6 May, 2021


A School Managed By A Child Beater & Bully

By Vishane Herath

Vishane Herath

The international day of action against corporal punishment of minors fell on 30th of April. This date, and the advocacy priorities that it brings to the fore, are of prime importance to the context of Sri Lanka. A country where corporal punishment has been normalised and even appreciated in the schooling system for many, many decades, Sri Lanka is home to a schooling system where a culture of physical abuse and corporal punishment of minors by adults is, in some cases, a day-to-day occurrence. 

As someone who used to be regularly victimised by this toxic culture, it is my understanding that a great deal of work remains to be done in combating corporal punishment in our schools. The work of collectives such as ‘Stop Child Cruelty Sri Lanka’ has been central in guiding us in a progressive direction. We need to keep working to make corporal punishment a shameless vice of yesteryear. One way of getting there is indeed a somewhat direct approach, which some may deem controversial. This involves calling out in public, ‘naming and shaming’ schoolteachers who engage in corporal punishment. These individuals are nothing but child abusers and absolute criminals. Calling them out, and ‘normalising’ publicly shaming them, is a path to making corporal punishment something present and future teachers will learn to be ashamed of.

The issue is larger than the issue itself – as in – its trigger and trauma effects have long-term impacts. They contribute to the culture of violence and toxicity we find everywhere in our society. A prime example is our universities, where violent crime and abuse in the name of ‘ragging’ is normalised. On top of it all, let us not forget the fact that we live in a country where citizens are indeed being constantly ‘ragged’ by the political class. 

In this spirit, let this article be a starting point that will inspire many other people to publicly call out, name and shame those who exercised corporal punishment upon them. Let this trigger a series of naming and shaming of teachers who used the tremendous power imbalance between a teacher and a pupil in Sri Lankan schools to beat up young children with next to no agency. 

I am sitting at my desk and contemplating about the time I spent in high school, a gender segregated all girls’ school named Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I should let the readers know that I am a transgender man, who came out to most peers and adults around the same time I was studying in this school. My memories of school are a mixed bag of more bad memories than good ones. When I think back, I am struck by the fact that almost all my bad memories are centered around one sinister individual, the woman who held the position of the principal, WDPK Samarasinghe, also known as Pradeepa Samarasinghe (Hereinafter referred to as PS).

As far as I remember, she was transferred to our school as the Principal from whatever position she held at a girls’ school in Kandy, towards the latter part of 2009. My first close encounter with her occurred a few months later, around May 2010, during the school’s annual Vesak celebrations.

There were certain ‘rules’ we had to follow we used to question, and things we were not allowed to bring to the school (such as USBs, DVDs, autographs etc). I had 7 other friends who I considered my close circle back then. We used to question some of these archaic ways and preferred to follow only those ‘rules’ that made sense to us.

One day, our classroom had been ‘randomly chosen to be checked’.  By ‘checking’, I mean prefects and/or the class teacher going through every student’s personal belongings without prior notice or their consent, to see if they see anything ‘suspicious’. And by ‘suspicious’, I mean anything that could indicate a student was involved in any way with the ‘opposite sex,’ or if they have aforementioned ‘illegal goods!’ [yes, hail Tom Brown’s schooldays!]

Long story short, the prefects had confiscated a few DVDs we had in our school bags and an ‘autograph’ (a book we used to write inside jokes and nonsense about each other in our close circle). PS brutally smacked four of us in front of the rest of the class. We were then dragged to her office and were forced to kneel on the floor till the school day ended. This was followed by more smacking, and the use of very condescending, patronizing, and disgusting language, extremely unbecoming of a responsible educator. All of this because she could not handle a few teenagers being themselves, and because they had Harry Potter DVDs. How bold of them!

This is just one example among many of how PS took it out on the students. After the above-mentioned first encounter, it was as if I was ‘marked’ by her, and the bullying did not stop until the day I left school.

As a teenager who was grappling with issues of gender dysphoria, and the depression and anxiety that came along with it, getting bullied by peers and teachers was already far from manageable. If you may put yourself in my shoes, consider getting bullied by the school principal on top of all that, simply because she could not stand someone who refused to be shaped into a mould – her mould. In hindsight, my masculine presentation would have also been a major factor that fuelled her hatred of me. I personally knew many students who were at school around the same time, who were also bullied by PS, simply because they had different opinions and perspectives that were critical of the school principal’s archaic, Victorian era understanding of the world.

