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Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 21 2010 at 8:56 AM
Rechabit 

 

Why have we as a society become so squeamish about corporal punishment ?

Most civilised societies depending on your definition of civilised, have abolished school corporal punishment. Why ?

Why are we outraged at the thought of a schoolboy or girl being caned ?

We seem to object to the idea of an individual having the authority to inflict a measured amount of pain as a punishment. Why ?

Six of the best was a salutary punishment that hurt, it was meant to, as those of us that received the dreaded six of the best can all to readily testify to. What is wrong with that?

The cane was a deterrent as well as a punishment, most of us can remember statements such as , Next time Ill have you caned, or Do you want a caning ? all of which had deterrent effect.

Most of the people in key decision making roles in this country were subject to the possibility of being caned, or were actually caned.

These people that are in authority are the very people that preclude the return of corporal punishment.

Now heres the dichotomy.

These are the very people that have their fingers on the nuclear trigger. They are presumably prepared to visit Armageddon on all living things. To annihilate every man women and child, to extinguish life in the most appalling manner. They send their armies to foreign lands in an attempt to enforce their values , endangering the lives of their own warriors and all those they come into conflict with. Is this in the defence of their own realms, no this is an extension of foreign policy by other means.

Isnt it somewhat incongruous that people who are prepared to do all this wouldnt countenance a dose of the cane. Why ?

When I deserved to be caned thats what happened I was bent over and caned. There was no prevarication if in the opinion of others I needed to be caned I was. We are now in the situation where if I was of an age I couldnt be caned, yet my country can inflict the end of civilisation as we know it. Why ?

 
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Another_Lurker

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 21 2010, 11:25 AM 

Hi Rechabit. You say:

Why are we outraged at the thought of a schoolboy or girl being caned ?

Who are 'we'? I'm not, you're not, a fair proportion of the habitu├ęs of this estimable Forum aren't, the people frequently to be found in newspapers and other media calling for the return of school corporal punishment aren't.

The reasons we don't have school CP lie partly outside the UK and are not necessarily under the control of those of whom you say:

Most of the people in key decision making roles in this country were subject to the possibility of being caned, or were actually caned.

The only thing the great and the good here are really to blame for is failing to control the traffic properly during a royal wedding so that pro-caning MPs who might have swung a crucial vote in favour of retention couldn't get in to vote.

The European Court of Human Rights decided unfavourably on school CP.

Our European masters don't like school CP.

At least one influential international body condemns caning as a cruel and unusual punishment.

Oh, and of course a large majority of current teaching staff in the UK are opposed to school CP, and most parents think their little darling can do no wrong and would be horrified (and probably violent and/or litigious) if he or she were caned.

Apart from that, caning is all set for restoration in our schools! happy.gif

You also say:

yet my country can inflict the end of civilisation as we know it.

I sincerely hope you're right! However the ND is so old, so stretched, so under-funded and so dependent on the USA that I wouldn't bank on it.

 
 
Alan Turing

European Judgements

April 21 2010, 2:50 PM 

Another_Lurker:

The European Court of Human Rights decided unfavourably on school CP.

Well, did they? I don't believe that they did. Corporal punishment in schools in the UK has been banned as a result of an Act of Parliament, rather than a decision of a European Court. Furthermore, Parliament was not required to make that decision as a result of any decision of a European Court.

To demonstrate this, I shall quote part of the decision of the House of Lords in the case Regina v. Secretary of State for Education and Employment and
others (Respondents) ex parte Williamson (Appellant) and others, 2005
. This was the case where some parents claimed that their religious beliefs required their children to be subject to CP at school, if their behaviour warranted it. The parents' claim was rejected, but this part of the opinion of Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Chief Justice, is relevant:

26. ... Belief in the use of corporal punishment of that nature would not be protected by article 9. But corporal punishment need not be administered with such severity or in such circumstances that it will significantly impair a childs physical or moral integrity. In Costello-Roberts v United Kingdom (1993) 19 EHRR 112 the corporal punishment administered to the claimant boy by the headmaster of an independent school comprised three whacks on his bottom through his shorts with a rubber-soled gym shoe in private. The European Court of Human Rights rejected the claim based on article 3. The court also rejected the claim based on article 8 (respect for private life). The court left open the possibility there may be circumstances where article 8 could afford, in respect of disciplinary measures, protection going beyond article 3. But the court considered the boys treatment in that case "did not entail adverse effects for his physical or moral integrity sufficient to bring it within the scope of the prohibition contained in Article 8": para 36.

