Complaints over tawse set record

By Frances Gibb

A mother in Walsall, West Midlands, has made a record number of five complaints to the European Commission in Strasbourg over beatings administered to her children.

The complaints, disclosed today by the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment (Stopp), brings to 32 the number of complaints concerning corporal punishment submitted to the commission.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights held that such beatings against parents’ wishes contravened the European Convention on Human Rights but they continue at a “lavish rate”, according to Stopp.


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The five complaints have been lodged by Mrs Susan Liddington over her children Joy, aged 16, Ian, aged 15 and Alan, aged 14, at Shelfield Community School in Walsall.

Joy, who has now left school, was given two lashes of the tawse on the hands for spitting at a pupil who had knocked her over. She agreed to the beating rather than be suspended just before her mock O-level examinations.

Alan was given two lashes on his buttocks for allegedly demanding money from another pupil, a charge he denies. Each child has also been suspended on separate occasions for four days for refusing the tawse.

Mrs Liddington said: “The school knows my wishes but just carries on regardless”.