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SRI LANKA (known at the time as CEYLON)

School CP - October 1956

Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, 20 October 1956

Junior Letters

'Punishment in school does not always fit the crime'

MANY of the school punishments meted out nowadays are either too harsh or do not fit the crime. Some, in fact, are ridiculously silly. True, the only way to make some boys obey rules and do their work is to make disobedience and laziness uncomfortable. Punishment of some kind is a necessary part of a boy's training. If his faults are not corrected a boy tends to have his own way too much, and that is not good for him.

cuttingBy all means mete out punishment when necessary, but let the punishment fit the crime. It is absurd to give an offender "lines" for, say, not having done his home-work or for not having brought a particular book to school. "Lines" do not serve any purpose, and only worsen one's handwriting.

Some teachers hold the mistaken view that it improves the offender's writing. But in rushing through the required number of lines to finish them as quickly as possible, one is much more likely to worsen one's writing than improve it.

Some are so used to being caned that it is no longer useful as a punishment for them. No doubt, caning is the best kind of punishment for some offences, and there are some boys with whom nothing can be done unless they are given a sound thrashing. But this should be reserved for the worst school crimes and not for the trivial ones.

There should be other forms of punishment, with more effect, different crimes being punished for [sic] in different ways. In some cases detention may prove a better punishment than caning, but this depends on the mentality of the offender.

So it is time our teachers spent a little more time in thinking out a way of making the punishment fit the crime!

Robert S. Gogerly

Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, 27 October 1956

Junior Letters

'Ruthlessness not only way to success'

ROBERT GOGERLY seems to be seriously considering a change in the punishments meted out to schoolboys which has so far eluded the keen eyes of Mr. Dahanayake. I presume that Robert is also a student like me and I must confess that I was flabbergasted when I read his letter in which he says that there are certain schoolboys with whom nothing can be done unless they are given a sound thrashing. I simply cannot visualise a boy who can be reformed by caning.

I have a personal interest in this question because I have been a recipient of regular canings when I was in the third standard by a lady teacher. I was caned daily either for not doing my home-work or for not having taken a particular book to school.

But these floggings had not the least effect on me and I had no wish to do my home-work. I only got disgusted of my school and consequently neglected by schoolwork completely. Fortunately I was saved by the timely intervention of my father.

In a world where there is so little of peaceful ways it seems utterly wrong to set an early example of violence.

If only a teacher has patience and kindliness, he can reform the naughtiest boy without making life miserable for him by continuous flogging. Further if we are to produce citizens fit for a democratic society the use of the cane is unjustified, for its use can only produce a man fit for a Dictatorship. The use of the cane might well be in some cases the first step towards crime. Surely, ruthlessness is not the only way to success.

Gamini W. Jayasuriya,
Colombo 2.

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