27. The particular relevance of this decision for present purposes is this. Corporal punishment, even corporal punishment administered by teachers at school, can be administered in widely differing circumstances, in widely differing ways and with widely differing degrees of severity. Not surprisingly, in the Costello-Roberts case the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that not every act of corporal punishment of a child at school violates article 3 or article 8, even though to some extent it may adversely affect a childs physical and moral integrity. Not every act of corporal punishment will adversely affect a child's physical and moral integrity to an extent sufficient to constitute a violation of those articles. This being so, it is difficult to see how all corporal punishment of children, however mildly administered, is of its nature so contrary to a child's integrity that a belief in its infliction is necessarily excluded from the protection of article 9. It is difficult to see how corporal punishment, administered in circumstances and in a way which does not violate articles 3 or 8, can at the same time be so contrary to personal integrity that belief in its administration is ipso facto excluded from the scope of article 9.


The full judgement is here.

 
 
Alan Turing

By the way ...

April 21 2010, 6:26 PM 

Did you know that the European Convention on Human Rights explicitly allows both detention and lines?


Article 4 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

...

3) For the purpose of this article the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include:
a) any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention


Article 5 Right to liberty and security

1) Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
...
d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision ...

 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: European Judgements

April 21 2010, 8:42 PM 

Hi Alan Turing. You may well be correct as regards the non-culpability of the European Court of Human Rights in the matter of the abolition of school corporal punishment in the UK. You seldom get these things wrong.

However, you are clearly overlooking the fact that any organisation with 'Europe' or 'European' in its title is guilty even if proven innocent.

 
 
Rechabit

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 21 2010, 8:48 PM 

Interesting answers but not really addressing the fact that we ( society ) seem comfortable with a Trident in our hands but not a cane ?

 
 
KK

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 21 2010, 9:19 PM 

It is indeed puzzling that there are currently strong moves to imprison more people for longer, to use Tasers and pepper spray to subdue or to punish those who do not comply with police wishes, to exclude more from school and similar damaging practices but great squeamishness about smacking bottoms. Marks on bodies disconcert far more than internal and psychological injury of far greater consequence.

I have long been interested in why most are well behaved and have what I now understand is called `Resilience`. It seems that learning to cope with minor difficulties and disappointments, coupled with support from family and friends, is essential for growing up as a well rounded and fully functioning member of society.

Resilience now seems news worthy. A recent local TV item featured a mountain biking accident in which the `victim` ended up with the brake lever stuck through the flesh on the back of his hand from the wrist to the knuckles. We were warned repeatedly about the graphic nature of what we were about to see. And we did see the wound with the brake lever in place (the bicycle had been removed by kind friends), an X-ray, and the dressed wound after. The news worthy aspect was the victim`s response. He considered himself entirely fortunate - it didn`t hurt, no injury to bones, nerves or tendons, early and competent medical treatment, little damage to his bike, keen to get out again as soon as he was sufficiently healed.

 
 
Nathan

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 22 2010, 7:19 AM 

I think contemporary society shaped by the focus on the self and we have a belief in our own self importance-and I am just as guilty of this as others. We often take a victim mentality when things happen to us and afterwards we seek out ways to shield ourselves from things that hurt us. During my schooling I was caned four times and spanked with the ruler twice. Three out of my four canings involved "six of the best" and looking back three of the four canings were very much deserved. Looking back the stinging bottoms I suffered through and the marks that that lasted for a few days afterwards were not the end of the world.

As soon as I look at my actality,iew that I was a victim of the standards of punishment of the day then my viewpoint changes. It ions and the punishments that resulted from my actions from the viewpoint of the victim mentis the victim mentality that changes our perceptions rather than admitting that, in my case, I misbehaved and was punished appropriately. Instead we look to shield ourselves from blame and in this case applied an ideology with little basis in fact and decided that school children should not receive corporal punishment. I think now that why should the current generation missout of something that previous generations received Why should this generation not be subjected to school corporal punishment they are no more special than every other generation that has preceeded it.

 
 
hcj

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 23 2010, 10:01 AM 

KK wrote: It is indeed puzzling that there are currently strong moves to imprison more people for longer, to use Tasers and pepper spray to subdue or to punish those who do not comply with police wishes, to exclude more from school and similar damaging practices but great squeamishness about smacking bottoms. Marks on bodies disconcert far more than internal and psychological injury of far greater consequence.

The major difference between police or military action and punishments carried out in schools is the level of public accountability.

There is no pleasant way to say it, six strokes of the cane is a school punishment that causes actual bodily harm. For that to be acceptable, there has to be confidence that the teacher who decides on that course of action, and carries it out, is doing so for a justifiable reason and in fair measure. The punisher must not only have the trust of the parent who has placed the child in the teacher's care, but the child must have confidence that he or she is being treated fairly. Sadly, there were many occasions in the past when this was not the case.

I would like to focus on a comment by Nathan Donnelly in the "Corporal Punishment Survey" thread. He was caned for accidentally spraying a can of soft drink on a lady at a bus stop. Nathan says - The punishment was effective however I do not feel that I deserved to be caned for my offence.

