Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Religion is not a blank cheque

The Herald this morning reports that Tyndale Park Christian School in Auckland is still beating its students - and has got away with it for fifteen years by refusing to tell the ERO about their disciplinary policies.

This is not something we should tolerate. The law is absolutely clear: no school employee, manager or owner is allowed to use corporal punishment. Those who do so are guilty of assault. This applies regardless of whether the person is Christian, Jewish, Atheist, or Muslim.

Religion is not a blank cheque to violate the law. And if this school thinks it is, and refuses to cooperate in changing its policies, they need to be sent avery clear message that it is not. While I doubt the Education Act would allow the school to be deregistered (that would require showing that the school was not "efficient" - and preventing students from being physically abused by school authorities is sadly not part of the requirement), the Minister can impose a manager or appoint a Commissioner. These powers apply even to private schools - and if such schools persist in thinking that they are above the law and that they can assault the students in their care, it is high time they were used.


The school would probably also shut down once its staff were in the clink, yes?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 02:48:00 PM

The mamagement of the school would also possibly be liable under s107 (contravention of statute) of the Crimes Act, which provides for up to a year in jail for contravening any statute that does not explicitly specify a sanction.

Posted by Rich : 4/11/2007 03:08:00 PM

Yes - or if they were deregistered (because anyone who beats their students is not fit to be a teacher). But as much as I'd like to see teachers who beat their students face prosecution, realisticly the Education Act is the easiest path.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2007 03:12:00 PM

Rich: Or they could be convicted and fined for failure to report serious misconduct. But as with prosecuting the teachers, it would require documenting a specific incident of assault, rather than the existence of a general policy.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2007 03:16:00 PM

Surely it's sedition?

Posted by Rich : 4/11/2007 03:55:00 PM

This is the sort of things that makes a mockery of those who claim that parents smacking their kids will be arrested if the sec 59 repeal goes through.

It's technically assault for a teacher to strap a kid: their equivalent of the sec 59 repeal was over 15 years ago. But it's no secret that various schools have done it regularly since then, with no assault charges in the offing.

If it was 3-year-olds getting whacked at creche by child-care workers many more people would be upset. Many of them the same people who seem to think that parents need to be able to whack their own 3-year-old. All about ownership, eh?

I should stop before I start ranting.

Posted by Mr Wiggles : 4/11/2007 04:06:00 PM

...the school's "corporal correction" policy ... acknowledged corporal punishment was forbidden but quoted the Bible saying, "we ought to serve God rather than men".

Yup, clear case of sedition: encouraging others to commit offences, injurous to the public good. Cart'em away and lock'em up.

Posted by Mr Wiggles : 4/11/2007 04:09:00 PM

Sean the difference between parents disciplining kids and teachers doing so, in terms of likelihood of prosecution, is that the CYFS gestapo don't investigate smacking teachers. Perhaps that is because they are not allowed to take kids out of an environment of a smacking school, whereas they can take them out of a home without a proof of smacking.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 04:18:00 PM

Given this issue has been on a low boil for 15 years I'd like to know this... Where are the disaffected students who were physically punished? This school goes from year 1 to 15 and as of the ERO Private School Report of 2005 had 105 pupils.

There's been enough students and enough time for kids to leave school and move out of home with enough media attention about the issue that, assuming they were treated badly, they could have laid a complaint. As far as I am aware, none have.

Another thing, the 2005 report is very positive. For example:

"The education provided by the school is of a generally good standard."

"There is a strong sense of mutual respect and co-operation between teachers and students and students and their peers. Student attendance at school is very good and the small class sizes provide opportunities for teachers to get to know their students well."

"A range of teaching resources and facilities are provided to support good quality learning programmes."

Read the whole thing:$File/52.htm?Open

The kids aren't complaining, the parents aren't complaining and the pupils are getting a good education. Seriously, storm... teacup.

Posted by Muerk : 4/11/2007 05:31:00 PM

Well, if this is such a big deal, and irrespective if a reprimand is given, why don't we be consistent and reprimand doctors in abortion clinics for breaking the law every day of the week...why don't you write a post on that also?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 05:46:00 PM

Is invoking the ol' "abortion is the ultimate child abuse" riff a new form of Godwin's law? I'm starting to think it should be.

This thread isn't actually about abortion, I don't know if you noticed that. If you want to fight the fight over abortion then let's do it, but have the grace to start the conversation somewhere appropriate.

As for the comments about complaints against teachers. Any person is able to make a complaint against a teacher to the Teachers Council, which oversees whether teachers are competent and of fit character. Schools are also obliged to report if they think either of these areas are not met by a teacher. Clearly this school has not been doing so, and in fact has openly had a policy which breaks the law, and encourages its teachers to break the law.

Posted by Span : 4/11/2007 08:53:00 PM

Oh, so parents who smack their kids are "filthy" now, are they? In terms of UNCROC, a child has equal protection "before and after birth" did you not know that? Span does.

