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School CP - April 2005

Corpun file 15575

Townsville Bulletin, Queensland, 21 April 2005

Bullies draw calls to bring back cuts

By Vicki Campion

A DAMAGING report on gangs at a Thuringowa school has triggered calls to bring back the cane.

Caning advocates yesterday said students lacked respect, morals and guidelines - and a swift cut would do the job.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter said he strongly supported corporal punishment because a "paddy whack" established firm behavioural patterns.

"They then know what is right and what is wrong," he said.

He said this generation had staggering crime, murder and suicide rates compared with the caned baby boomers.

Charters Towers MP Shane Knuth said youth had lost respect for community elders.

"Fifty years ago juvenile crime virtually did not exist. They had the cane. It was effective," Mr Knuth said.

"We have now let the bleeding hearts' brigade get into the ears of the legislator. There has been a loss of respect for our elders and a good hard whack would solve those matters."

He said bullying at North Queensland schools proved the discipline used was not working.

Thuringowa MP Craig Wallace said he was concerned about discipline in schools.

"My personal opinion is we should bring back the cane," he said.

"I got the cuts when I went to school and it did not do me any harm."

The power to use corporal punishment in Queensland schools was removed from the Education (General Provisions) Act 1989 in 1994.

Education Minister Anna Bligh said there were no plans to bring back the cane.

Townsville MP and Minister for Child Safety Mike Reynolds said he did not believe corporal punishment should be brought back.

"Parents should play a bigger role in disciplining their children," Mr Reynolds said.

Burdekin MP Rosemary Menkens said support should be provided for parents to discipline their children.

"This is an escalating trend," she said.

"Teachers need resources to deal with bullies.

"Parents need support and training."

Herbert MP Peter Lindsay described corporal punishment as a barbaric practice.

"I am absolutely opposed to bringing back the cane in schools," Mr Lindsay said.

"I know older Australians will be supportive because they remember what it was like to get the cane."

Mr Lindsay said more effective discipline was withdrawing privileges from students.

Mundingburra MP Lindy Nelson-Carr said caning to deal with disruptive students and school bullies would be a step into the past when many teachers abused their right to hand out corporal punishment.

"As an ex-teacher myself, I believe that teachers of today would be reluctant to go down that path again despite the urgent need to more effectively address behaviour management," she said.

"By coincidence, veteran film producer David Puttman [sic], whose screen successes include Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, was quoted today (Wednesday) in a media report as blaming Hollywood films for fuelling a culture of violence in British schools.

"Perhaps we need to take a long, hard look at the constant diet of aggression our children are served up on television, at the movies and in computer games as a starting point to help deal with this very real problem."

The North Queensland Newspaper Company Pty Ltd

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