BCC's ban on violent punishment of students "too late"

A CHILDREN'S rights campaigner has said the end to corporal punishment at Bundaberg Christian College was long overdue.

The Bundaberg private school was one of the last schools in Queensland to stop punishing their students with a paddle.

Marketing manager for the Bundaberg Christian College Carine Dart yesterday confirmed the corporal punishment had stopped last year.

"From mid-2012, following a college policy review period, BCC ceased to use corporal punishment. All company policies were amended to reflect this," she said.

But founder of the Australian Children's Rights Party Alan Corbett said it was a case of too little too late.

"They should have banned it many, many years ago," he said.

"The Catholic school system and the independent school system got rid of it some 15 years ago, so they were very, very late doing it."

In 2011, Bundaberg Christian College principal Mark Bensley told the NewsMail there was a need to set clear boundaries and to "lovingly and consistently enforce them".

He said the paddle was given with "love and grace" and never with anger and frustration. This comment stirred ire in Mr Corbett. "It was an archaic, ineffective and undignified way to treat a child."

Raised in a strong Christian household, Mr Corbett said Christian love had to do with compassion, understanding and forgiveness.

"None of those qualities are consistent with deliberately hitting a child and hurting a child," he said. "The whole aim of corporal punishment is to hurt a child."

Mr Corbett said he was caned when he went to school. "It hurt me and I just didn't see how it helped at all - it doesn't explain what you've done wrong," he said.

"I remember it and I remember being humiliated and afraid and I remember hurting."

He said corporal punishment might have small short-term compliance but said the long-term outcomes were damaging to the child.

"The child is humiliated and may even suffer an injury, they are scared, anxious, withdrawn and may become very aggressive themselves - research has shown all these occur," he said.

In a previous news article in the Courier Mail, Mr Bensley had been quoted as saying: "I've had many kids come back to me and say 'thank you for giving me the cane'."

Mr Corbett said: "I can't understand that, I think that's probably one of the school's justifications for doing something that has no research.''



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