God, you know you've reached a certain age when you start attending P&C meetings. I went to one a while ago - I bailed at the 2 hour mark because it looked like it was going to drag on for 3 hours, and I don't have the stomach for meetings that last more than 45 minutes generally.
About 20 parents turned up for this particular yak-fest. I was trying to gauge them by their dress, demeanour and hairstyles when we were invited to stand up and introduce ourselves. I quickly pegged that we had two enviro-fruitloops (the hand-knitted jumpers had already given them away, but the opening of their mouths instantly confirmed that initial impression) and 18 fairly normal people.
Halfway through the meeting, the subject of discipline came up. The Head made lots of soothing remarks about some sort of assertive rights-based something or other, when a crusty bloke down the end blurted out, "Bring back the cane!" The greenie in front of me nearly keeled over in shock, especially when heads up and down the line bobbed up and down in agreement. Another chimed in with, "A good flogging never hurt anyone", and that's when the mutterings of approval started.
The poor old Head, who is very new-school, just stood there in open mouthed amazement that she was looking after the offspring of such hairy-backed throwbacks and rednecks. The subject was quickly changed to something else - environmental policy I believe. That started a discussion about killing weeds with RoundUp, and again the greenie in front of me almost fainted - how dare we use chemicals at a school! The greenie was ignored as the other parents talked about how much we should budget for RoundUp, and whether a tankerload was sufficient.
The saying that "A good flogging never hurt anyone" is complete bunkum of course. The thing about floggings is that they are supposed to hurt. They are supposed to hurt so much, you'd never again consider doing the stupid thing that warranted the flogging in the first place. Having been on the recieving end of six of the best in my time, I know what a powerful behaviour modifier the cane can be - and clearly all the parents around me knew that too.
I wonder if we will see a return to floggings in my lifetime. A backlash is always possible. The majority opinion tonight was crystal clear.