I recall an occasion when PS beat up a group of students without any form of prior investigation. This happened because the said group of students were “having some food in the cafeteria during class time”. It was later revealed that these students were not having classes during the time, and that they in fact had no obligation to be in class. This was because they were awaiting the results of their GCE O/L exam. They were therefore in school not to follow regular classes, but for some other reason. This was the extent of the principal’s sadism and paranoia!

Another incident that best describes the cruelty of the principal is the case of a student who was once summoned to the principal’s office, in the presence of the teacher who oversaw “discipline”. The reason for this summons was a mere rumour, that this student was having a romantic relationship with a boy. PS had slapped the student, which caused bleeding through her nose.  This incident alone would have been grounds for immediate dismissal of the principal in any civilised country. At this school, however, it went unreported, because the principal contacted the parents of the student and threatened to expel the student if they were to report what happened to a national human rights mechanism or to any other competent authority.

In a major plot-twist, it was later revealed that the principal had made a complete mistake in identifying the student concerned by these rumours [at this point, I would like to reiterate that no teenager deserves corporal punishment for being themselves. What is necessary is comprehensive and open-minded sex and relationship education, and breaking the dogmatic views surrounding these issues in the Lankan schooling system]. 

Before she was appointed principal, Devi Balika Vidyalaya was a place where young minds were encouraged, at least to a certain degree, independent thinking. This does not, however, imply in any way that it was a school with very progressive policies. Instead, what I mean is that it did have some space to produce citizens who could think critically, instead of being moulded to look at the world only with a sense of servility. It was a place where girls (and to a certain extent closeted trans boys and non-binary youth) were encouraged to grow into their authentic and diverse selves. 

Today, all these elements, and indeed the very guiding ideals of the founding principal, Deshabandu Dr Wimala de Silva, have gone down the drain. It is no exaggeration to say that today, Devi Balika is producing machines with brains instead of citizens capable of critical and counter-intuitive thinking.

Pradeepa Samarasinghe is not only a practitioner of corporal punishment deeply condescending foul language when talking to students. She can also be described as thoroughly unprincipled. Not only does she take issue with students who stand up to her and her corrupt ways, but she does the very same with members of the academic staff.  Teachers who oppose her ways mysteriously get transfers to schools in rural areas. In the Past Pupils’ Association, she weeds out past pupils who stand up to her. 

PS also punishes feminist thinking and she herself is a strong defender of the patriarchy. In a so-called ‘girls’ school’, this is indeed deeply problematic [I also wish to highlight that every child, irrespective of their gender, requires a feminist education].

To give but a basic example, the school had a tradition of annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations. Before the arrival of PS, students could dress any kind of New year related clothing as they pleased.  Students would wear dresses, traditional Sinhala garments, traditional Tamil garments, national dresses, sarongs, vettis and shirts, and even shorts and t-shirts occasionally. There was no discrimination based on what you wore, and there was no gender segregation in clothing, as anyone could wear whatever they pleased. This was an occasion I was usually the happiest because I got to be my most authentic self. As I remember, this was not just a day where everyone got to wear whatever they wanted. It was also a day on which students were taught about different traditions and customs, teaching them a strong message on inclusivity and friendship at the same time. I reiterate the point about inclusivity, because even though it was Sinhala and Tamil New Year, pupils who belonged to different ethnicities and followed different religions were not left behind. They could also wear whatever they were comfortable with.  Teachers often used to ask Sinhala and Tamil students to bring an extra piece of clothing to share with our friends who might not celebrate New Year in their homes.  Every classroom would get together and appoint roles of a family (very cisgender heteronormative of course) to fellow classmates and they were to dress accordingly and follow the New Year customs too. Every classroom would have a feast table filled with sweets where both Sinhala traditions and Hindu traditions were celebrated. And every classroom would share their food with other classrooms. This annual celebration was one of those events where we were taught inclusion and respect. It taught us how to “celebrate” each other’s differences. This is indeed the kind of example that every single educational institution ought to develop, especially given our recent history of a 30-year war, post-war challenges and continuing ethnonational and ethno-religious cleavages.  

