TEACHERS are in a dilemma whether to reprimand or ignore students who misbehave.
The Education Ministry’s permissible punishment guidelines for teachers were last issued in 1983 and has more “don’ts” than “dos”.
The guidelines are in favour of students, and the hands of teachers are tied when it comes to dealing with indiscipline.
Teachers who reprimand students have had bad encounters, with some parents taking them to court. Others have assaulted teachers.
The Cikgu Azizan case is a clear example of how a teacher can be hauled up to court for taking action against indiscipline.
Although the case was dropped, there is still no clear indication from the Education Ministry on what the school and teachers can do to discipline errant schoolchildren.
Teachers reprimand students in many ways.
Sometimes, teachers scold students when they misbehave.
Sometimes, students are made to do community service.
Students who are recalcitrant or aggressive are usually handled by the discipline teacher.
Teachers rarely slap or cane students in class.
But, when students cross the line and incur the teacher’s wrath, some teachers do slap or hit them.
Teachers used to walk around the school with a cane, which was used indiscriminately and often.
Today, teachers do not carry the cane and it is used sparingly by assigned teachers.
Only the discipline teacher or the head of the school has the discretion to use the cane on students for very severe breach of discipline.
Many people are against teachers reprimanding students who misbehave.
Many parents are against the use of the cane; they want teachers to counsel and use other soft, psychological approaches to discipline difficult children.
Somehow, parents do not understand the severity of student indiscipline at school.
European countries that have abolished corporal punishment are now facing a new kind of threat from rebellious and violent children, called “brat-ocracy”.
Most student disciplinary problems can be traced to family problems and bad parenting. However, schools do not have the time nor resources to “rehabilitate” them.
Perhaps, there is a case for the cane. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind.
Seremban, Negri Sembilan