According to this morning's Herald an Auckland Christian school wants to beat its students, despite corporal punishment being illegal in schools. Their excuse?
It acknowledges the Education Act forbids corporal punishment, but quotes the Bible saying "we ought to serve God rather than men".
So, they're seeking "authorisation" from parents to beat their children. Unfortunately, this doesn't get them out from under the law. Section 139A of the Education Act 1989 states quite clearly that no person employed by managers of a private school, or supervising students on their behalf,
shall use force, by way of correction or punishment, towards any student or child enrolled at or attending the school, institution, or centre, unless that person is a guardian of the student or child.
For a private school to be covered by this clause, it must be registered in terms of s35A. Tyndale Park Christian School is. Their latest ERO report, which finds them to be "efficient" in terms of the Act, is here. I'm also not sure whether its possible to not be registered, as s35A (12) imposes a fine where "a school that is not a registered school operates as a school".
So, they are clearly breaking the law. The question is whether anything can be done about it. Section 139A imposes no penalty on a school which uses corporal punishment (though teachers and managers would be liable for assault charges, and hopefully jailed); the only option would seem to be to cancel their registration, which would stop them operating - something which the ERO would probably regard as being disproportionate.