Just two days ago we had Indian visitors from another town here at the Ashram. We told them about our school and the work that we do and of course we mentioned that in our school none of the children gets beaten. It was a family and when we said this, they looked at each other and then at their 12-year-old son. They told us that just a week ago their son had been beaten by his teacher again.
They told that it was actually quite usual and common. They never complained at the school because they thought it might be also a bit necessary for the boy to learn discipline. When the boy came home with bruises on his back however, they could not keep themselves back from going to the school and talking to the teacher.
When I hear this kind of story, I realize again how well accepted it is in society that you need to hit children in school. You need to beat children so that they learn properly. For a bit of punishment, a little bit of hitting, they don’t even think it is wrong. But they love their child and if they see him in pain, they go there and take action.
People hit their children in their homes, too, because they believe that this is necessary for their education. It is necessary for them to become good adults. It doesn’t matter how many laws the government has passed and how much they have told the schools to stop corporal punishment, it has not been implemented. It is still just too well accepted by society.
In an article I recently read, a study concluded that 99% of children in India face corporal punishment, which includes physical punishment, mental harassment and discrimination leading to any of both. According to the answers of the participants, it is very common that they are beaten with a stick or slapped by hand and it was even mentioned that some teacher used electric shocks as punishment!
In the past I have written about my experience of corporal punishment and I can just repeat that it only creates anger and fury in the child. Children get the feeling ‘Okay, now I am small, you are big, let me become big and then we will see!’
The government itself also knows that the laws until now have not helped much against the ongoing violence in schools. That is why the National Children’s Right Commission has now made another guideline. Every school should have a ‘Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cell’ consisting of two teachers, two parents, one doctor, one lawyer, one counselor, a children’s right volunteer and two children. Any complain about any kind of punishment of children will be heard by this cell and if it is serious, they have to inform the police.
There have been laws and guidelines before, too, but abuse continued nevertheless. Real change comes not only from laws or committees but when people decide to change themselves and their mentality. When parents don’t accept corporal punishment anymore as something normal and when beating is not anymore seen as necessary for a child’s development, it will change a lot. Society has to change, thinking has to change!