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School CP - December 2003

Corpun file 12410


Mayerthorpe Freelancer, Alberta, 3 December 2003

Northern Gateway drops the strap

Most educators say it is outdated but some still want the strap around

By Rosemary Austen

Parents may be a little bruised to know the strap is still recognized as a disciplinary tool in local schools.

Northern Gateways Corporal Punishment Policy states that there are circumstances when the use of corporal punishment is appropriate to the discipline of students.

The Board of Trustees came to the table Nov. 25 hoping to rescind the policy.

"I am strongly opposed to it," says Trustee Maureen Wilcox. "When you resort to violence as a form of discipline you teach children violence. I think there are more effective ways to discipline children."

Most educators agree that abolishing corporal punishment is merely a formality since it is rarely used now.

"It's obsolete," says MSH Principal Carolyn Jensen. "I wouldn't even contemplate it unless I wanted a law suit on my hands."

She says the last time the strap was used in MHS was in 1982-83.

However, the policy may have more support than you would think.

Trustee Stan Jeffreys admits that the strap has been used in recent years.

"It's supposedly a deterrent," he says.

Also, the Corporal Punishment Policy was reviewed three years ago by parent councils and principals who opted to keep the policy on the books.

"It was looked at and there was a feeling among parent councils and principals that this was still a useful policy," said Jeffreys.

However, in today's education environment the strap is largely obsolete.

For a student to receive this punishment schools require parental consent and it is generally regarded as a means of last resort.

Before Northern Gateway drops the policy it will again be turned over to parent councils and principals for review. They will offer their input and it will return to the Board for further discussion.

2003 Mayerthorpe Freelancer

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