I find it shocking. It is abhorrent that you can assault a child in a way which would render you liable to criminal proceedings if the subject of the assault was someone of your own size. Moreover, it seems to me that this is, for most children, their first taste of violence and creating an atmosphere of violence. And whether child-beating is on the decrease in the home is anybody's guess.
It would be a start (and, as Plowden said, a lead to public opinion) if it were banned in schools.
The support for corporal punishment among teachers is apparently only as a "final sanction". But it has been found possible to do without this ultimate deterrent in other countries. Indeed, in Denmark it has been possible to abolish corporal punishment both in school and home.
(Morning Star, April 12, 1967)
However well intentioned the remarks are of Rosemary Small (Morning Star, April 12), they appear to be the product of either ignorance or naivete. When it comes to moral issues, there are people who construct for the purpose of their argument a kind of moral dualism. On the one hand those benign enough to wax wrathful against the tyrannies of corporal punishment and "final sanctions"; on the other those misguided reactionaries who favour the system of barbarism.
(This dualism is entirely unfair and based on an innacurate premise. The conclusion arrived at by the National Association of Schoolmasters to retain the cane is a regretful but necessary one; it is the logical outcome of careful thinking by experienced schoolmasters. They realize the practical necessity for preventive and sometimes corrective action of this type all the time we are not living in an utopian dream.
Plowden deplores corporal punishment in primary schools alone, and with this we agree.
My suggestion to Rosemary Small — go to a secondary in Gorbals or East End in London, and write your article again.
(D. C. Stears, Schoolmaster, Chelmsford, Morning Star, April 17, 1967)
Corporal punishment in schools
I was dismayed at Rosemary Small's strictures on the National Association of Schoolmasters (April 12).
On speaking on the decision on corporal punishment she may not have been aware relating the last words of a long motion of Plowden which warmly welcomed the findings of the report, save the passage on punishment. This final section was the subject of an amendment to delete, but was lost, though a substantial minority voted in favour of the amendment. The Press, sadly, seized on this single aspect of the motion