NZ Herald Jul 29, 2009
Nineteen years after physical punishment was banned in schools, a sampling of children suggests that while most want the ban, there is still some support for smacking as a form of discipline. Ten out of 17 Year 7 pupils at Rangeview Intermediate in Te Atatu said they would vote no in the referendum which says: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Six would vote yes, a higher proportion than the mere 11 per cent of parents voting yes in a Herald/DigiPoll survey last weekend, but still a minority. One student was unsure.
The sample is tiny and makes no pretence to be representative beyond the fact that Rangeview is ranked decile 5, in the middle of the parental income scale. An intermediate school was chosen on the basis that the students, all but one of them aged 11, are old enough to have opinions but young enough for discipline to be fresh in their memories. The sample is likely to be biased against smacking because only 17 parents out of the class of about 30 returned permission slips for their children to take part. The chances are that parents who smack heavily were less likely to give permission.
Yet 14 of the 17 children still report having been smacked and, despite the official doctrine of non-violence at school, most believe their parents were right to smack them.