Even as a premier Worli school faces the ire of parents for allegedly hitting a 15-year-old, the question of whether city children are free from corporal punishment in classrooms is being raised by many.
On the other hand, a growing number of city schools have started exploring new ways to punish students, without having to use the rod and still disciplining the child in the process.
At RN Podar School, Santa Cruz, teachers have chosen to talk to the students when they misbehave instead in hitting them. “Corporal punishment is not just illegal but also ineffective, because it does not stop the child from repeating the crime. Instead, we have found that talking to the miscreants and appealing to their common sense works better,” says Avnita Bir, principal of the school.
Gundecha Academy in Kandivli has a similar approach. If a student is caught using foul language, he or she is asked to find the meaning of the word in the dictionary. The student then has to read the meaning out loud before the principal or his or her parents.
“Children often do not know what such abusive words mean and even if they do, they face considerable embarrassment when they have to say it aloud in front of their parents. It is a lesson for them, so they do not repeat the offence,” says Seema Buch, principal of the Kandivli school.
Yogesh Patel, director of Swami Vivekananda International Group of Schools, says that their school has a strict policy against hiring teachers who believe in caning children. “While appointing teachers, we put them through a test where they are asked how they would deal with mischief-makers. If they say they will hit them, we immediately reject such teachers,” he says.