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Spokane Daily Chronicle, Washington State, USA, 11 June 1968
School Cane Use Remains Sore Subject
DUBLIN (UPI) -- The school cane, always a sore subject, has become the center in a bitter free-for-all among parents, teachers and education officials.
Behind the dispute lies a two-year-old decision by the Department of Education repealing an old regulation limiting the use of the cane or rod to the palm of the hands and extending the target area to include the posterior.
Since then the whole question of corporal punishment has been the subject of national controversy.
A recent television program devoted to discussion of caning nearly resulted in blows and went off the air to the sound of shouts and jeers.
"Just goes to show what can happen when you don't enforce discipline," commented one teacher after the show.
There doesn't appear to be any one general opinion. Parents and teachers seem equally divided on the whole issue of corporal punishment in the schools.
The Department of Education after its "painstaking" study of the question decided in favor of the cane as the best means of controlling pupils.
But it issued a stern warning to teachers against the abuse of the new regulations.
"Corporal punishment should be administered only in cases of serious misbehavior and should not be administered for mere failure at lessons," the department said.
The television program was conducted against a backdrop showing a variety of implements which parents charged were in common use in the. [sic]
Teachers angrily denied the charge and demanded proof. None was given.
The department's action in extending the use of the cane in schools under its jurisdiction followed teacher demands for a freer hand in maintaining discipline.
The regulations apply to those "national" schools -- those under state supervision and maintained with state money.
Teachers had been asking for some uniformity in punishment methods.
"Pupils had been well aware of the difficulties surrounding the subject and took full advantage of it," said a teacher.
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