was the cane effective

I have two questions for the membership of this site.

1) was the cane effective as a way of punishing offences in school, by this I mean that it was so bad that a boy would comply with school rules in future to avoid another encounter.

2) was it effective in detering boys from breaking rules in the first place.

I would be interested to hear your views


Allowing for the odd exception to every rule, the answer to both questions is an emphatic ‘yes’ but it would be an even-more-emphatic ‘yes’ if a similar question were to be asked about face-branding, tongue-slitting and/or blinding.


There were a few boys who got it regularly and treated it as a hazard associated with being caught. They did not go looking for it by any means. Generally they were slightly thick.
The majority ( like the writer) were scared stiff of it due to both the mystery of it, the fact that it went on your report and the fact that it was a source of humiliation that no right minded individual would want.
I conclude that it was a very effective way of ensuring good behaviour with minimum effort.


As our school policy was two strikes and you’re out, you could argue anyone like me who was caned once for smoking should have been deterred, at least by the possibility of imminent expulsion if caught again.

I wasn’t. Nor, from memory were a dozen or so people in the 2 years either side of me who were similarly dealt with.

Only one of us did get caught again and duly expelled. I would claim the fear of expulsion turned me into a devious liar, but I wonder how much of that was there to start with.

I would guess, by the way, there were between one & two dozen canings a year at our place, and that’s from an “eligible”(ie non 6th-form)roll of c 750-800. I don’t recall any peak years(beatings were ALWAYS announced in a typed notice on the Head’s noticeboard), but neither do I recall the practice nearly dying out through lack of patronage!

So, no, I don’t really think it made a great deal of difference at my school. And that was, from what I’ve learnt since, a quite restrained use of the cane.


t sure as heck scared me. In fact it scared me so much that I behaved well enough to avoid it entirely – despite being educated at a school where both prefects and headmaster wielded it with some regularity! [/list]Would Subscriptions Manager please be kind enough to confirm that the foundation posting in this thread comes from Honorary Life Member Ex-Headmaster George and not from an imposter George. The style seems to me to be a little different, though I suppose limiting the question to boys may indicate its authenticity.


I have to say though that your posting above seems to me to abandon the cool logic which normally characterises your contributions here. Even if this discussion was of Singapore type judicial caning I think the juxtaposition of any of the barbaric and maiming punishments you list would be a little extreme, given their effect on the victim’s subsequent ability to live a normal life.

This discussion does not concern judicial caning though, it concerns caning as applied to naughty schoolboys. As far as I am aware that seldom left the recipients maimed for life! Does your selection of such severe penalties for your comparison indicate that you think that punishments for misbehaviour in the school environment should be non-existent or so mild that they neither reform nor deter? If so, that is exactly the situation that seems to exist now, and look at the result!


Oh yes,it is used in S’pore school,it is effective,used as a last resort here,offenders usually get 2-3 heavy strokes on the clothed bottom,even the ‘toughtest’ boys will ‘jump’ up on every stroke.


n my personal experience fairly applied boys high school canings were an effective deterrent and much better than most modern alternatives.


If I understand it correctly, George’s point appears to be that if caning was an effective deterrent it was therefore a good thing.

My point is that being a deterrent does not, in itself, make caning or any other sanction a good thing.

Any sanction from a disapproving look to burning at the stake may or may not be a good thing, depending upon one’s viewpoint, but its goodness is not proved by its deterrent effect.