Corpun file 21695
AsiaOne.com, Singapore, 13 October 2009
Students distressed by public canings just days before exams
Parents wonder if punishment was really necessary and
Click to enlarge
Some primary school students were left traumatised after two
public canings were carried out at their school, just a few days
before the exams.
Parents of distraught kids wondered if the punishment was really
necessary and appropriate, reported Wanbao.
Within five days before the start of exams, two primary 5 boys
were caned in front of the whole school.
According to a parent, Mrs Liang, 40, her daughter who is a
student at the school in Sembawang had told her about how the
students were caned on stage.
Both were made to placed their hands on a table as they were
caned on their behinds by the discipline master. One student was
caned on Oct 2, while the other was caned on Oct 6.
"My daughter was very scared and cried when she told us
about the incident. She said she didn't dare to go to
school." said Mrs Liang, who used to teach as well.
"She also described how some girls even cried during the
Mrs Liang said she was worried that the incident could have an
effect on the students' emotional and mental state, and
consequently affect their results.
She felt the punishment meted out was too harsh and that the
school authorities should have considered other measures such as
counselling instead. The caning could also have been carried out
in private, instead of publicly, said Mrs Liang.
When contacted by Wanbao reporters on the issue, the principal
stated that the school takes a very strong stance on maintaining
good discipline and instilling students with the right values,
but maintained that it also adheres strictly to the education
ministry's guidelines. Corporal punishment is used only as a last
resort, said the principal.
The students who were caned had undergone counselling, and were
told why the punishment was necessary. The principal told
reporters that teachers would do their part in reiterating the
school's position to students and also reassure them.
Guidelines on caning students
According to another primary school principal interviewed by
Wanbao, the Ministry of Education has strict regulations on
disciplinary measures that can be taken.
For example, only boys are allowed to be caned and they
cannot be caned more than six times. It must also not be
done 'in the heat of the moment', and at least one
other teacher must be present when the punishment is carried
Parents will be notified after the caning and counselling
provided if necessary, said the principal. He also stated that
caning is usually only decided upon as a 'last resort'.
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