Wednesday, August 23, 2006


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.


The Act seems to be very badly drafted. I'm no lawyer, but isn't it possible to seek an injunction to enforce compliance with a statutory requirement like this?

Also, I'd suggest that if the staff (as a body) are advocating criminal actions, then that means they are obviously unsuitable to run and work in the school, making that school not "efficient" on grounds of staffing. The ERO should warn them to mend their ways, and shut them if they dont - pour encourager les autres.

Posted by Rich : 8/23/2006 09:55:00 AM

Danger, Helen: an actual moral stand required by the government.
Watch for the issue to be studiously swept under the carpet or finessed away.. just think "what would Blair do?"

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2006 01:44:00 PM

The school's trying to breach the law. I say they deserve a good flogging.


Posted by Anonymous : 8/24/2006 12:37:00 AM

If the Christian Right must indulge their taste for corporal punishment, why can't it be with consenting adults as opposed to non-consenting children?

Have they never read Foucault's comments about 'implantation of perversions' either...?

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/24/2006 01:06:00 PM