Nation e-Edition

Mere sheep in wolves’ clothes

By HAMISH MCCLURG

| Mon, November 12, 2012 - 12:01 AM

Mere sheep in wolves’ clothes ()

Bully for you, Ridley Greene – which translated means congratulations for telling it like it is on bullying in the last MIDWEEK NATION.

“Violence breeds violence” is the trite phrase trotted out by child psychiatrists to justify kid glove treatment for recalcitrant children, ignoring the lack of statistics on those children who “endured corporal punishment” and turned out upright and kind citizens.

Of course, there are cases of gross abuse, but even those do not necessarily produce bullies. In my youth, people other than parents were permitted, nay encouraged, to administer corporal punishment on any juvenile they happened to see engaged in malfeasance. If you got caught, you had two punishments: one on the spot, another when you got home.

Bullies are sheep in wolves’ clothing and generally cannot themselves handle serious opposition – by which I mean thumping. I cannot understand why schoolchildren in this country cannot sort these problems out themselves without the intervention of teachers who, in any case, are often unaware of what is going on.

My own little Highland Village School was once inundated with children of incomers hired to cut down the woods for the war effort – no, not World War I! One family had 20 children, and another 13 – the parents were obviously lacking other recreational facilities. There was an attempt, through weight of numbers (I was under six of them at one time), but ignorance of the Queensberry Rules helped us (well, me) to victory.

Peace reigned in the school. I was nine years old at the time.

I do not suggest that mayhem become the order of the day, but the threat of peer punishment can be very effective.

I recall there was a certain traffic cop on his motorcycle who spread “terror” in the hearts of traffic offenders who then had to face the wrath of the law in the person of Magistrate Lennox Perry, who meted out summary justice.

Ridley Greene put it much more delicately, academically and convincingly than I, and he has my vote.

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