Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Who is teaching our boys not to hit girls?

Published:Friday | April 16, 2021 | 12:05 AM


Do our primary/prep schools teach children how to treat each other? Back in the 1960s when I attended Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, known then simply as Boys School, which did have girls in attendance, the principal made it abundantly clear that “gentlemen do not hit ladies”.

Any boy who hit a girl received personal attention from him, the dreaded Mr Hewling. The prospect of ending up in the “lion’s den” for hitting a girl ensured that such incidents were few.

I well recall one such incident and the boy was duly sent to Mr Hewling’s office. We boys knew this was tantamount to a death sentence so we crowded around, peeping through every available crack to see sentence executed. Mr Hewling had this leather strap which he placed on his desk and the guilty party immediately started crying. Mr Hewling ignored him and just remained at his desk doing what principals did for what seemed like forever.

Keithy just wept until he couldn’t cry any more and started to gasp and retch. I’ll never forget what happened then. Mr Hewling finally looked at him and asked, “What you doing here?” Keithy could only gasp and retch in answer. Mr Hewling simply sent him back to class.

There was no flogging, but the point was made loud and clear. I never asked, but have wondered whether Keithy might not have just preferred the flogging. All of us who were looking on would have preferred that outcome, too, but none of us had any doubt that hitting a girl was viewed as a very serious offence.

I wonder who trains our boys to understand that it shouldn’t be done.