The pros and cons of corporal punishment

corporal punishment: physical punishment, such as beatings.

Lately there have been numerous calls for corporal punishment to be re-introduced to schools, as many teachers struggle to cope with increasing truancy, disrespect and even violence. However, the issue of corporal punishment is complex and needs to be examined carefully.

There is evidence that corporal punishment does not make people more successful. Studies by sociologists and educationalists tracked the adult lives of children who were subjected to corporal punishment as children, and those who were not. Those who experienced beatings are not more successful in work, marriage or health.

Secondly, corporal punishment is against the constitutional rights of children. If adults are guaranteed protected against violence and harm, why should children be denied this right?

Supporters of corporal punishment believe that it is not harmful if administered properly. Indeed, they say that children prefer a quick punishment rather than a lengthy period of detention or extra work. Corporal punishment should not harm children, but should be a corrective measure.

Many religions sanction corporal punishment. Christians often quote the line “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. The Koran gives guidelines about suitable punishment. Using religion as a defence often goes along with saying that I was spanked a child, and it didn’t harm me, so what is wrong with it. So there are cultural and historical defences for corporal punishment.

I have personal experience of being hit, in circumstances that were unacceptable and unfair. I do not feel it was beneficial to me in any way. Having examined the arguments above, I remain opposed to corporal punishment. However, if it is reintroduced, strict controls must exist to avoid harm and humiliation.