School Discipline

The real victims in all this are not just the teachers. They are the other kids whose education is being wrecked by a minority of badly behaved children

All we need is the politicians to have the guts to take on the bullying parents, the supine education authorities, and the crazed culture of health and safety

Teachers need the law on their side
We need a politician with the guts to stand up for reasonable discipline in our schools, argues Boris Johnson

Let’s be clear. I am not calling for the return of the cane. I do not want to bring back the great British thrashing. It seems amazing that in our lifetimes otherwise humane teachers would roll up their sleeves, flex the Malacca and – with or without a pervy Terry-Thomas glint in the eye – administer violent corporal punishment to the children they were supposed to be instructing. Follow fundingwaschools for more information.

My memory of an otherwise idyllic 1970s English prep school is that masters used virtually any weapon of discipline they could lay their hands on. There was the blackboard rubber, a heavy chalky object that teachers would hurl with great force if they saw you staring vacantly during maths. There was the ruler, which could be brought down so hard on the back of the hand that a friend of mine had a contusion that lasted for years. There was the jokari bat, for those who forgot their construe. There was the cricket bat for seriously argumentative types and also, I kid you not, the handle of a nine iron golf club. And then there was the cane. I remember being so enraged at being whacked for talking at the wrong moment that it has probably given me a lifelong distrust of authority.


Boris Johnson does not want to turn the clock back to a school system that allowed regular beating of children by adults but  wonders whether the pendulum has swung too far the other way:   “Classrooms are often scenes of such anarchy that learning is impossible. Violence against teachers is continuing to rise, with physical assaults by children on adults up to 18,000 a year.

In a particularly nasty incident in February a music teacher was duffed up by a 14-year-old and suffered such badly broken teeth that he will never play the saxophone again. How could he have been so humiliated? Because he was just panic-stricken at the thought of offering any kind of physical restraint. “I thought of putting (the pupil) in an armlock,” said the teacher, David Mishra, later, “but he was struggling, and if he had broken his arm I thought I would have been crucified.”

I partly blame the parents, and the hysterical way they are allowed to rail at any teacher who tries to discipline their little brutes. A mum once came to see me at my MP surgery to complain about what she said was a breach of her son’s human rights. I was all set to take up her cause until it became obvious that the breach in question involved an attempt to keep her son in detention for an hour – an entirely reasonable chastisement, it turned out, after her son had caused chaos on a school trip by jumping out of a bus. As the mother ranted on about her hatred of the school, her hatred of the teacher and the general conspiracy to deprive her son of his human rights, I am afraid that I saw red and told her that I was completely on the side of the school. I told her firmly that she would have to vote for another MP.

But far more than the parents, I blame an educational and legal system that is now routinely betraying teachers, preventing them from fulfilling their vocations, and depriving them of the dignity and respect they deserve.

It was with complete fury that I read Nigel Bunyan’s brilliant interview with Michael Becker , 62, who has spent 31 years giving blameless service to the cause of teaching children in Suffolk. Just as he was preparing to retire amid the thanks of his community, he has been convicted of assault by beating, and fined £1,500, with an order to pay a further £1,875 in costs.

He tried to take action against a boy who refused to stop telling racist jokes during a science lesson. He grabbed the boy by his belt and sweat shirt and removed him to an adjacent store room. The boy claimed he had been turned upside down during the scuffle; the magistrates believed the boy, and the teacher leaves his profession in disgrace.

Whatever the exact facts of the case – you have to wonder whether the punishment is proportionate to the offence.

Or take the case of teaching assistant Mark Ellwood, 46, who was working at the David Lister school in Hull. A boy in his class was wearing his outdoors coat in class and playing with his mobile phone. Mr Ellwood asked the boy to take off his coat and stop fiddling with the mobile.  He replied “I will have you killed,” and threatened to stab the teacher.

Now I don’t want to make heavy weather of this, but if I had said such a thing to any of my teachers I would not only have had my mobile officially marmalised. I would have been beaten or slung out of the school. As it was, Mr Ellwood took the boy out of the classroom and to the school car park; and when the kid tried to kick him on the shins, he defensively swung his legs out from under him. After which, Ellwood was charged with assault, lost his job, and has spent nine months of hell until a court sensibly threw the case out.

