J D Thompson, in his letter supporting corporal punishment for young people (YEP, August 11), seems to feel that the large numbers of attacks on teachers and other students has come about as a result of a lack of corporal punishment.
There is no evidence that this is the case. In addition, from my own knowledge there would be only a minority of teaching professionals who would support such a return.
The idea that “long tried and successful methods have been taken away from them” is not correct. It would be not only wrong but impossible to return to this form of establishing discipline, given the context of the society we live in. We seem to agree on the role of parents in teaching children to have good manners and respect for others, however, and perhaps this could be a good starting point in trying to develop a more reasonable world rather than seeking to blame teachers for the ills of society.
It is interesting that many young people have adopted the words of the pro corporal punishment lobby to explain their own actions. For example it is common to hear a teenager refer to a recent fight as “he was out of order so I gave him a slap” or “she was giving me mucky looks so I punished her”. In the same way theft is often referred to as “taxing”. Of course many young people will lack the maturity to see the difference between their actions and those of adults carrying out corporal punishment on them.
Attacks from pupils and students are an ever present concern for anybody involved in work with young people. A good starting point would be having pupils coming to school or college in time, well prepared, not tired, having eaten some breakfast and with support from home. At the same time a reduction in the mindless target-setting and league tables enforced by government and some recognition that professionals in education actually do know how to do their job would be most welcome.
Chris Swindells, Pasture Grove, Leeds