Soon after PS became principal, one of the very first things she “changed” was this celebration.

She imposed a ‘rule’ that students can only wear the traditional Sinhala attire for women (redda-hatte), or the lama sari, which is the traditional attire for girl-child, or the school uniform, for this event. This was the ‘only right’ thing according to her extremist ‘Sinhala-Buddhist’ ultranationalist ideals. Teachings about diversity, inclusion, celebrating differences and respecting one another all went down the drain. In addition, the one chance for a trans or queer student to experience even the slightest sense of belonging, came to an end. In fact, she despised diversity. Instead, her policies were intended at ensuring uniformity and conformity to an ultra-conservative Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist agenda.  PS was (and still is) hell bent on moulding young minds into becoming wives who faithfully serve their husbands, doctors who would only be book smart, engineers who would not dare question their male counterparts at work, women who would willingly obey and serve, and women who would not utter a single word against glass ceilings and other gender-based barriers and women who are oblivious to issues of gender-based injustices in society. It is indeed very sad that in the community of recent past pupils, only a few of us have been fortunate to “liberate” ourselves from the shackles of her destructively extremist policies.  

Unfortunately, it is a truism that many of my peers would serve this patriarchal system, when they have every potential to go above and beyond it and rise. Yet another prime example of the fraudulent and narcissistic ways of PS is the latest set of developments concerning Devi Balika Vidyalaya [read, for example, here]. This, however, is a topic for another day and another article. What was described above was, indeed, all but the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The issue of corporal punishment, and the resulting culture of toxicity, its mental health effects on children and youth, have a lifelong negative impact on the victims of corporal punishment. It is therefore absolutely vital that we continue to call out in public, name and shame every single individual who commits such violent and destructive crimes on the nation’s children and youth.

*Vishane Herath(he/him) is a Human Rights Defender. He is currently completing his undergraduate degree in Gender Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. He writes in a personal capacity.

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Latest comments

  • 23

    I know nothing about this Principal and nothing about the writer. But as an Attorney I can say that this article would most possibly amount to defamation. It is highly improbable that all of the material submitted here could be factually correct.

    Even in the unlikely event that the facts mentioned here are 100% correct, this still does not justify the name calling. Wish that CT publishes more professional articles instead of slander.

    Could an old girl of Devi Balika please verify if all of the above is correct? Feel sorry for the Principal who has been taken to the cleaners, and who may not even be in a position (now) to exercise her right of reply!

    • 10

      HR Defender
      I fully agree with you.
      It is unfair, as the accused starts with an already tarnished reputation. Remedial litigation brings with it costs other than money and time; and the offenders are probably out of reach for the arms of law.
      The story, if true, should have been taken up at the appropriate levels and, all failing, an alert could have been issued in the media, with the relevant background.

    • 9

      Mr. Attorney at Law aka HR defender ??. Lets leave the current Low and Odor situation and respectability of our judiciary for another day. You say I don’t know nothing about principal or writer but came to the conclusion her story is not 100% correct , highly improbable that material is correct, does not justify name calling and blame CT for printing her article, and then threaten/scare with defamation. Did you think you were in court ??? 1) you mean only principal has access to judiciary and not the alleged victim.2) If a person is abused are they not suppose to name the perpetrator ?? 3) In a different part of the world if anyone made such allegation (for abuse there is no such time line to file charges)the authority would have taken the principal for inquiry, would not have allowed any access to victim or other children until inquiry is over and HR will be more supportive to alleged victim and not perpetrator. 4) For me it’s obvious you the attorney ( definitely nothing to do with HR) is influenced by school or individual to come with such comment.

    • 4

      This sort of exposure would normally be found in social media but despite the possibility of legal implications bordering slander or deformation of character, I can understand the writer’s apparent pent up frustration by ‘naming & shaming’ a culprit who would otherwise be held in high esteem by the public, ignorant of the misdeeds.

      In my school days, from nursery to upper school, I have experienced discrimination, bullying &, even terror, in the hands of teachers, particularly, as juniors. Looking back, I can count the number of teachers for whom I have some respect with the fingers of a single hand. Unfortunately, the trend apparently continues in SL.

  • 12

    Oh dear

    The snowflakes attack. I don’t know this teacher but I remember many Teachers who were tough and were legends of our time in school.

