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The Tawse

When I was at school, teachers could still hit kids on the raised palm of their hands with a leather strap. I think the maximum dose was six strokes. I don’t think it did me any harm; but it didn’t do me any good either. I think perhaps it is a shame that something has been removed from the teachers’ toolbox when it comes to stopping classrooms descending into anarchy. I have to say that I lost a lot of respect for teachers who had to resort to the tawse. I remember one teacher whom I’d liked strapping a classmate for next to no reason. Something inoffensive, to normal people, that the pupil said. I was strapped at least once in primary school. For something harmless like talking in line when we were queuing up in the playground to get back into school after playtime. Whatever, hardly inciting a slave riot. Another time was at high school when a technical department teacher took the tawse to the whole class. Some idiot wrote something on the blackboard when the teacher was out of the classroom and no-one would say who did it. I think the lesson learned was a confirmation that the technical department included more than its share of sadists and sociopaths. In a school which numbered at least one murderer among the phantom chalker’s pals, no sane person was fingering him.




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