St Gabriel's Secondary School
St. Gabriel's Secondary School ("SGSS" or colloquially "St. Gabs") is an all-boys government-aided Roman Catholic secondary school at 24 Serangoon Avenue in Serangoon, Singapore. The school was founded in 1953 and is one of 7 Gabrielite schools in Singapore. Classes are provided in the Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical streams.
The school's mission is "Shaping lives for Service to God and Nation".
Uniform and discipline
St. Gabriel's students wear white shirts, with dark blue short trousers in Secondary 1 and 2, and dark blue long trousers in Secondary 3, 4 and 5. School ties must be worn on Mondays.
For significant breaches of school discipline, the standard consequence is corporal punishment, which is normally preferred to suspension. Students receive caning; this is preceded and followed by counselling, so that although the actual caning takes only a minute, the punishment session as a whole can take an hour or more. Parents are informed.
To encourage punctuality, upper secondary students who arrive late to school for a sixth time in one term are automatically given two strokes of the cane. Students are also caned for truancy, fighting, skipping class, smoking and disrespect. Most recipients of the cane are upper secondary students, typically aged 15 or 16.
The strokes are administered across the seat of the offender's trousers; normally the punishment is meted out privately in the school office, but sometimes it is given in front of the offender's classmates. In very rare serious cases students may be disciplined in this way in front of the whole school ("public caning"), as on 2 March 2012, when some students were publicly caned for assault and bullying, which had brought the school into public disrepute via the Straits Times youth website STOMP the previous day.
Usually, two hard strokes will be sufficient to provide a salutary lesson, but there may be more if necessary (the legal maximum is six). After emptying his back pocket, the offender bends over at about 90 degrees with his hands holding on to the seat of a chair, with his feet wide apart for stability, so that his buttocks are suitably presented for safe punishment with the trouser cloth smoothed across the target area.
Caning is carried out by a member of staff who is experienced in applying the cane hard and accurately, usually the Discipline Master or the Operations Manager, and sometimes the Principal. A 4ft long rattan is used.
Brother Emmanuel, principal of St Gabriel's from 1961 to 1963 and again from 1969 to 1974, has been described by the Catholic News as "a disciplinarian whose cane has graced the backsides of many boys". He is quoted as saying that many of those he caned have told him that they needed the discipline they received from him. In his view, the punishment must be a careful, considered ceremony: "No one should ever cane a boy on impulse", he said. As of 2012, at age 78, Bro. Emmanuel is still on the school's Management Committee as Supervisor.
- "Dinner for St Gabriel's half century", The Straits Times, Singapore, 2 May 1987, p.14.
- "13-year-old son ambushed by 5 teens -- 2 of them girls", STOMP, 1 March 2012.
- "Brothers Of St. Gabriel: A caring disciplinarian", Catholic News (Singapore), June 2006.
- St Gabriel's Secondary School on Wikipedia
- Saint Gabriel's Secondary School on SgWiki (includes picture of an upper secondary St Gabriel's student demonstrating the posture to be adopted when receiving a caning).
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