Brits Rediscovering the Wheel, Dept:  Without an effective enforcement mechanism, the rule of law is meaningless.

Half of parents believe that the cane should be reintroduced to restore order to the classroom, research suggests.

Some 49 per cent of mothers and fathers are in favour of corporal punishment to crack down on the worst offenders, it was revealed.

The vast majority of parents also want greater use of other back-to-basics discipline measures including detention, expulsion and forcing badly behaved children to write lines.

Even a fifth of secondary school pupils themselves support the reintroduction of caning or smacking.

The disclosure comes amid claims from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, that “adult authority” has been eroded in too many schools.

I’ll bet an even higher percentage of Americans would agree with that sentiment, although to tell you the truth, I haven’t the remotest idea what disciplinary standards are like around the country these days.  Of course, it’ll vary from place to place, but do any public schools actually still allow corporal punishment?

Ol’ Robbo was actually paddled in school once as a lad.  Yes, indeed.  You see, in seventh grade I was something of a dweeb – glasses, skinny, awkward.  [Ed. – Some things never change.  Quiet, you.]  Anyhoo, one day while waiting for the bus to take me home from Dwight David Eisenhower Junior High, I found myself at the receiving end of a bully’s caprices.  Now, this wasn’t a Three O’Clock High scenario.  In fact, the fellah really wasn’t much bigger than me.  Nonetheless, he quite plainly thought he could make my life miserable for his own amusement.

I don’t know what possessed me on that particular occasion, but rayther than fleeing or trying to rat him out, I instead went for him, surprising both him and myself equally.  And I will say, with all modesty, that I landed about half a dozen blows – enough to bloody his nose – before the monitor lady swept up, pulled us apart and marched us off to the vice-principal’s office.  There we were read the riot act, informed that we were going to receive a paddling and sent home with permission slips.

When I explained what had happened (and what was going to happen) to the mater and pater, they nodded and solemnly said I had done the right thing.  They also said that despite this, I had broken the rules and therefore must take my punishment like a man.  (Imagine that attitude these days!)

I recall that I was in Mr. Gillespie’s history class the next day when the summons came from the executioner.  The class, which had heard all about it, of course,  was abuzz with excitement when I duly marched off with the gyves upon my wrists.  And I must say that when brought into the vice-principal’s office and shown the weapon of choice – a paddle that looked to me the size of a cricket bat – I was pretty apprehensive.   The Veep read out the charge, impressed upon me the wickedness of my actions, and asked me if I was ever going to do it again.


The truth was that I had no intention of going through life as a doormat, and if somebody came after me again of course I would defend myself.   But I couldn’t snap my fingers in the Veep’s face and defy him, nor could I lie.  Somehow or other, I managed to suggest that I certainly would do my best to avoid trouble, but that if it found me, well, I wasn’t promising anything one way or the other.

This seemed to satisfy the Veep.  Originally, I had been scheduled to receive three swats with the paddle.  But after I’d duly emptied my pockets and bent over the chair, he only actually gave me a single stroke.  For what it’s worth, the other guy, who was a notorious trouble-maker, was said to have got five.

When I returned to class, I was looked on by my peers with some shock and awe.  And I found myself a minor celebrity for the next couple weeks.

That was my last fight.  Whether the bully reformed his ways or not, I couldn’t say.  But he didn’t pester me anymore.

So, there you go.

Actually, my favorite disciplinary technique is the one employed by the Mothe back in the day when she taught high school English in the big city.  She happened to be pals with the P.E. coach.  If any of her boys gave her trouble, she would simply drop his name to the coach, like Drax in Moonraker.  (“Show Mr. Bond around the facility.  See that some harm comes to him.”)    A good system, if you ask me, but again, probably completely impossible these days.