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Investigate corporal punishment claims

23 August 2006

Ministry must investigate corporal punishment claims

The Green Party wants the Education Ministry to investigate allegations that Board of Trustees and staff at an Auckland school had sought permission from parents to use corporal punishment on children despite it being illegal.

"Corporal punishment in schools was made illegal years ago because it was considered to be brutal and unnecessary, and I believe the management of Tynedale Christian School should be quickly reminded of this," MP Sue Bradford says.

"A full investigation must be launched to ascertain whether any child has been assaulted by staff and if so prosecutions must be considered.

"I believe this is a disgraceful policy, which will encourage abuse of children. I am appalled that any organisation that is tasked with the welfare and education of young people would consider it a desirable discipline option."

Ms Bradford is spearheading a campaign, including a private members bill, to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows a defence of reasonable force in cases where parents and caregivers are charged with assaulting a child.

"Whacking a child across the hand with a strap is no longer considered by every day society to be an acceptable punishment in our schools. When this law was changed many years ago exceptions were not given based on whether a school believed it was serving 'God rather than men'."

ENDS

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