expected of any school principal and should never have happened.

Adding insult to injury, instead of receiving an apology or any medical assistance the victims and injured students’ parents were warned not to register any complaint against the school authorities or there would be consequences.

As most pupils come from financially disadvantaged families, the principal forcefully took thumb impressions of illiterate parents on a paper agreeing not to raise complaints against him. Unbelievable!

In times of war the strong makes slaves of the weak. In times of peace the rich makes slaves of the poor. This is a shining example.

Some parents, however, demanded action be taken against the low-principled principal.

The PCMC’s education administration officer said appropriate action would be taken against the school authorities concerned.

One student said their intention was to surprise the teacher. “We merely wanted to cut the cake and wish her happy birthday. However, many students clapped and wished our teacher loudly. This alerted the principal and other teachers. The principal then summoned some class IX students to his cabin and caned them. One of our friend’s fingers was fractured in the incident. This frightened all the students,” she said.

One of the parents said, “This is physical harassment of innocent students who celebrated a teacher’s birthday. Instead of joining the party, the principal punished them. We condemn the principal’s behavior, who also forced parents to give their thumb impressions on ‘no-objection-to-the-punishment’ letters. The PCMC should act against the principal. All parents are worried about their children’s safety.”

Sanjay Naikade, deputy municipal commissioner, education administration officer, said, “This is a shocking and serious incident. I will seek clarification from the principal. If found guilty, we will take appropriate administrative action against the school authority.”

A student’s finger was fractured, but compare that to another heinous act of corporal punishment cruelty and disgusting behaviour that also stained the reputation of alleged educators.

If horrific incidents of corporal punishment were depicted in the time honored Ripley’s ‘Believe It Or Not’, this one, unquestionably, would be featured.

A 26-year-old teacher in Delhi Nagar Nigam Balika Vidyalaya went berserk in the classroom and threw a Class 5th student from the 1st floor!

I beg your pardon… what was that you just said?

Incredulous as it may sound, a 26-year-old teacher in Delhi Nagar Nigam Balika Vidyalaya went berserk in the classroom and threw a Class 5th student from the 1st floor!

The hapless 11-year-old girl sustained injuries to her jaw and legs. As per the police report, the teacher locked herself inside a classroom with students and violently threw water bottles around the classroom. She then picked up the girl, chopped off her hair with a pair of scissors and tossed her from the balcony.

Who needs enemies when you have teachers like that?

The inhumane heinous act took place last week. Understandably, the other students panicked and rushed out of the classroom as the teacher allegedly also threatened to harm some of them.

Just based on this report alone parents should be asking themselves how well they know the teachers/imams to whom they have entrusted their loved ones.

And those who don’t ask are failing in their duty as loving parents.

Parents who claim to love their children, but send them into an environment where corporal punishment is practiced are hypocrites in the highest order in the eyes of God and man. Or they are totally ignorant. Or both.

Nobody has the right to abuse a child –teacher, parent or Imam – anybody!

A law banning corporal punishment should not be necessary. Commonsense and a sprinkling of humanity should be sufficient, but even the academically educated can be ignorant of divine expectations.

Sir Frank Peters, a regular contributor to Blitz is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, and an anti-corporal punishment crusader.

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