I think Nathan's headmaster fell short by not making the reason for his action clear enough. Nathan should have been left in no doubt that he deserved it. Do other contributors believe Nathan Donnelly deserved to be caned? What facts about the incident would persuade you that it was the right course of action?

Many people have been left resentful of what appeared to be unjust decisions made in a fit of anger rather than an accurate appraisal of the facts. Even if the resulting injury was only superficial, a sense of injustice runs far deeper. That is what makes present day politicians squeamish about corporal punishment.




 
 
beanokid

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 23 2010, 10:48 AM 

The banning of the cane wasn't down to a single vote in parliament. Society has been using less and less violent punishments for years and years. (In the 1700s, criminals were hung drawn and quartered in public; in the 1800s people were hanged in public for quite minor offences; in the 1900s only the worst murderers were hanged; the 2000 we've stopped killing criminals altogether.) Most parents do still believe in giving small children a light "smack" or "slap", but you'd have to look hard for someone who believed in a severe whipping with a belt or slipper. That sort of thing had died out even before it became technically illegal. And there had been less and less CP in schools in the years before it was banned: in 1980, some schools still used the cane but hardly any still believed in the sort of pants-down birchings that were so popular in the Victorian period. Of course, it's quite possible that there was too much CP in the olden days, not enough now, but that in 1975 there was exactly the right amount. But I think that there was a gradual process, and successive generations said "Big people hitting little people? With sticks? Yuck!"

 
 
Rechabit

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 23 2010, 2:35 PM 


in the 1900s only the worst murderers were hanged

Sorry but that simply isnt true, in fact many innocent people were hung, Derek Bently, James Hanratti to name a few, were convicted and hung, but in all probability were innocent.

The case for the abolition of CAPITAL punishment , and or cruel or unusual punishment is not the same as the abolition of corporal punishment.

My main point though was about the duality of a country that posses weapons of mass destruction yet has abolished the cane. Logically it should have been the other way round. Yet CND is now but a voice in the wilderness. We are told that it is barbaric to cane someones bottom, but seem quite at ease with our potential to annihilate people. Dont cane someones bottom just incinerate millions. Whats even stranger is that most of our military capability is offensive rather than defensive. Two new aircraft carriers to be built and Trident to come.

Please dont misunderstand me am not a unilateralist I am reasonably happy that we posses a nuclear deterrent, it just seems odd that this country has developed the way it has in the last third of the 20th C and the first part of the 21st.

 
 
beanokid

Re: Six Strokes Of The Cane, Is It The End Of The World ?

April 23 2010, 6:08 PM 

>in the 1900s only the worst murderers were hanged

>Sorry but that simply isnt true, in fact many innocent people were hung, Derek Bently, James Hanratti to name a few, were convicted and hung, but in all probability were innocent.


You deliberately misunderstood me there. I was comparing the 1900s (when hanging was the punishment for what the Americans would call "first degree murder") with the 1700s (when you could be hanged for stealing relatively small amounts of property.) Of course, there were miscarriages of justice: that's one very good reason for not having the death penalty even for murder. I'm sure that if I said "In medieval times, traitors were hung drawn and quartered" you could have said "Along with a lot of people who were accused of being traitors, but were actually innocent". And when I said "At my school, you only got the cane for smoking, bullying and vandalism" someone could have added "What about little Johnny Smith who'd gone behind the bike sheds to find a puncture kit and got three of the best with the smokers". True, but off the point.


>The case for the abolition of CAPITAL punishment , and or cruel or unusual punishment is not the same as the abolition of corporal punishment.

No. It isn't. And the case for letting teachers slipper naughty bottoms is different from the case for letting magistrates sentence muggers to be birched. And banning Mum from giving a naughty toddler a little smack on the back of the legs is different from banning The Headmaster from whacking some teenaged rear until it's owner can't sit on it for a week. And the case for banning the cane in state schools is different form the case for banning it in private schools. And apples are different from oranges as well.

>My main point though was about the duality of a country that posses weapons of mass destruction yet has abolished the cane.

My main point was that, as a matter of fact, society has, for several hundred years, been becoming more and more squeamish about dishing out punishments which hurt. (Even in the parts of America where they still kill execute criminals they try -- or claim to try -- to make the process of being killed as painless as possible.) Someone had said that public opinion was still in favour of the cane, and that if traffic had been better controlled during the royal wedding, it would still be use. I don't think that's right.

I think the reason we got rid of the cane was that we found that we could do without it: most teachers can deal with most discipline problems without corporal punishment. The reason we haven't got rid of our killing weapons is that no-one has yet thought up a way of managing without war. I'm a bit of an old hippy and I agree that we should get rid of all our killing machines. But then I also think we should get rid of the cane (except between consenting adults, of course.)

 
 
 
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