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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

No to sadistic corporal punishment!

Update : 12 Apr 2013, 03:07 PM

The government has done away with corporal punishment in schools, yet there are still reported incidents of cruel and even sadistic punishment. On April 9, the headmaster of the Nurainpur Primary School in Patuakhali beat several Class V students and had them clean the blackboard with their tongues, of all things.

Why such a disgusting action on his part? Because the students had written slogans on the board in support of their teacher, which the headmaster thought inappropriate. And on April 3, a nine-year-old primary school student in Barisal attempted suicide in fear of corporal punishment and died soon after from the attempt.

This is outrageous. School authorities are responsible for the safety of the children who attend their schools. To cross all lines of decency and morality just to make a point is beyond offensive. It’s unacceptable. As for the young boy in Barisal, imagine how terrified he must have been of corporal punishment that he would rather kill himself than put himself through that torture. And torture is what it is.

The thing is, assault and disrespect for the human body and human space are such an innate part of Bangladeshi culture that no one gives a second thought to hitting a servant, a spouse, or a child. Rickshaw drivers get hit all the time by law enforcement officers. In fact, anyone on a lower economic rung is fair game. Such an ingrained mindset is very difficult to change, as the common belief is that beating up people is okay, and even acceptable, when the opposite is true.

Steps were taken to prevent excesses of assault and punishment in schools. After many such instances came to light, a High Court ruling on Jan 13, 2011 declared corporal punishment to be unconstitutional, followed by a government guideline that did away with it at all levels of education, from primary schools to university, and including madrasas.

This man, however, has blatantly flouted the law, not to mention common decency, and needs to be punished. Moreover, an example must be made of him so he can never harm another child and no one else dares to contemplate stooping that low.

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