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School in corporal punishment spotlight

Published: 6:54PM Sunday February 18, 2007 Source: One News

A Christian school in Auckland is being accused of trying to skirt a ban on corporal punishment.

It is illegal for teachers to smack their students, but Drury Christian School is asking parents to use physical punishment in cases of serious misbehaviour - and recommends parents use either an open hand or a flat paddle.

School principal Ron Bagrie says it is only used if measures such as detentions have failed - and only after a family conference.

Last year, education officials told the school that parents should not smack on school grounds.

Those against smacking say the school should not be involved at all.

"I think it's reprehensible that schools like this one are still flying in the face of the legislation that we passed around 20 years ago," says Green MP and anti-smacking advocate Sue Bradford

But the school says it is staying true to its religious principles and is not trying to dodge the law.
"In the bible [it's] the parents' responsibility to bring up a child," says Bagrie.

However, the law could be about to change for parents if Bradford's anti-smacking bill succeeds.

This would make it illegal for them to use physical discipline on their children, leaving schools such as Drury Christian School with no alternative path for punishment.