Are you old enough to remember the look of those raised red welts?
On the back of the hand? Or the leg?
The long black leather strap which caused the pain?
All brought on – quite legally and properly- by the hand of the school principal.
Reports out today indicate that if the Abbott government’s Education Adviser Kevin Donnelly had his way, the strap would be brought back.
Speaking on Fairfax Radio last night, the head of the Abbott government’s curriculum review backed calls for corporal punishment to be reinstated across Australian schools.
Dr Donnelly revealed his views in response to questions about a report out yesterday on school suspensions, which revealed that in NSW, students are being suspended at record rates. Over 18000 NSW were students suspended in 2012, the report shows -that’s 1300 more than in 2011.
Surprisingly, the solution for this Federal government adviser is simple – better discipline. The form he favours, though, has surprised many.
The exchange went like this:
Fairfax Radio host Justin Smith asked Dr Donnelly: “What would you, as you’ve been involved with this for so long, describe as the best punishment you can come across even if it is one that has gone away?”
“I’m not alluding to the strap here. I don’t think you would ever resort to that. You would never advocate bringing that back surely?”
Dr Donnelly responded: “Well… I grew up in Broadmeadows, a housing commission estate in Melbourne, and we had a Scottish phys-ed teacher.”
“Whenever there were any discipline problems he would actually take the boy behind the shed and say, ‘We can either talk about this or you can throw the first punch’,” Dr Donnelly said.
“That teacher would probably lose his job now but it was very effective. He only had to do it once and the kids were pretty well behaved for the rest of the year,” he said.
“Those days are gone.”
What he added next was shocking: He said corporal punishment had, in his experience, been the most effective form of punishment.
He also had no issue with bringing back methods such as the strap, he told Fairfax Radio.