New Zealand Herald, 30 December 1997

New Zealand poll: Let teachers whack kids

Should schools reintroduce corporal punishment for serious student misbehavior?

YES 55.6%

NO 40.2%

Not Sure 4.2%

Children have had it too easy for too long--that is the view of more than half the people quizzed on school discipline in our summer poll series.

Nearly 56 per cent of people polled said schools should reintroduce corporal punishment for serious misbehaviour. The idea was rejected by 40 per cent of respondents, with 4 per cent not sure. And from the generation which endured thc cane, there is an even stronger message to bring back six of the best for the worst classroom offences.

Nearly 70 per cent of people aged over 51 wanted a return to the good old days of teachers meting out justice. They believe the answer to bad behaviour in school is a whack, something teachers have been forbidden to do since a 1990 law change outlawed corporal punishment.

Skyrocketing suspension rates indicate teachers are relying on less violent alternatives to deal with naughty pupils.

People aged 18 to 30, the age bracket which includes those who were the first to escape the wrath of the strap, were against any plans to remove the carrot and replace it with the stick.

Most men were eager to see the return of the cane, but women were not so keen. About 49 per cent of women said yes, and 45 per cent said no.

Only 35 per cent of men did not want a return to the tough old days.

Seven out of ten of those polled who earned less than $l9,000 took a hard line and wanted children to face tougher measures.

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