Switch (corporal punishment)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A switch is a flexible rod which is typically used for corporal punishment. Switching is similar to birching.

Punitive switching[edit]

Switches are typically made of strong and flexible wood, such as hazel (also used for a very severe birch) or hickory. Birch and willow branches are also used, as well as branches from strong trees and large shrubs. Switches are often from a garden or an orchard nearby, or taken from the wild. In the Southeastern United States, fresh-cut, flexible cane (Arundinaria) is commonly used. The usage of switches has been hotly contested in North America and Europe.[1]

Making a switch involves cutting it from the stem and removing twigs or directly attached leaves.[citation needed] For optimal flexibility, it is cut fresh shortly before use, rather than keeping it for re-use over time.[citation needed] Some parents decide to make the cutting of a switch an additional form of punishment for a child, by requiring the disobedient child to cut his/her own switch.[citation needed]

  • The tamarind switch (in Creole English tambran switch) is a judicial birch-like instrument for corporal punishment made from three tamarind rods, braided and oiled, used long after independence in the Caribbean Commonwealth island states of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.[2]
  • The Gilbertese tribal community at Wagina in Choiseul province (Solomon Islands) reintroduced by referendum in 2005 traditional "whipping" with coconut tree branches for various offences – the national justice system opposes this.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gould, Mark (January 9, 2007). "Sparing the Rod". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  2. ^ Parker, Quincy (March 7, 2007). "Human Rights Abuse Concerns". The Bahama Journal. Nassau. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  3. ^ "Floggings cut crime: village leader". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. March 9, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2009.

External links[edit]