In a much welcome precedent dealing with heinous incidents of corporal punishment, the arrest of the principal of Cadet College Mastung heralds a time of change in the prevailing culture of the more archaic branches of our education system.

The atrocious and shameful torture of students by an authority figure misusing his vocation and capacity is a huge depravity and to ignore ills like corporal punishment is akin to approving of them. It is a matter of grave concern and fear for both parents and children enrolled in the school to put their trust in an administration that is susceptible to such a practices. Where the adage of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ is a concept that has been repeatedly rebuked and deemed as archaic with deep psychological implications for both the child and the adult wielding the rod, the fact that this incident of abuse was carried out as a serving of revenge by the principal, in utter abuse of his powers, points to the rampant and routine misuse of such regressive notions by those who are entrusted with authority. As a collective society we must categorically condemn the incident and the concept of corporal punishment that is still widely and wrongfully inflicted in schools all over Pakistan most of it to serve personal vendettas.

Where the court should also take due notice of the medical injuries suffered by the tortured students, to determine the extent and veracity of the barbaric act and accordingly present a ruling, it should also be swift and unequivocal in its judgment to assert its complete condemnation of the crime and to deter further incidents of such abuse. The government on its end needs to enforce more stringent policies against corporal punishment as well as providing for counselling and assistance for those who are left traumatized by such abuse. Where the role of the court in the incident has been and will be pivotal, it should be realized that in the era of social media and activism, it is the social conscience of the public that now issues the real verdict.