No Span, the thread is not about abortion, it is about those who wilfully break the law when the law is clear. I/S used the example of Christian schools administering corporal punishment, or to use your words an organisation that "openly has a policy which breaks the law". I used another equally valid example.

Do you have a problem with that?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 09:53:00 PM

Anonymous, if you have any actual evidence that any law is being broken in any "abortion clinic", it is your duty to report it to the appropriate authorities. If you do not do so, then if there is anything illegal going on, you are morally complicit in such activity.

This is of course assuming that what is being broken is any actual law, and not just the "every sperm is sacred" dictum.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 10:50:00 PM

Corporal punishment is illegal in schools. The issue is as simple as that, whatever diversion tactics people want to employ on this thread.

So, will opposition MPs now be asking questions in the House? Or are they only concerned about tennis balls?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 11:15:00 PM

Corporal punishment is just as illegal in schools as abortions are when the mental health of the mother is not at risk. Yet people complain about corporal punishment and are silent on abortions. Why, if UNCROC provides the same protections to people " before and after birth"?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2007 11:28:00 PM

Anon: The law isn't being broken in "abortion clinics" (or rather, hospitals). s187A (1) (a) of the Crimes Act 1961 permits abortion in cases of serious danger to the mental health of the mother. While you may disagree, the relevant medical professionals (notably, those registered as "certifying consultants") and more importantly the women themselves clearly regard an unwanted pregnancy as such a danger.

If you have evidence that abortions are being conducted without the necessary certification, then I'll echo Spectator in saying "take it to the police". But if you simply disagree with the law, then I'm afraid you'll just have to live with it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2007 11:33:00 PM

Mothers don't have abortions (unless they have previously given birth).
Also do you seriously believe that more than 16,000 pregnant women every year are at risk of not just danger to their mental health, but *serious* danger to the point that they have to have a termination, then you are deluded. I am not so much against laws as I am to the way the laws are implemented by so called certified consultants who act as though they were above the law when they provide "necessary certification" that in many cases is not in adherance with the law any more than Christian schools who smack their kids are.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2007 01:38:00 AM

Anon: Also do you seriously believe that more than 16,000 pregnant women every year are at risk of not just danger to their mental health, but *serious* danger to the point that they have to have a termination

Yes. I'll believe them and their doctors (oh, and Parliament, and the courts - this has been challenged unsuccessfully quite recently) over a random internet troll any day of the week.

Meanwhile its also worth noting that those Christian schools can't even appeal to a difference in interpretation (as you are trying to do here). The law on corporal punishment in schools is very, very clear: it is not allowed, no when, no how. And they're violating it. Either they stop, or its time to shut them down.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/12/2007 02:14:00 AM

this thread has wandered off topic hasn't it...

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2007 07:10:00 AM


I can't see any provision under the Education Act for the Minister to appoint a Commissioner for private schools. Tyndale Park is an independent school--it is not an integrated school.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 4/12/2007 08:12:00 AM

Foetuses *are* part of the mothers body. People are entitled to do what they like with their bodies.

If a woman has religious or other superstitions about life sparks and stuff, she is fully entitled not to have an abortion. You are not entitled to tell her what to do.

Posted by Rich : 4/12/2007 08:42:00 AM

We don't know for certain that the school is using physical punishment. It just is refusing to state that it does not. Given the nature of the school, ie. high parent involvement, small class numbers, I would suspect it very rarely resorts to physical punishment, if ever.

Secondly, the abortion laws and the practice of effective abortion on demand are being challenged in the courts as we speak.

Third, say what you like about the morality of abortion, but the biological reality is that the foetus/embryo is not "part of the mother's body". The baby has his/her own blood supply, genetics and sex. The placenta allows for the transfer of nutrients and oxygen etc, but there's no way that the baby is part of the mother's own body.

Having had all my sons have the hiccups when inside me (weird like you can't believe), I can seriously say, they are independent little beings with discernible personalities. James for example was a very bossy little foetus who didn't like being pressed on or monitered. William liked to stretch his legs and see how strong he was, ouch. Tommy was a squiggler who fell asleep easily but when it was quiet woke up to party. Peter liked to tuck up his legs.

If you don't believe me that unborn babies have personalities talk to sonographers and midwives.

Posted by Muerk : 4/12/2007 09:41:00 AM

I take it you beat your kids meurk.

And who are you to tell a woman what to do with her own body.

Typical religous nutter....

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2007 10:01:00 AM


...the school's "corporal correction" policy acknowledged corporal punishment was forbidden but quoted the Bible saying, "we ought to serve God rather than men".

"We don't know for certain that the school is using physical punishment." -- muerk

I think that's blatant sophistry on your part, muerk.

And anonymous's claims about the "CYFS gestapo" are irrelevant to the sec 59 debate: CYFS are not the police.

