Melbourne, Sept 2 : In a rather bizarre punishment, a teacher forced a six-year-old student to write an apology letter using the F-word.
Maguire Pinner's parents have lodged a complaint against the teacher of The White Hills Primary School, whose move is being backed by her union.
According to reports, the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union accused the boy's parents of overreacting.
The teacher had put Pinner in time out and ordered him to write a letter home to his parents explaining how and why he swore in the playground.
She asked him to explicitly write the profanity "f*** you", which she later repeated in her comments to the parents.
Mary Bluett, Victoria Teachers' Union president, defended the teacher saying that it was parents who did not like to believe their child had done anything wrong.
"All parents think well of their own children," News.com.au quoted Bluett, as saying on 3AW radio..
She claimed that the teacher was not at fault, and the punishment was part of the learning behaviour.
She said: "Many schools where students break the rules as part of the learning process have to write down exactly what they have done."
On the other hand, Maguire's dad Kirk wants the White Hills Primary School teacher to be counselled, saying the school had failed to properly respond.
"What teacher in their right mind could think it is acceptable to have a five-year-old write and correctly spell the F-word?" he said.
He said that the punishment had left his boy traumatised and suffering nightmares.
In fact, he has made an official complaint to Education Minister Bronwyn Pike and the Education Department.
The school, on its part was quite supportive of the teacher.
"We encourage our students to reflect on their behaviour and learn from their mistakes, and this has proven to be a very effective system overall," said school principal Peter Davey.
He added: "In this particular case, we acknowledge that the student repeating these words in writing was not the most appropriate course of action. We have since reviewed our response to dealing with isolated situations where a student uses bad language."
Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg called the punishment the equivalent of putting a child in psychological stocks.
"It's madness," he said.