    I hold no grudges to the corporal punishments that were handed down to me. I believe some were richly deserved. ( regardless of my opinion at the time) What you will realize in time when you are my age is that life gives you much worse than any corporal punishment any teacher can give.

    So please move on, live life, and stop trying to take revenge, because you will never achieve anything.

  • 18

    Vividly brings back my schooldays at St Peters, Bambalapitiya, in the early 70s. Many of the piously robed teachers, including the Billa principal were sadists and perverts. Fists, slaps, canings at the slightest pretense. How they enjoyed themselves!

    • 8

      I hear you. I spent my entire school years at this hallowed institution of Child abusers. The funny thing if it can be called funny is that we had no idea about LGBTQ or what it stood for. We were too busy being terrorized. I am amazed at how we have managed to cope and end up leading normal lives. In my memories the worst of it occured in the primary. By the time we entered college we knew the drill and how not to get in trouble and also some of the children who had issues and got the brunt of it just left. What is most memorable was the attitude of some parents who asked the teachers to beat up their sons even more because some how the canning was not enough. What a sadistic place it was. I firmly swore never to send any child of mine to it and thankfully I never had to.

  • 18

    Wow! What a coincidence!
    This article emerged only after there was a protest against the Rajapaksa government’s decision to shift the science and math section of Devi Balika Vidyalaya to a suburb, clearly to pave the way for another land grab in Colombo 8 where contradictory interests of different actors are involved.
    The following article appeared on CT two days ago:
    I wish to reiterate the fact that in cases of land grabbing by government cohorts, whether it happens in Colombo or rural areas, people are helpless.
    Therefore, there is no point of finding fault with the Principal or teachers. The undated notice on the school website shows that, same as parents and past pupils, the Principal was not aware of the Cabinet Paper.
    Therefore, all Sinhalese Buddhists should come forward to protect Devi Balika Vidyalaya from being the latest victim of high profile land grabbers in Colombo.

    • 7

      “Therefore, all Sinhalese Buddhists should come forward to protect Devi Balika Vidyalaya from being the latest victim of high profile land grabbers “
      So, this school is only for Sinhala Buddhists? Well, if it is Sinhala Buddhists that are trying to grab it, what’s the big deal?

      • 2

        old codger
        No, it is not. Pl. read my comment to the following article (which I have already mentioned in my above comment).
        In almost all of my comments, I call for Sinhalese Buddhists to raise their voice against the Rajapaksa government’s selective discrimination against Sinhalese Buddhists.

        • 3

          “In almost all of my comments, I call for Sinhalese Buddhists to raise their voice….”
          C why don’t you call upon the entire people of this island for a change?
          It will be far louder.

      • 3

        Champa should be very upset because of her partner’ destiny today.. (Wimal Buruwanse’s fall). – that may be the reason her to feel like such schools are only for so called sinhala buddhists. I cant yet understand as to why CHAMPA or the like ilk yet today wear ” sinhala buddhist banner” ? Rajapakshes used that banner, for their comeback only. As of today, least progress is made by cattle thieves.
        Now Gota-Baya and his brother Mafia Boss have proved, their capablities are not all its cracked up to be. But for some reasons, the very same mercy cows dont seem to grasp the little. May be no cure for their pathological states.

  • 12

    It seems we will have to adopt some sort of via media on this issue in SL. Unlike Sarath my school day experiences were different. Yes canning was permitted as correction not sadism. I have been caned by Barny, Cooky, Poeta and Kunja – once each. I shat before each canning but bore no resentment at all after the event. Never was it dome without due cause – as per the norms of the time. Speaking in general I have the utmost high regard for these masters. I have never witnessed physical assault in class except once when Sena in uncontrollable fury slapped Rajavalavan for farting very loudly during serious study of the dainty Ms Austen’s Mansfield Park.

