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To spare the rod or not?

Corporal punishment in school was an issue widely discussed in the Indian media recently.

        On February 12, 2010 Rouvanjit Rawla, class VIII student of the famous La Martiniere School for Boys in Calcutta, hanged himself at home. On June 7,2010 his father complained to the police against the principal and teachers alleging that his son was tortured physically and mentally, and that drove him to suicide.

        Investigations by various agencies are going on. Public and the media as usual came strongly against the school and demanded strong action against the accused. In the mean time, principal did admit with regret that he caned Rawla four days prior to his suicide, but refused to resign saying that he is not responsible for the death of the student as it took place after four days.

        At the same time, many parents came to support this 175 year old elite school saying they never questioned the school even when they ‘disciplined’ their children. Some other teachers too voiced similar comments, “Corporal punishment is needed to maintain discipline.”

        One psychologist observes, “Children go through various kinds of pressure and hence need to be tackled sympathetically.” Majority agree that corporal punishment is a barbaric practice and need to be stopped.

        In the midst of this debate school banned caning and other forms of corporal punishment. Educationalists and sociologist wonder, how they could continue caning even 10 years after Supreme Court banned it.

        What is Christian response to this dispute? How do we train our children at home, school, and the assembly? How to discipline them?

        It’s good to notice these scripture portions and take balanced stand. Cf. Proverbs 22:6; 1:8; Deut 6:7; Prov 13:24; 3:11, 12; Prov. 22:15; 19:18; 23:13, 14; 29:15; 22:17; 1 Sam 3:13; 1 King 1:6; Lama 2:19; Colo 3:26.

        Remember, for a Christian final authority is the word of God.


HT June/2010

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