Head defends ban on boy who refused caning
by Christopher Howse THE SUSPENSION by a Catholic school of a boy whose father refuses to allow him to be caned has brought to the fore the controversial question of corporal punishment in Church schools.
A 13-year-old boy at the Cardinal Vaughan School, Kensington, was suspended last week. He had been ordered to be caned by the headmaster after being "flagrantly disobedient and insolent" to an Indian master during a science lesson. His father refused to allow him to undergo the punishment.
The boys is still under suspension and his father is appealing to the school governors who will consider the case on Monday. Meanwhile, the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment (Stapp) has asked Bishop David Konstant, chairman of the Westminster Education Commission to step in and overturn the suspension.
But Mr Anthony Pellegrini, headmaster of the Vaughan School said this week that he had received no copy of any letter that Stapp may have sent, nor had they contacted him. Bishop Konstant had not contacted the headmaster, who believes it is a matter for the governors.
A questionnaire was recently sent to heads of Catholic schools by the diocesan education commission asking for information on corporal, punishment. The
schools office has yet to inform heads of its advice on corporal punishment. in the light of the ban by the Inner London Education Authority on corporal punishment in its own schools.
Several Catholic school heads are firmly committed to caning. Their schools. with other voluntary aided schools are not bound by ILEA policy decisions.Whatever advice the Westminster Schools Commission gives them is unlikely to mean the end of the cane in Catholic schools.
Mr Peliegrini is convinced of the disciplinary and deterrent value of caning, but stressed that in his school it seldom had to be used. Only 13 boys at Cardinal Vaughan School were caned last year.
He added: "The boy is a pupil to whom the school has shown the greatest possible forbearance. He has been guilty of unparalleled misconduct and has never been caned. Some think that he should have been before.
The boy's father knew the governorspolicy relating to corporal punishment before he sent his son here. If he is not willing to accept clearly stated policy, it could be in the boy's interest to tnansfer him to another school."
Mr Pellegrini said that parents supported him on the issue and he was saddened to see how unbalanced reports in the secular pram had been..