  • 18

    Re: the article on Devi Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Colombo 8.
    Having a personal grudge against the Principal is one thing, but denigrating the school one received education is another thing.
    This is clearly a malicious article where the writer loses her credibility in many irrational allegations against the school and the Principal, Madam Pradeepa Samarasinghe.
    1. Transgender or no transgender, when a child decided to enrol into an All Girls’ School, the child is considered a girl and she is required to adhere to school rules, regulations and dress code.
    2. On the contrary to malicious accusations expressed in the article, the Principal seems to be highly successful, amazingly hard working and passionately dedicated to her role as the Principal, otherwise, as revealed by the Education Minister in Parliament, Devi Balika Vidyalaya will not have a “high demand from parents of prospective pupils”.
    3. Madam Pradeepa Samarasinghe has been working as the Principal since 2009. If there are any allegations against her, she wouldn’t have survived 12 years in the same school.
    4. It is common for Principals to ban children from bringing USBs, DVDs and autographs to school.
    5. Checking classrooms is normal. In fact, to protect our children from being abused by various interested parties in the society, checking classrooms should be conducted more often.

    • 10

      6. The writer admits that she has refused to shape into the “mould” or the “rules of the girls` school” she studied. I don’t know how a girl in an all girls’ school represents a “masculine presentation”.
      The writer should know that there is a reason why parents enrol their daughters to all girls’ schools. If one girl tries to represent a “masculine presentation” in an all girls’ school, surely it would be frowned upon. I don’t know how the rights of other girls be Victorian.
      7. If pupils wander around the school and make noise in the canteen during regular class hours, every Principal has a right to stop such disturbances.
      8. As for beating children by the Principal, the lack of foundation in allegations prove that they are prejudicial.
      9. Asking pupils to wear “Lama Saris” on the day the school celebrates Annual Sinhala Hindu New Year is nothing. When pupils observe “Sil” in the school, they wear a standard Buddhist dress code. In Muslim Girls’ Schools, pupils are required to wear Muslim uniforms all year around where transgender children have no place at all. Labeling “Lama Saris” archaic is cruel and an insult to cultural values of the Sinhalese.
      10. Before accusing others, the writer should learn to tolerate and respect different cultures, religions and social norms.

      • 6

        I also want to point out the fact that there is no evidence in the article that the Principal singled out the writer and discriminated against her for being herself. As a responsible adult, the Principal seemed to have treated every pupil the same.
        We must understand that teachers are not villains. They work so hard to make pupils focus on their studies.
        As some commenters have shared, many of us have memories of receiving cane strokes. Some teachers give light strokes while others give hard strokes. But, pupils don’t hold grudges against teachers.
        Once, I also got a well deserved stiff stroke of the cane across my back from my primary class teacher for breaking a chair.

    • 0

      The writer never requested exception to dress code because of sexuality it is you who got stuck right there and couldn’t comprehend further. The high standard of institution dosen’t corelate or mean anything , telated to potential abuse.There are highly reputable churches and schools where systematic abuse have taken place for years which is now coming to .light
      So stop stereotyping and victimizing the alleged victim. You keep insisting on Sinhalese shows your mind set
      You advising victim to tolerate and accept abuse in the name of culture, relegion and tradition is typical enablers statement

  • 10

    Sri Lanka being a society of machinations, intrigue etc. I am not the least surprised if it turns out to be that the author is a pawn in a game of power within the school where a set of teachers want this Principal out, particularly noticing the fact that Mrs. PS has been in this position since 2009, well above the 10-year rule. The policy issue posed by this article is how to educate children in this country. and there isn’t a national consensus here. Clearly, the children turning out of a school by and large should not be good for nothing and engaging in crime although there is a fraction of pupils so turning out how “good” the schools is. The old philosophy was “spare the rod and spoil the child” and top of this the verbal abuse being abundant, insulting the intelligence of the student. Singapore still believes the administration of the rod, even public canings for boys (girls left out). The challenge here is how to turn out model citizens with least amount of force. Every school is entitled to enforce a code of discipline and controlling hi-tech gadgets to prevent pornography is in order.

    • 7

      I guess that the very first comment by HR Defender was also based on fears such as expressed by you about intrigue.
      I also have serious concerns about trial by media.
      Corporal punishment is unlawful in this country.
      Excessive physical punishment should have been objected to by the child’s parents.
      If there is reluctance on the part of parents to object when protest was appropriate, are they not party to the offence?
      An old friend narrated his experience in Norway.
      One day his son declared to him “Dad, do you know that you cannot smack me?”
      My friend replied “Son, have I ever sacked you?”
      The boy corrected him: “Dad the point is that you cannot smack me even if you want to.”
      Awareness is everything about any law.

