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School CP - July 1971

Globe and Mail, Toronto, 23 July 1971

Toronto abolishes the strap

By Loren Lind

The Toronto Board of Education last night abolished the use of the strap in city schools.

By a vote of 11-6, the trustees ruled that children shall no longer be subjected to corporal punishment of any kind.

Until now, strapping of children on the hands was the only form of corporal punishment legally permitted.

City schools were equipped with a standardized strap of belting material, 16 inches long and 1� inches wide, which they were authorized to use. Each strapping was to be recorded in a corporal punishment book.

The straps were used 760 times in the 1969-70 school year and 196 times last school year.

The board last night overrode the advice of its director of education, Ronald Jones, who told the trustees: "I think to make such a thing mandatory is wrong."

He pleaded with the trustees to wait until the practice has changed through education rather than legislation, and until alternatives to strapping were available to teachers.

cutting These alternatives would be smaller classes, more teacher training in mental health, and more guidance programs under the board's Child Adjustments Services. He said such changes would reduce the incidence of strappings.

Trustee Fiona Nelson asked him if such services had been increased last year, when strapping decreased by more than 60 per cent.

"That is the result of the accumulative growth of this sort of thing," he replied.

The board last night also discounted the advice of the elementary Toronto Teachers Federation and the Toronto Public School Principals Association, asking that the strap not be abolished.

Several of the trustees who retained strapping in a 10-8 vote last year were absent last night. Trustee William Lang wanted to defer the issue until September, but his motion lost.

Trustee Gordon Cressy, a proponent of community control, tried to amend the vote to place the option of corporal punishment in the hands of local school-community councils. This was ruled out of order by chairman James Bonham.

Trustees voting against the strap were Graham Scott, K. Dock Yip, Judy Jordan, Ben Rose, Richard Frost, David Shanoff, Ted Matthews, Mr Cressy, Mrs Nelson, William Ross, and Mary Fraser.

Those voting for it: Mr Lang, Herbert Barnes, Kevin Fitzgibbons, Mahlon Beach, Irene McBrien, and Mr Bonham.

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