mid-day editorial: Give corporal punishment a permanent rap

Published: Jan 20, 2017, 07:53 IST | mid-day correspondent |

Corporal punishment may be outlawed, but that has never stopped students from becoming targets of shocking callousness

Corporal punishment may be outlawed, but that has never stopped students from becoming targets of shocking callousness. A teacher in a Thane school thrashed a seven-year-old mercilessly while pulling her hair out, due to which the child has developed a gaping bald spot, as reported in a front-page story. The little girl’s crime was a delay in paying school fees.

It’s shocking that being a teacher, the individual was capable of such inhumanity. Also, the fact that the incident has not evoked a sense of regret is astonishing.

What makes the punishment seem appalling is that fact that she wasn’t responsible for the late payment of fees. A 7-year-old is less likely to even know how much her fees is or if her parents have paid it on time. The teacher should have contacted her parents and dealt with the issue in a civilised manner instead of behaving like a caveman. Also, payment or non-payment of fees is an administrative matter. Teachers should not be meddling in such affairs.

While strict action against the so-called teacher has been promised, if proven guilty, what no one stops to think is how traumatising it may have been for the child, who will have to live with this literally painful memory throughout her life. Any child needs to be handled delicately, but this child requires tad more than that now, from her parents as well as teachers.

Punishments during childhood can leave a permanent mark on the psyche, consciously or subconsciously shaping how we view and react to the world later in life. The school authorities must encourage her to keep her faith on teachers. Ensuring action against the errant teacher will set a much-required precedent. Such inhumanity cannot be tolerated. Intolerance of what’s wrong is the only right form of intolerance.

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