Disciplining children seems to be the second most priority of a school, next to studies and education. In some schools it is given the highest priority, even over studies. What is our objective in doing so? What are the byproducts of disciplining? How will it effect the student and finally the society it self? There are quite a few questions that come to the mind, if you really take a second look at the subject.
First let us see what action and behavior is seen in the Principals, Teachers and Prefects of schools in disciplining students. They have designed and are implementing a very strict dress code. This seems to be the far most important element out of all activities meant for disciplining. So you are supposed to wear an uniform with the school badge, round toe shoes (square toe shoes are prohibited in most schools) with shoelaces but without any metallic attachments, cut and maintain your hair so that it is not too short and not too long, hair clean combed and face clean shaved. Not too bad for a student. It keeps him more focused on studies and less focused on fashionable trends.
However there are some issues connected with this prescribed attire. For some built up boys it is difficult to find round toes that fits their feet. Most often they have to wear shoes very tight or they have to opt for the next big size and eventually end up with loose shoes. Both the options are unsatisfactory. But there is no way this could be addressed, especially with small made Principals and Staff. They never understand.
If the debacle is over with that it is well and good. After all, the leg gets accustomed to the size and though with difficulty decides to live with it. But there is more to these restrictions.
It creates lot of ambiguities in implementing. First, how short is short hair and how long is long hair. Second, how shaven is a shaved face. Third, how square is a round toe? All this is debatable. There is always room for interpretation. This space is exploited by prefects, teachers and other administrators to punish their rivals. Some times some of these elements enjoy bullying students without any rivalry. Some times more inhuman punishments (punishments that are not compatible with the offence) are given to students to fulfill these mental disorders of these so called administrators of discipline. If you really observe you will find that it amounts to ragging you could see in Universities but administered under a different pretext and with an official seal.
This is not to suggest that those who propagate the idea of disciplining children are all insane and have mental disorders. In fact there are people who really feel that it is their duty to discipline children so that they end up being good citizens and eventually would get better lives for themselves as a result. This set of people believe that the society should have only one identity, one direction, one thinking, one vision, one character, one set of beliefs. They also believe that this one thinking is the thinking and rest is inferior. Hence they believe who think otherwise as bad and that the latter should be brought back to the main stream thinking. No deviation, hence, would be tolerated and there remains one and only one to be upheld as “the one”. Suppressing dissent is thought as disciplining and what ever measures adapted to discipline the deviants are therefore welcome and justified. So anyone who has little longer hair is considered as a threat to this mainstream thinking and considered as one that should be disciplined. When such is done he will soon have to discipline himself and meekly submit to the main stream order.
This is what the school teaches us. This is what the mainstream of the society want us to believe.
The question is at what cost we achieve this obedience and discipline. The victimized is not the children alone, but also the process of “innovation”.
When deviation is discouraged nothing new can evolve. When the current status co is not questioned every thing will get hardened at its present position. You become dead. Society becomes dead.
Though there are many consequences such as swollen feet and mental agony, worst is none of those, but the killing of innovation and creating of a stagnant (dead) society; a society that is full of deaf, blind and dumb.
Can we have a second thought about disciplining?