By Ann-Marie Ballantyne
There is a continual deterioration of personality traits in both young and old, which evidently leads to an increase in criminality. Any call for the removal of just and proper punishment does not help at all. Yet there are some “progressives” in society who think they know more and better than the Most High. They seem to think that they are more humane than Him and that His disciplinary method is outdated and wicked.
One local newspaper editor described the use of corporal punishment at home and school as “unwarranted, counterproductive … and a gateway to the violence that plagues society”. The editor calls for an end to corporal punishment, which is given by God and has corrected many who are now very disciplined and civil citizens.
Sadly, while the editor thinks that this God-instituted form of discipline is “archaic and barbarous”, the Bible says “the rod and reproof give wisdom…withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 29:15; 23:13) Who do you believe, the editor or God? The editor’s claims are wrong and speculative. God’s position is right, sound and always helpful.
It is important to note and consider the Most High’ position as outlined in the given Bible texts. The rod is not be used haphazardly or in an arbitrary manner to gratify the passions of the adult. Corporal punishment used with reproof is to deter deviant behaviour and make the child become wise in his conduct.
In line with the instruction of the Wise One, 19th century inspired religious writer, Ellen G. White counsels a mother “whipping may be necessary when other resorts fail … if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to it senses should in love be administered”. She wisely shows that “frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime…” She also warns against striking “a passionate blow” and cautions the quick-tempered.
Today, the genuine advocates of corporal punishment do not recommend it for every infraction. The loving parent and conscientious teacher would use all means necessary to guide the child into happiness and civility, teaching him to have sacred regard for the rights and freedoms of his fellowmen. The caring educator would seek to encourage good traits in the child and to discourage evil. All this is done for the good of the child, although the opponents of corporal punishment would seek to make society think otherwise and would seek to influence policy accordingly with their unfounded speculations.
At a time when students are becoming more and more rebellious towards authority and the school environment is becoming more hostile, why would anyone call for the removal of a good form of discipline that helps to restrain many from committing gross evils against their fellow students? When one listens to arguments against corporal punishment, the impression is given that teachers mercilessly and passionately beat and abuse children and have intention to harm them.
However, the Education Act clearly outlines the conditions under which the discipline should be administered — “…a principal may direct that corporal punishment be administered as a last resort…Corporal punishment may be administered by the principal, deputy principal or a teacher specifically designated by a principal for the purpose… in the principal’s office or other private room in the school in the presence of another teacher”. (Section 52) We see therefore, that it is a form of discipline to be used as a last resort under specified conditions, with the aim of deterring deviant behaviour.
Some children may refuse to benefit from the aforementioned type of discipline by choosing to continue in their rebellion and hardheartedness. Most times, if they do not make a drastic turnaround, their doom is sure. Some of them end up in jail or the grave. However, failure to comply with good discipline does not mean that the measure is the problem.
Repeated offenders continue to be a menace to society and are often in and out of prison. Should the judges and the correctional facilities be blamed? Should penalties be abolished then? The just penalty for criminal activity is not the problem. The problem is the crime committed by the criminal. Corporal punishment in the schools is not the problem. The undisciplined, deviant and stiff-necked child is the problem. When they get “licks”, it a consequence of their deviance. Leave corporal punishment in our schools.