Corporal punishment is repugnant to all civilized societies. It’s the putrid bile that stems from every parent, ‘teacher’, school and madrasah that uses corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool.
Corporal punishment is (take a deep breath): awful, appalling, atrocious, alarming, abhorrent, abominable, beastly, cruel, compassionless, callous, criminal, cold-hearted, deplorable, damaging, detrimental, distressing, destructive, disgusting, disgraceful, dreadful, detestable, disagreeable, dishonourable, disturbing, evil, frightening, foul, fearsome, flawed, forbidden, ghastly, gruesome, ghastly, grim, grisly, heartless, hideous, horrible, hurtful, heinous, horrendous, horrid, harrowing, hostile, immoral, iniquitous inexcusable, indecent, inhumane, injurious, insensitive, indefensible, insufferable, improper, irksome, incorrect, illegal, loathsome, mean, merciless, monstrous, nasty, nauseating, offensive, objectionable, obnoxious, outrageous, odious, pitiless, reprehensible, repulsive, revolting, remorseless, ruthless, repugnant, rotten, shameful, sickening, sinful, shocking, scandalous, spiteful , stomach-turning, stressful, terrible, traumatic, unacceptable, unpardonable, upsetting, unforgivable, uncaring, unloving, unkind, unwarranted, unendurable, unjustifiable untenable, violent, vexing, wicked and wrong. It’s all of those and that’s only using some of the appropriate words.The only good that can be said about corporal punishment is that it lends itself admirably to the construction of long sentence writing and the strong possibility of that particular sentence gaining a Guinness Book record!
It also allows you to choose a word or group of words from an enormous selection to list an incalculable number of known negatives about it in the one sentence.
Other than that, corporal punishment is appalling… atrocious etcetera (refer to the above).
Next month, January 13, 2019, to be precise, marks the eight anniversary of the national ban on corporal punishment in schools and madrasahs throughout Bangladesh.
It was imposed by Bangladeshi superheroes Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif who, when they outlawed the evil hell-made invention, described corporal punishment as ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.It beggars belief that after eight years the horrific practice still continues, especially in remote villages. As a result, children are suffering in many different ways every day at the hands of ignorant ‘teachers’ who should know better or just don’t care.
Understandably, the majority of incidents never get a mention in the papers – the columns would be chock-a-block full and choking from their overpowering strangulation.
It’s not until a child is maimed, severely injured, killed or is driven to suicide as a result of corporal punishment does it receive a mention in the media.
On a scale of 1-10, let’s regard the severities mentioned as a 10, but what about all the sixes, sevens, eights and nines that may not leave timeless scars on the outside, but has wreaked havoc, possibly wrecked, the child’s mind on the inside?
There is so much evidence against the practice of corporal punishment in all settings, one can’t help but wonder how it continues or how it's allowed to continue. We know there are many outstanding and upstanding teachers and Imams in Bangladesh, the unsung heroes of the nation.
The enlightening anti corporal punishment information available to them, however, is also available to everyone else, but perhaps the offenders are not good people anyway and choose to vent their bile and extricate their frustrations through beating up children who cannot or won’t respond in kind.
Corporal punishment in schools and madrasahs could end in days, if parents/guardians were to confront the Headmaster and ‘teachers’ face-to-face and make it clear they did not want their children to be given corporal punishment. It’s as simple as that.
Corporal punishment is a form of bullying by a ‘teacher’ and it should be remembered that all bullies lose power and back down when confronted.
If parents really love their children, the very least they can do is visit their child’s school or madrasah and make it known that you do not want their child to be given corporal punishment, under any circumstances. That sends a clear signal to the ‘teachers’, headmaster, and administration.
I know of many fathers who took this approach, spoke to the ‘teachers’ and their children were never hit again.
Virtuous Headmasters and teachers, who are aware of the shortcomings of their colleagues, carry the responsibility to the children, the teaching profession, society at large, and to Bangladesh; to strongly object and make their feelings known, to bring about positive change. Looking the other way is not an option.
Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) once said: “The only thing necessary for men the triumph of evil is for good to do nothing”.
Sometimes being an honourable and decent person is not enough. It’s time for good teachers to act, speak out, and help correct the faults of their wayward colleagues.
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor and a foreign friend of Bangladesh who has been honoured by Bangladesh Freedom Fighters.