My Shout: A case for the cane

AT last, some commonsense.

Of course we refer to comments attributed to Kevin Donnelly, the head of the Abbott government's national curriculum review. He was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald last week as saying he backed the use of corporal punishment for ill-disciplined children in schools, as long is it is supported by the local school community.

What clear thinking person wouldn't support the reintroduction of corporal punishment (aka, the cane) to bring miscreant kids into line.

Look what's happened since teachers stopped belting students.

We now have hordes of teenagers hanging around shopping malls with bad haircuts and worse attitudes causing no end of trouble. The majority of them haven't even learnt how to pull their shorts up seeing as they seem to enjoy showing the world their underwear.

Now some history here. We have possibly mentioned this once or twice in the past, but this correspondent is a survivor of the horrors of the Catholic education system circa 1966 to 1976. We know all about the cane for it was used regularly and enthusiastically by the educators of the time.

There were many forms of torture. Rulers particularly those ones that had a strip of metal in them feather dusters, blackboard cleaners, which could be quite effective when used to bludgeon a student or students on the head, and of course, the cane.

The punishment meted out depended on the gravity of the crime. The best a misbehaving student could expect would be two cracks of the cane. Six of the best was the worst.

Now, there was a sidelight to this as some trouble makers actually kept tally of the number of times they were whacked. There was a competition to be the most belted and among some ne'er-do-wells winning this was the highlight of the scholastic year. But at least it taught them how to count.

However, the cane also meant discipline. Students went to school terrified, as it should be. That's why most of this correspondent's generation turned out to be model citizens.

We have no doubt that reverting to corporal punishment, as Mr Donnelly suggests, will mortify those latte sipping, chardonnay socialist, Balmain basket weaving lefties. And what would you expect.

No, we scream, let the teachers thrash the students just like they used to.

"Teach your children well,'' Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young once sang. Well, teach 'em well by giving them a good belting every now and then or even more often, we believe.

However, we do have concerns. Are modern day teachers up to the task?

Back when we were at school most of the teachers were hardened World War I or II veterans. Gnarled, battle scarred, mean, sinister and generally with a cruel streak, they knew how to inflict pain both mentally and physically. And they were the nuns.You should have seen the male teachers.

Look at these Nancy boys pouncing around these days teaching lifestyle subjects. Imagine them scaring (and scarring) modern day ill-disciplined brats.

So we say this. First toughen up the teachers. Then start thrashing the students.

Just like the good old days. Teach your children well.


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