Corporal Punishment In Schools
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Student Life

Corporal Punishment In Schools

The South Africa Schools Act of 1996 prohibits Corporal Punishment in schools. In South Africa today, this is not reinforced.

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Desk, clock, pencil, journal, book, pen, watch

It was my first day at my new high school; despite it being in the middle of the semester, I was excited and looking forward to making new friends. My mom dropped me off at the front of the school, and I made my way to class.

I arrived at my first class, Geometry, right before the bell, and found the classroom to be noisy, full of 10th grade students talking to one another while sitting at their desks; I found a seat in the middle of the room and sat down. What I found weird was that when the teacher walked into the room, the entire class fell silent.

After this class ended, I walked into my English class and waited for the teacher to arrive. However, the students instead of waiting at their desks like last time, gather in the center of the room, with two boys in the center. The voices of the students got louder and louder until a fight had started; this continued even when the teacher walked into the classroom. As soon as he saw this, the teacher started yelling at the students to stop fighting; but the students did not take heed to this.

He then broke his way into the middle of the student circle, yanked the two apart, and threw them outside the class; he made them stay out there until class had ended. I had noticed him call the two students back into the class when I was packing up my stuff; he commanded me to leave the room quickly, I obeyed quickly. The last thing I saw was the teacher reach into his desk for something.

I made some new friends at lunch who both loved History as well; we literally all bonded over European history, especially with the French Revolution and Napoleon. At one point during lunch however, I saw two kids slowly walking over to a table, both with their heads down and hunching forward. They were the two boys from class; they were surrounded by friends who were applauding them. I thought about this for the rest of the day.

About one week later, my good friend forgot to bring her book to her social studies class; she argued with the teacher when she started yelling at her. The teacher went up to her face screaming at her about the book when my friend pushed the desk towards her; it was a gut reaction. My friend was then slapped hard in front of everyone in the class. As I listened to her tell this story while at lunch, I couldn't imagine the humiliation in being slapped in front of all of the class. She later had to go to the bathroom to apply makeup to her face to cover up the bruise. Hearing about another incidence of this violence made me more nervous; "I couldn't mess up" I told myself.

But in my third week at school, I had so much homework that I couldn't keep track of it. When I walked into English class on Monday, I saw the homework that was due that day on the board; I felt the blood inside of me begin to icen.

When the teacher came around checking for homework completion, I didn't lie to him.

"Sorry Sir, I had so much homework this weekend that I completely forgot about this homework".

"So what homework were you working on this weekend?" he asked.

"I had Geometry problems to do, I studied for a geography test in Social Studies for today, I also practiced my instrument for about an hour, did chemical-balancing equations for chemistry, and started researching for an essay," I told him.

"So, are you saying that all of those other classes are more important than mine?"

"No, I'm just saying that I was also busy doing that homework, and because of that, was not able to complete the homework for this class"

"Has this happened before in your other classes?"

"No, this is the first time that anything like this has happened"

"Well, it's nice to know that you don't care about my class"

"I do care about the class, but I also had other things to do"

"Did you just talk back to me?"

"No, I-"

"Excuse me?"

"I did not talk back to you, I was simply explaining my reasoning. I won't forget about the homework again" I said calmly but firmly.

"We're going to have a nice chat after class" he replied.

My eyes widened.

When class was finished, I stayed in my seat and waited for the teacher to give me instruction. To the side of his desk, he has a small wooden bench; "unscrew the nails and take it apart" he said.

After I did this, he told me to lean against his desk, and he picked up the board.

He hit me 10 times on the back with the board. He asked me to put the bench back together before I left the room; then he went out to lunch.

My mother helped put ice on the bruises I received from the wooden board.

"Mme, what do I do?" I asked her.

"Make sure that you don't forget to do all of your homework," she said. I stared at her in shock as she said this, and continued speaking.

"While it is bad for the teacher to treat you this way, you have to stay in his class. I won't have them ostracize you because of this incident. Your education is too important for stuff like this to derail you. Please don't say anything, please" she stated.

I nodded, and after dinner, stayed up late in the night doing my homework. When I went to grab a glass of water from the kitchen, I saw my mother crying inside of her room; I saw this from the crack in her door. She was weeping silently.

The next day, I walked into my English class very sore, and still in pain. When the teacher asked me to show him my homework, I did very fast; he smiled at me and moved on.

Despite feeling the pain of the bruises when leaning back in my chair, I listened to him lecture and took notes; I had to do well in this class.

Further Readings:

Corporal punishment claims rock Paarl Boys' High School

Pupils demonstrate in support of teacher after slapping video goes viral

Teachers fear falling victim to increasing levels of ill-discipline

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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