Corporal Punishment - Beating Student
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SRINAGAR — School Education Department on Thursday ordered a blanket ban on corporal punishment and other forms of child abuse in the educational institutes of Kashmir Division.

According to the news agency KNO, Director of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) in a circular said, “Distressing complaints are pouring in regarding corporal punishment to the students in schools as per the report received from IMHANS-K, resulting in mental health issues in school-going children.”

DSEK said that the negative consequences of corporal punishment not only hinder the learning and development of the affected children but also create an environment of fear and hostility within educational institutions.

The circular states that corporal punishment has an ill effect on the mental health of the child which is the cause of concern for the parents and the department.

“Whenever a child is assaulted, abused, exposed or neglected in a manner to cause physical or mental suffering by any person employed by or managing an organisation, which is entrusted with the care and protection of the child, the punishment would be rigorous imprisonment up to three years and fine up to Rs five lakh,” it reads.

“On account of the ‘cruelty’, if the child is physically incapacitated or develops a mental illness or is rendered mentally unfit to perform regular tasks or has a risk to life or limb, then imprisonment may extend up to 10 years,” DSEK said.

DSEK impressed upon all the school heads and teaching officials of both private and government institutions to refrain from inflicting corporal punishment on students in educational institutions.

“The deviations in this regard will be viewed seriously and the strict punitive measures will be taken against the violator as per the intensity of the abuse,” reads the circular.

DSEK instructed CEOs, Cluster Heads, Zonal Education Officers, Headmasters of High Schools, Headmasters of Middle and Primary Schools of both government and private and co-coordinators of recognised private tuition centres to ensure the blanket ban on corporal punishment and other forms of abuse as envisaged in Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in Schools by NCPCR in all the private and government schools in their respective domains.

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Excerpts issued by DSEK

Physical Punishment

Causing physical harm to children by hitting, kicking, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling the hair, boxing ears, smacking, slapping, spanking or with any implement cane, stick, shoe, chalk, duster, belt, whip, giving electric shock etcetera.

Making children assume an uncomfortable position like standing on a bench, standing against the wall in a chair-like position, standing with the schoolbag on the head, holding ears through legs vern; kaanpakdi, kneeling etc.

Forced ingestion of anything (for example: washing soap, mud, chalk, hot spices etc.

Detention in the classroom, library, toilet or any closed space in the school.

Mental Harassment

Sarcasm that hurts or lowers the child’s dignity.

Calling names and scolding using humiliating adjectives, intimidation.

Using derogatory remarks for the child, including pinning slogans.

Ridiculing the child with regard to his/her background or status or parental occupation or caste; Ridiculing the child with regard to his/her health status or that of the family, especially HIV /AIDS and tuberculosis; Belittling a child in the classroom due to his or her inability to meet the teacher’s expectations of academic achievement.

Ridiculing a child with developmental problems such as learning difficulty or a speech disorder, such as stammering or speech articulation disorder.

Punishing or disciplining a child not recognizing that most children who perform poorly in academics are actually children with special needs. Such children could have conditions like learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mild developmental delay etc.

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Using punitive measures to correct a child and even labelling him or her as difficult; such as a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who may not only fare poorly in academics but also pose a problem in the management of classroom behaviours.

‘Shaming’ the child to motivate the child to improve his performance; Ridiculing a child with developmental problems such as learning difficulty or a speech disorder, such as stammering or speech articulation disorder.

‘Sexual abuse’ of any kind of corporal punishment of any nature is not acceptable under any circumstances.

Brutal treatment of students in the name of reform can never be accepted as an excuse, as it can never inculcate good discipline and good habits in them.

On the contrary, indulgence in violence by teachers is bound to set a very bad example for the students. So, preventive measures need to be applied.

Preventive measures issued by DSEK

Emphasising Importance of Rules: Students should be given clear ideas about the importance of rules again and again. They should be made aware of the existing rules. There should be no violation in this regard.

Positive Recognition: It includes rewarding good behaviour and curtailing negative behaviours. Some rewards can be verbal while some can be symbolic recognitions.

Recognise That Child Needs Help and No Punishment: This fact should be applied in all critical situations. Unwanted behaviour on the part of a student is an indication that the student needs guidance (and not punishment).

Healthy Relationships: Healthy relationships should be promoted among students, teachers and staff.

To stop all types of negative behaviours towards the students inside or outside the class. Even under inevitable and unprecedented circumstances, positive engagement or preventive measures are to be adopted instead of the use of force to discipline the students.

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