Spare the Child

Corporal Punishment in Kenyan Schools

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For most Kenyan children, violence is a regular part of the school experience. Teachers use caning, slapping, and whipping to maintain classroom discipline and to punish children for poor academic performance. The infliction of corporal punishment is routine, arbitrary, and often brutal. Bruises and cuts are regular by-products of school punishments, and more severe injuries (broken bones, knocked-out teeth, internal bleeding) are not infrequent. At times, beatings by teachers leave children permanently disfigured, disabled or dead. Such routine and severe corporal punishment violates both Kenyan law and international human rights standards. According to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, school corporal punishment is incompatible with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world's most widely-ratified human rights treaty. Other human rights bodies have also found some forms of school-based corporal punishment to be cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and a practice that interferes with a child's right to receive an education and to be protected from violence.

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