Corporal punishment and the law

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Tom Grubb
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Corporal punishment and the law

Postby Tom Grubb » Sat May 22, 2004 5:57 pm

As anyone following the 'Experiences at St Vedast...' thread will have noticed, the use of corporal punishment at that odious school went far beyond what even most supporters of school caning would consider reasonable punishment. Does anyone here know what the law of the time actually permitted in schools and whether this included public slipperings by teachers, assaults with ropes, blows to the head, caning on the bare buttocks, throwing missiles at pupils' heads, throwing pupils against walls, etc.?

Alban
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Postby Alban » Sat May 22, 2004 7:28 pm

This was a question raised often at the time, and the general consensus was that as far as corporal punishment goes, private schools could do whatever they liked as long a they had the consent of the parents.

Having said that, they were never above the law as far as abuse goes - however, that was a very difficult case to answer, especially if the parents agreed with the schools.

I think this is a very difficult question to answer exactly, as it would very much depend on similar cases - and as you can imagine, the idea of a child taking a parent or school to court was riduculous in those days. However if there are any lawyers out there who specialise in this area then comment would be appreciated.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Sun May 23, 2004 12:09 am

I can't say for the UK but certainly in Au caning was outlawed sometime in the 70s.

You occasionally read stories of whacko christian fundamentalist schools trying to insist it is their right to have caning as punishment (with the support of the parents) but they are not allowed under law.

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adrasteia
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Postby adrasteia » Sun May 23, 2004 3:01 pm

These might help:
http://www.educationlaw.org/publications/corporal.htm
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/gui ... /part1.htm
but I haven't really had time to look at them properly.
I think there's more at
http://www.hmso.gov.uk/
Hope this helps

Antises

Postby Antises » Sun May 23, 2004 4:05 pm

Thank you for those links adrasteia. For those interested specifically in how the law has changed regarding corporal punishment:

The Education Act 1996 says the following:

548. - (1) Where...it is shown that corporal punishment has been given to any pupil..., giving the punishment cannot be justified on the ground that it was done in pursuance of a right exercisable by the member of the staff by virtue of his position as such.

(2) Where, in any proceedings, it is shown that corporal punishment has been given to any pupil by or on the authority of a member of the staff, giving the punishment cannot be justified if it was inhuman or degrading.


In short, my understanding is that the 1996 Act allows corporal punishment punishment provided that (a) it is not done just "by virtue of the member of staff's position", and (b) it is not "inhuman or degrading".

The Education Act 1997 changed things:

550A. - (1) A member of the staff of a school may use...such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purpose of preventing the pupil from doing any of the following, namely-
(a) committing any offence,
(b) causing personal injury to...any person,
(c) engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to the maintenance of good order....

It does not authorise anything to be done in relation to a pupil which constitutes the giving of corporal punishment within the meaning of section 548.


Therefore, the Education Act 1997 does not authorise corporal punishment. I am unsure whether these laws apply to independent schools as well as state schools, although it is highly likely that they are, otherwise I doubt St James would have given up corporal punishment.

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adrasteia
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Postby adrasteia » Tue May 25, 2004 8:33 am

The problem seems to be finding the law pre-1996/7, it all seems to have either very vague, or just not on the net!

Misty

Postby Misty » Tue May 25, 2004 11:24 am

Would u be taking a legal actions against the teachers who abused you?

Does this mean that the teachers will no longer be able to teach? Or does it mean that they will have to pay you all a riduculous sum of money? OR does it mean they will only have to acknowledge what they did was bad and appoligise?

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Tue May 25, 2004 8:30 pm

Misty wrote:Would u be taking a legal actions against the teachers who abused you?

Does this mean that the teachers will no longer be able to teach? Or does it mean that they will have to pay you all a riduculous sum of money? OR does it mean they will only have to acknowledge what they did was bad and appoligise?

Misty, I was merely asking what the law of the time would have said about the disgusting abuse my peers and I suffered at St Vedast. But since you bring the subject up, would you consider it "ridiculous" if those who deliberately caused great psychological and physical damage to hundreds of human beings were asked to make some recompense for their actions?

Misty

Postby Misty » Sun Jun 20, 2004 7:35 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:
Misty wrote:Would u be taking a legal actions against the teachers who abused you?

Does this mean that the teachers will no longer be able to teach? Or does it mean that they will have to pay you all a riduculous sum of money? OR does it mean they will only have to acknowledge what they did was bad and appoligise?

Misty, I was merely asking what the law of the time would have said about the disgusting abuse my peers and I suffered at St Vedast. But since you bring the subject up, would you consider it "ridiculous" if those who deliberately caused great psychological and physical damage to hundreds of human beings were asked to make some recompense for their actions?


Dearest Tom, I only refered to the sum of money being "riduculous", and even so I doubt money will help u solve your issues. U ask for an appolgy from them, and the only way u have some kind of chance in getting one is to follow the advise of the Guest who recently posted in the "Experiences at St Vedast" thread. I suppose writing about ur terrible experiences helps theraputically, as I type out endless feeling to get them off my chest only to press the delete button after, however getting it onto the screen or paper helps more than expected too. Even so, I pity the pupils of St Vedast who had to go through such ordeals, and I too wish that those who get the chance to appoligise to you and ur peers do so, soon.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:09 pm

Misty wrote:
Tom Grubb wrote:
Misty wrote:Would u be taking a legal actions against the teachers who abused you?

Does this mean that the teachers will no longer be able to teach? Or does it mean that they will have to pay you all a riduculous sum of money? OR does it mean they will only have to acknowledge what they did was bad and appoligise?

Misty, I was merely asking what the law of the time would have said about the disgusting abuse my peers and I suffered at St Vedast. But since you bring the subject up, would you consider it "ridiculous" if those who deliberately caused great psychological and physical damage to hundreds of human beings were asked to make some recompense for their actions?


Dearest Tom, I only refered to the sum of money being "riduculous", and even so I doubt money will help u solve your issues. U ask for an appolgy from them, and the only way u have some kind of chance in getting one is to follow the advise of the Guest who recently posted in the "Experiences at St Vedast" thread. I suppose writing about ur terrible experiences helps theraputically, as I type out endless feeling to get them off my chest only to press the delete button after, however getting it onto the screen or paper helps more than expected too. Even so, I pity the pupils of St Vedast who had to go through such ordeals, and I too wish that those who get the chance to appoligise to you and ur peers do so, soon.


Thanks, Misty!

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:06 pm

Sorry, the above message was mine. I didn't log in.


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