Is a Student "Standing in the Corner" Cruel Child Discipline?


"Go stand in the corner" is a common statement heard in classrooms all over the world when a student misbehaves. But now that form of discipline is coming under fire by those who claim it violates a student's human rights.

According to a report in London's Daily Mail, several school districts in England have banned the so called "dunce corner" punishment. Health and safety officials say the practice is cruel, describing it as a "stress position" that could humiliate a child.

Instead, teachers are being advised to ask the pupil making a nuisance to explain to his or her fellow students why he or she is interrupting the class. They favor a less physical punishment. There have been reports of children fainting while standing.

And last year a teacher was banned from the classroom for two years after he made a seven year old with brittle bone disease stand in a corner for seven minutes.

Traditionalists have attacked the idea, saying teachers will end up with no means left to control disruptive-pupils. Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, called it "a ridiculous idea that compares what goes on in a classroom to Guantanamo Bay."

He added, "'Discipline is a major problem in classrooms at the moment and teachers have got to have some solutions for children who disrupt them or the whole system will fall apart.

"We're getting to the stage where teachers will not have any punishments at all. The hooligans will end up ruling the classroom."

But John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, disagrees. "As a punishment, standing a child in the corner is not particularly effective.

"There are some health and safety issues and I've heard of some instances where people are concerned about human rights, but not often."

"Standing children in the corner is just not used widely any more."


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