Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Redefine punishment

A news item in the dailies, reported, a principal of a school at Urubokka had been remanded for assaulting a boy in his school who had been asked to cut his long hair and had not done so. Before I venture to speak of my school days experiences, I believe the word ‘Assault’ is too severe and gives a more criminal picture rather than a school ‘Punishment’. My understanding of ‘Assault’ is to take revenge and ‘Punishment’ in this instance is for Correction and disciplining.

Recounting enjoyable school days, which we all cherish in our old age, I remember as a kid in the nursery class, when I slipped and fell into a muddy pool, my nursery class teacher Vansanden, chubby, plump lady carried me, laughing all the way, washed me, and dressed me in another baggy oversize trouser and shirt making the other kids laugh. She washed my trouser and shirt, dried them and ready to wear again before going home. In the higher grades we were punished for various mischief and the worst was the ‘Best of the Six’. I or my brothers did not complain to our parents what happens in school as they always took the side of the teachers and the treatment we got by telling my father, was worse. I remember, when I was to sit my Senior School Certificate (SSC) examination a friend of my father had told him to give me a wrist watch to be taken to the examination hall so that I could time the answering questions. When this was conveyed to the principal, whom he meets very often to inquire about our progress, had said the child will be more concerned about the new addition and not the question paper. I was also to wear a pair of long trousers for the first time and this too was not recommended for the same reason. So, I went to the examination hall in my – shorts and shirt without a wrist watch.

Another incident, my sister who studied in a Catholic convent once came home with a six inch brown paper hem pinned on to her skirt. When questioned she told my mother that sister nun had said the skirt was short and it should be below the knee. My mother went the next day to the convent and apologised to the nun saying it was an old dress. All these were done for girls to be decent, maintain their charm and dignity

Speaking of ‘hair cut’ the “Police Cut” was accepted as the normal hair style. Incidentally, if school Uniforms are compulsory, then an acceptable hair cut should be made mandatory at least up to O/L. All these strictures were introduced with good intentions for the benefit of children in their later life. Those were the days when we respected our Principals and Teachers and feared them too, for they themselves were well disciplined and set examples to the students. Can we say that of today?

I wonder whether we should emulate the west in framing certain rules and regulations as I believe, our conduct and behaviour are based on our culture and religion. A child not disciplined at the early stages by parents and teachers would end up being a nuisance to society. What we are today, thanks to our parents and teachers, whom we remember, with gratitude, though some of them are not in the land of living.

G.A.D. Sirimal


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