Corporal Punishment

I was interested to read in the Herald:

Nineteen years after physical punishment was banned in schools, a sampling of children suggests that while most want the ban, there is still some support for smacking as a form of discipline.

The reason I was interested is because my first ever poll was as a 17 year old at Rongotai College. I chaired the Student Council and we surveyed around 800 students (4th formers and up) on whether or not they wanted the school to continue with corporal punishment. So yes I was attracted to polling at an early age.

This was in 1985 and off memory 56% of students voted that they wanted corporal punishment to continue. The rationale was quite simple. They would rather have two strokes of the cane than an hour after school in detention.

We presented the results to the School Board and they were horrified that most students wanted to continue with corporal punishment, as they were seeking to end it. So they decided not to publish the results.

This then resulted not only in my first poll, but my first leak. I rang up the Evening Post and asked to speak to the Education reporter. And to my amazement it was a front page or page three story. I recall some board members wondering how the results got to the newspaper, and they were blaming each other. No one thought it might have been the 17 year old 🙂

Anyway back to this story:

Ten out of 17 Year 7 pupils at Rangeview Intermediate in Te Atatu said they would vote no in the referendum which says: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Most kids have a lot of common sense.

Yet 14 of the 17 children still report having been smacked and, despite the official doctrine of non-violence at school, most believe their parents were right to smack them.

Again this shows how silly the law is.

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