The real victims in all this are not just the teachers. They are the other kids whose education is being wrecked by a minority of badly behaved children. We don’t need the return of the cane. We don’t need systematic corporal punishment. All we need is the politicians to have the guts to take on the bullying parents, the supine education authorities, and the crazed culture of health and safety.

We want the next education secretary to stand up and say that the law is plainly and unambiguously on the side of the teacher exercising reasonable discipline – and not on the side of the violent little squirts who are trying to make their jobs impossible.”

For the Daily Telegraph article in full see here

13 thoughts on “School Discipline”

  1. Johann Hari did a good piece in the Indy giving the example of North Carolina in the US. You take the bad school, bad class, and spread it around in the good schools. Peer pressure to behave badly is gone, peer pressure to behave well is maximised. Academic stadards skyrocket and bad, disruptive behavior plummets.

    Everyone happy to redistribute the bad kids to the good schools? That’s what the evidence shows works and the teachers are happier, the kids are happpier and the parents are happier.

  2. I grew up looking up to authority but the youth now feel they know it all and look down on teachers. The reward for these youngsters is ever higher exam grades.

    We ought to have a lot stricter discipline and a National Service to instil good priorities in the young.

  3. I’ve read much talk of male teachers being better for boys and this isn’t my experience. I changed my sons school and all the male teacher did was shout. I heard him bellow at a small child that he could shout at him all day. What a big man. NOT! And call that effective teaching? I don’t. I later heard from other mothers that their well behaved boy had been left nervous and morose from this bullying. My own son started shouting, at me! Male teachers aren’t good and female teachers bad. There are just good teachers and bad teachers and the current central government directives aren’t helping the good teachers but they are hiding the bad.

    The only way discipline is going to be restored in schools is to get rid of the left wing socialist propaganda machines that are education directives from NuLabour. In fact get rid of much of NuLab’s over-liberal policies full stop. Children come home swaggering with the knowledge that if mummy or daddy to anything that makes them really sad they can tell the teacher and a policeman will tell them off. True. Try keeping discipline in the home after that lesson. Trouble is the Tories have no plans to change them. Vote out NuLabour and get Blue-Labour. The same stuff in nicer suits.

  4. Yet again, good for Boris. I am appalled at the lack of discipline in this country and that those in authority are punished for trying to exercise it. I blame the parents, the Government, the courts and the stupid European fools who dictate our every move to us.

    Why not bring back the cane? It did us no harm. All of the aforementioned fools today say that violence breeds violence. Balderdash. We have never lived in such violent times so how can they possibly justify saying such tosh.

    In the days when we were given the cane, slipper or any other form of punishment, we were frightened to death to misbehave. If we complained to our parents, they gave us another hiding for giving the teacher trouble. A policeman was not only your friend, he was also feared. If he saw you do something very wrong, he would clip you around the ear and haul you home to face the music. Again, the parents would side with the police.

    For those of you who wish to deny this is acceptable behaviour I ask you. Would you prefer to live in the country as it is today. Scared to go out, scared staying in, windows locked, doors bolted and still afraid? Or would you like the world I grew up in. The one where discipline ruled and we went out for the day leaving windows open to air the house and our doors unlocked without fear of burglary?

    Today, if anyone tries to control behaviour, they are called racist, homophobic or any other such nonsense. Anything at all to hide behind skirts and cry like a baby. Well enough of this nonsense. I agree with Boris, get some decent MP’s who are able to stand up and do the jobs they were elected for. Have some strength of character and tell those buffoons who have destroyed our country that we have had enough and will take no more.

    Respect should be given to the police who do a wonderful job. All in authority should be given powers to discipline as they see fit within reason and should not be in fear of being attacked in their place of work whilst unable to defend themselves.

    Bring back compulsory National Service I say, that would sort the b*****s out!

  5. Oh, eh, Lorraine, calm down, love! Glad I’m not your son.

    Discipline! Discipline! Discipline!

    Nip it in the bud!

    A college bans a Muslim woman ( or a man, who knows?! ) for refusing to remove her burka.

    In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out in June 2009 against the garment, claiming it undermined women’ dignity. He said: ‘ The burka is not a sign of religion, it’s a sign of subservience. ‘

    A campaign to fight Islamic fundamentalism in France will tell kids to sing the French national anthem at least once a year.

    Civic lessons for adults will include the country’s Christian history and liberal political institutions. Foreigners will be told to speak better French.

