Children warn against use of force

20th February 1998 at 00:00
The children's news agency, Children's Express, interviewed a selection of pupils about the Government's new guidelines. Stuart Fletcher, 15, said: "I wouldn't let a teacher touch me. Sometimes I get angry if teachers don't teach properly and I have a go. If a teacher was to grab my hand just because I said something, I would get annoyed. I think some teachers might abuse their power."

He said that some children may be provoked into worse behaviour if teachers constantly chastised them. He said that if a child was persistently bad and teachers kept pulling him away, he would just get angrier and angrier. "He didn't learn the first time because he doesn't care about the school. One day he will actually go against the teacher," he said.

"The Department for Education and Employment says schools should have a clear policy on this subject which all staff, parents and the governing body understand. The one thing it doesn't say is that children should be involved in understanding this policy. This means they are going to be blind to what it all means. There should be a contract that each pupil signs to say they will not do certain things."

Salomey Ainoo, 17, said: "Teachers have been given the right to restrain pupils - not to hit them. I hope the guidelines will be followed in spirit and not to the letter."

But many of the pupils misunderstood the guidelines and felt they would allow teachers to hit them, causing trouble to escalate.

Raphael Omozusi, 12, said: "It will be like war. They will be at each other's throats. This decision will lead to pupils retaliating against the teacher. They will take up in their minds, if you can hit me, I can hit you back. "

Erica Rutherford, 16, said: "After a while it won't be discipline. It will be like a challenge with us boasting that our teachers hit us and we didn't even cry. If someone does cry then we'll all think she's sad. When pupils get into trouble they'll say: "Come on then, hit me, like I care?" Abeyna Jones, 14, said: "I'm shocked these things could happen in school. You're young and you're learning, you shouldn't get hit. It will lead to anger. Anger will build up inside and pupils will retaliate."

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