  • 5

    After reading the article I was about to write a comment but held my self just to see what rest thought. My comment then and now are same “my dear child you have picked the wrong place and media to express your grief”. For all those righeteous people All I have to say” it is not about right or wrong but the world has moved on with newer thinking where as our citizenry wants to copy the western way of living but poor voiceless children and teens are not privileged for any such thinking. Parents have no issues providing free access to social media but expect schools to provide discipline including corporal punishment. Many who write comment would have not got over the sexuality issue which was mentioned in the very beginning. We see very often in news where children are severely injured and hospitalized due to punishment. I am more than willing to hear the other side , but stop trying to victimize a victim. A parent who has school going child should consider what if it was my child?

  • 7

    The enablers say ” my grand father did it to my father, my father did it to me and I will do it to my son/daughter. Real progressive thinking. Another says Principal did not single out this individual the abuse was same for every one so it must be okay. Abuse is abuse does it matter whether victim is one or many. People here talk about schools turning children into model citizens ??? Show me one such model citizen please ??? What is the role of parents then ??? What is the role of politicians and other public figures ?? I too thank my school and teachers for who I am. But that dosen’t mean, I am not willing to change with time, newer thinking / approach or parenting/teaching skills. There are plenty children who turn out to be so called “model citizens” without undergoing abuse/corporal punishment.

    • 6

      It is surprising how some of the people here blaming a possible victim in the hands of a sadistic teacher who punishes children in the name of discipline. World has changed, attitudes have changed and simply there is no room for physical or emotional punishment for wrong doing. All of them are growing up and their views about things too are variable. If the principal of a leading girls school cannot understand this then she is not suitable to hold that position. By virtue of my position I have seen there are sadistic teachers who ruthlessly assault students and emotionally destroy them. They owing to their ignorance refuse to understand their individuality while growing up. Some here even talking of litigation and one even talking of Sinhala Buddhist only spilling his racial bias. What is important here is that authorities should hold an inquiry into this allegation to elicit the truth. Of course SL is a totally violent country with utterly corrupt politicians and spineless ministers like hunch back G.L. Peries. It is a shame to call this guy a law professor. The teachers ought to be taught about human psychology, emotional trauma that could affect the childhood that may in turn affect their adult lives and the art of counselling.

      • 3

        Have you not seen parents treating their children cruelly?
        Forcing the child to do things that the child hates; preventing the child from doing something that the child likes; punishing for poor performance at school; taking out their frustrations on children.
        We read plenty in the papers. There is much more unsaid.
        I repeat my question elsewhere:
        What did the parent do to protect the child victim?

  • 4

    The school mentioned has done remarkably well over the past several decades , and it’s a shame that the Principal is being slandered in this forum by a person using his/her fundamental right to do so . Sri Lanka today is being crippled by the lack of discipline in all strata of society . The Principal clearly runs a tight ship, which is the dire need today . Good luck to you Madam, we desperately need more of your ilk.

  • 3

    Sounds like the principal is trying to create a Society of Good Sinhala Womanhood.  On further consideration, maybe it is a good thing as long as it is not race or caste related. Do we really want Western Liberation with all of its societal debauchery in our Unique Land, is the question. Yet, the lady should not have resorted to physical punishments, although in the Lankan context of harsh life, they sound quite normal. Warnings, taking away of privileges, writing of lines, suspension from school,  expulsion would be better choices. Education department should outline better correctional methods in schools.

    Ps. 1. Guess it’s like Rosy holding Stepford wife tea- parties and pageants, although her’s is class related for rich monied ladies….maids of the Masses working in the Middle East not even thought of. Yet all could be the wave of the new social norms order.

    Ps. 2. Hey, wonder what will happen when China takes over the educational system.

  • 0

    It is a difficult topic. but when I grew up it was commonplace. My parents practiced it and also told my teachers they had no issue with it as long as it was required. in my Dad,s elder brother’s family they never practiced corporal punishment.

    The issue if how do you, correct children, from wrong behaviors. Do you just nag at them forever? I think that is harmful as well. most likely more damaging. personally, I preferred Corporal punishment as when it was done it was over and all was forgiven. Instead if having to live with the issue for a long time. But then that is me.

    But I never practiced it on my children in turn.and I cannot say they turned out any better for it .

    • 3

      The US drugs its children into submission.

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