    French Immigration Minister Eric Besson said: ‘ The nation remains the strongest rampart against fundamentalist tendencies. ‘ ( The Sun newspaper 25.10.09 )

    It would be shocking if our British schools followed suit!

    For students to sing their country’s national anthem once a year is not enough. They should do it every morning before class. Unless, if they lived in a dictatorship country, then it would be a pain in the ass!

  6. FACT:
    If white folks dislike coloured folks, they are called racists automatically.

    But coloured folks can openly dislike white folks without being called racists.

    This attitude shows coloured folks and white folksTOGETHER agree that coloured race is a low race and white race is a high one. It’s like poor people have the right to hate rich people and rich people must not pick on poor people.

    If straight folks dislike gay folks, they are called homophobic ( a crime nowadays ) automatically.

    But gay folks can openly dislike straight folks without being called anything.

    This attitude shows gay folks and straight folks TOGETHER agree that gay is an unfortunate gender and straight is a fortunate one. It’s like unlucky people have the right to hate lucky people.

    If Christianity dislike other religions, it is called racist automatically.

    But other religions can openly dislike Christianity without being called anything.

    This attitude shows other religions and Christianity TOGETHER agree that Christianity is a bigger religion than others. It’s like small groups have the right to hate the biggest group.

    There will always be so called racism and homophobia crimes unless people change these one-sided attitudes.

  7. An ASDA supermarket Muslim male checkout staff refused to serve an English woman because she was wearing a HELP FOR HEROES backing injured British troops.

    The Muslim man said her wristband meant she supported the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When she complained to his supervisor at the ASDA store in Rochdale, Manchester, he BACKED the checkout man, saying he was entitled to his view. An ASDA spokeswoman said: ‘ We were shocked by the claims but had found no evidence that the incident happened in our store ‘ (???!!!)

    What more evidence does ASDA need? If the woman lied, why don’t they sue her for defammation or libel?

    Imagine what the furore would have been if he had refused to serve a black man or a gay man just because he simply didn’t like them! Would they still say he was entitled to his view? I don’t think so. It’s just one-sided freedom of speech under Labour government.

    This clearly shows white folks are being bullied by coloured folks and minorities. Read the whole story at The Sun 29.10.2009


    TONY PARSON Columnist, Daily Mirror 24.10.09


    ‘ I don’t know what all the fuss is about – the working class of Britain is far too intelligent to ever fall for the BNP. Labour’s Peter Hain and all the well meaning souls who wanted to stop BNP’s Nick Griffin revealing his true colours know nothing about the working class in this country.

    We are not Nazis. We have never been Nazis. We will never be Nazis. And guess what, Pete? e can even care about immigration and not be white. Amazing, I know!

    The things that concern the working class have been off the political agenda for years. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN about unwanted, undemocratic European intergration. AND YOU ARE A RACIST BIGOT for even mentioning immigration. NONSENSE!!!

    Our population will reach 71 million by 2033, a number inflated by future immigration. Where will they all live? What will 71 million do to the environment? How will we educate THEIR children? Can the NHS cope?

    Am I a racist bigot for asking these questions? but my wife asks them, too. AND SHE IS ASIAN!!!!

    And how can we keep our border wide open to 26 EU countries ( 27 when Croatia joins in 2010! ) when we are already having more than 2 million on the dole?!!

    Our political masters are disconnected from the working class on the issues that matter. MPs fiddle their expenses and feather their own nests while our country fights for survival.

    Read the whole article:


    The Sun 29.10.09


    Pissed off parents said they were being treated like paedos yesterday after a council banned them from playing with their own kids.

    The new rule by Labour government will be in force next Monday, meaning they will not be allowed to stay with their children at two adventure parks unless they are ‘cleared’ by Criminal Record Bureau checks. Instead they will have to stand outside perimeter fences while ‘play rangers’ supervise the youngsters.

    Watford Council in Hetfordshire insist they will merely be following the government guidelines when the bans are introduced on Monday next week at the town’s Harwoods and Harebreaks adventure parks, which cater for 5 to 15 years olds.

    Mayor Dorothy Thornhill declared: ‘ In today’s climate, you can’t have adults walking around unchecked in a children’s playground. Know what I mean? Know what I mean? ‘ Yes, Sir!

    Read the whole story:

  8. Correct link ASDA TILL SNUB FOR HELP FOR HEROES MUM at The Sun 29.10.2009



    Sorry, folks!

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