Corporal punishment: Bring it back?

Corporal punishment could still have a place in schools, education academic Kevin Donnelley has said.

Dr Donelley, chosen by education minister Christopher Pyne to review the national schools curriculum, told radio station 2UE yesterday that the method of discipline was acceptable and should still be used if the community were in favour.

NSW Secondary Principal’s Council president and Merrylands High School principal Lila Mularczyk thinks not.

‘‘Any discussion about corporal punishment is not something that any education professional would entertain,’’ she said.

‘‘Teachers and principals already have a multitude of strategies and tools to deal with different behaviours. There is a whole source of reasons that children behave a certain way and physical consequences are not going to be the answer for any of them.’’

CALLS FOR DONNELLEY TO BE SACKED

The NSW Teachers Federation has called for the removal of Kevin Donnelley from his role reviewing the national curriculum over his statements on corporal punishment.

On radio he said a physical education teacher at his school in Victoria would handle discipline problems by taking the student in question behind a shed and saying: ‘‘We can either talk about this or you can throw the first punch’’.

‘‘He would lose his job now but it was very effective,’’ Dr Donelley said.

Federation president Maurie Mulheron said Donelley was unfit to hold his position as co-chair of the review into the national curriculum.

“Mr Donnelly has been charged with the responsibility of reviewing a curriculum for the twenty-first century but is now advocating a return to nineteenth century physical punishment,’’ he said. 

 “At a time when as a nation we have established a Royal Commission into child abuse, we have the head of a federal government review into curriculum calling for a return to the physical abuse and the psychological intimidation of children. His statements are unacceptable.

 ‘‘Teachers and parents would be rightly appalled that in this day and age any responsible person would advocate the bashing of children at school by adults.’’  

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