CYFS's legal rights and responsibilities are the same whether or not whacking kids qualifies as assault: changing sec.59 neither increases nor decreases their right to take a parent's kids away. You don't need to be charged with assaulting your kids for them to take the kids away: in fact usually you aren't. And if you were charged and found not guilty on grounds of sec. 59, that wouldn't mean CYFS has to give you your kids back.

CYFS have obviously failed to take kids from their parents when they should have (remember the Kahuia twins)? They've also obviously taken kids when they shouldn't (the whole Peter Ellis 'recovered memory' scene was really scary). But that's not what the sec 59 debate is about.

Posted by Mr Wiggles : 4/12/2007 11:19:00 AM


Why would I beat my children? I love them and they are the most precious people. I devote my whole life to their care and education. The fact that you assume I beat my boys, on the basis of what I have written tells me that you have no knowledge of either me or my husband.

But anyway, enough of your tragic assumptions.

As to a woman's body, who am I? Well I am a woman for a start, one who has had four high risk pregnancies. And I'm a Natural Family Planning teacher for a Catholic crisis pregnancy center.

Who are you to allow a mother to end her embryo's or foetus' life? Oh, I have no desire to force a woman into pregnancy, don't get me wrong. But then if women had better control over their fertility and real options about their future where money, education and employment are concerned, abortion would not be the issue it is.

You want to know why women abort? Because employers don't want to pay for decent maternity care, or offer enough paid sick/domestic leave or flexible working hours. It's because education and child care are staggeringly expensive. It's because many fathers of unexpected babies aren't prepared to front up and actually _father_. Domestic purposes benefits create grinding poverty and housing, electricity and food are expensive.

Women don't get actual choice over their bodies until society is prepared to offer real help to solo mothers. Abortion offers a cheap, fast alternative where fathers can escape their responsibilities and women are left holding the can and suffering the medical procedure. Let alone the cost to the foetus...

Don't you patronise me as a nutter you jumped up little man-gnome until you actually work with women in crisis pregnancies and actually meet the women who have been raped but still want their babies or whose boyfriends pressure them to just abort because they don't want to pay child support. Until you have met the people who foster the down syndrome baby whose mother can't look after her.

Try holding the baby girl whose grandparents wanted to kill through abortion, who kicked out the mother because she wouldn't.

Don't talk to me about a woman's body or her choice or her freedom until you get some deeper experiences of pregnant women, some that is tethered to _their_ reality as opposed to your narrow ideology.

Posted by Muerk : 4/12/2007 03:22:00 PM


"I think that's blatant sophistry on your part, muerk."

Yeah, you're likely right. But I'm unwilling to assume they definitely strap their pupils just because they won't say they don't.

The Ministry of Ed has to look into it because it's the law. But I doubt that pupils are genuinely suffering real harm.

I know I wouldn't send my children there. There's no way I would want my kids to have even the possibility of getting strapped.

Posted by Muerk : 4/12/2007 03:30:00 PM

Hey, I just thought I'd drop in and say that here is a report that states that those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems, more so than those of who gave birth. Meaning that if mental health was an issue, they would get a termination - but if they did so, their mental heath issues actually got worse meaning that abortion could be associated with increasing mental health problems and their mental health problems may not have been "serious" pre abotion or they will be critical now. Perhaps they would be better off if they had not had an abortion. Make of it what you will....

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2007 08:58:00 PM

You are a relgious nutter meurk, and the sooner you realise that the imaginary man in the clouds you belive in doesnt exist the better. SCIENCE, not magic is the way of the future. People like you are destined for the scrap heap "moral values" and all.

If a woman wants to have an abortion, she sould be able to and not be judged by bible bashers like you.

Why dont you fuck off to Saudi Arabia...they will welcome people like you

Posted by Anonymous : 4/13/2007 01:13:00 AM

> Foetuses *are* part of the mothers body. People are entitled to do what they like with their bodies.

that does sound a bit like saying one conjoint twin is allowed to kill another conjoint twin because they are connected. I think we would need more justification than just that.

> You are not entitled to tell her what to do.

Maybe not and yet that position does presuppose the conclusion of the debate.

I am inclined philosophically towards some complex middle ground.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/13/2007 07:42:00 AM


Religious or not, you haven't (or couldn't) responded to the financial or social issues that I brought up.

Lame... just lame. I mean you can't even get your countries right, you want to send me to Poland, not Saudi. Sheesh.

Posted by Muerk : 4/13/2007 10:38:00 AM

Poland, Saudi, same god, different names...

Same iron-fisted theocracy..

Posted by Anonymous : 4/13/2007 10:59:00 AM

GNZ: this thread has wandered off topic hasn't it...

Hell yes. Which is what you get for responding, however reasonably, to trolls.

And Millsy, if you're simply going to abuse people, it might be better to stay on Kiwiblog.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/13/2007 11:30:00 AM