The old adage ‘spare the rod and spoil the child' is no longer valid. It should rather be spare the rod … save the child. Corporal punishment can leave a permanent scar on the body and mind of an individual and act as an impediment to his/her development. A teacher who caned a student mercilessly for talking in Telugu on the school premises is behind bars. It should serve as an eye-opener for all such teachers who feel that use of force is inevitable to discipline children. Singuri Pavani (Std. IV) of MSM Public School at Muralinagar, was not the lone student who was caned. There were several other victims who chose to keep mum fearing further punishment by their principal M.S.N. Murthy. It could be happening at other schools also.

“Such behaviour on the part of teachers is known as ‘displacement of anger'. The hapless children become soft targets for the teachers to express their anger,” says noted psychiatrist and vice-principal of Andhra Medical College N.N. Raju.

“The incident is also an indication of the declining moral values in society. Children used to be taught moral values in a subtle way in the past but moral education is largely missing these days from the school curricula. This apart, the impact of cinema and media, particularly visual media, seems to be desensitising the people,” he says.

“It is now established that the principal had also beaten up some other children of the school in the past for talking in Telugu. He has been sent for remand,” Assistant Commissioner of Police B. Prasada Rao said.

Survey

“The school hasn't renewed its recognition after 2009. We have ordered its closure and will send a report to the Education officials in Hyderabad today. We will also make a survey of the other unrecognised schools to detect such practices,” District Education Officer B. Madhusudhana Rao told The Hindu on Saturday. “A teacher is a role model for a student. He must set an example for his students through his behaviour and actions. A student must also be free and friendly with his teachers, ask questions, and get his doubts clarified. At the same time, he should always respect and obey his teachers,” says MVR Raju, a professor of Psychology in Andhra University.