20 September 2016


I wrote this paragraph as part of an exploration of social reality. It doesn't quite fit the tone of the essay, but I didn't want to just delete it.

"When I was in primary school an aspect of a teacher acting in loco parentis was that they were enabled to administer physical punishments. Some teachers used this as a last resort when other options failed, while others used the threat of violence as their primary means of maintaining order and even seemed to take pleasure in both threatening and using violence against children. One teacher in particular was a sadistic maniac. So when the laws regarding corporal punishment changed from enabling to prohibition, I was very pleased. More informally there were existing prohibitions against peer to peer violence. These were considerably strong between sexes. If two boys had a fight it was treated as a misdemeanour. If a boy fought with a girl, it was considered very serious, and usually resulted in a beating for the boy. The irony of beating boys for committing acts of violence was never raised. The girls understood this set up and often exploited it, knowing that they were protected by the rules and could provoke boys with relative impunity. On a couple of occasions when I suffered fairly serious assaults in primary school (an arm broken more or less on purpose and having my face gouged with finger nails) the retribution exacted by the headmaster of our school was quite terrifying in itself. It was an explosion of the angry violence of a grown man inflicted on a child. I was certainly scarred by these attacks, but the kids who hurt me probably came off worse. That such things are now illegal is certainly a good thing."

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