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Spare the rod

Did Peter Breuer, whose article (TES, November 15) told of his quietening a chemistry class by taking a minor miscreant into a side-room and caning him within earshot of the other pupils, pause to consider whether he was buying half-an-hour's good discipline at the possible cost of permanent damage to one or more people?

It is now 66 years since Leslie Weatherhead, as Methodist minister of London's City Temple, stressed the psychological risks of such public events. "The point", he wrote, "that publicly-administered corporal punishment is a deterrent to onlookers is of negligible value compared with the risks run of inducing sadism or masochism."

FRANK R MCMANUS

Locksley House 97 Longfield Road Todmorden West Yorkshire

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