The cover of the book "With All Due Respect" by Ronald Morrish

This Book Must Be Removed From Schools

This post is part of a series on the rights of children to an education free from violence.

I am not a book banner. Books that have been published in the past have value in understanding our historical context. However, books written to guide professional practice can’t be allowed when they cause damage, especially to children.

What we know:

  1. Childhood Experiences Impact Brain Development

Over the last decade our understanding of how the brains of young children can be impacted by experience has grown exponentially. We know that what happens to a child as their brain develops, from conception to the end of childhood, can have life-altering impacts on how brains form and function, and thus on health throughout the lifespan. How children are treated in school contributes to how their brains develop.

Doctor Bruce Perry, neuroscientist and psychiatrist, explains this:

“When the stress-response systems are activated in unpredictable or extreme or prolonged ways, the systems become overactive and overly reactive—in other words, sensitized. Over time, this can lead to functional vulnerability, and since the stress-response systems collectively reach all parts of the brain and body, a cascade of risk in emotional, social, mental, and physical health occurs.”

What Happened to You?” Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey 2021, Chapter 3.

2. Childhood Trauma Impacts Future Health

The impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on long term health are well-documented. As Gabor Maté states in his new book, “The Myth of Normal”,

If emotion is the ground of cognitions, then relationships are the tectonic plates that shape that ground.

The Myth of Normal“, by Gabor Maté and Daniel Maté, page 125.

Our understanding of developing brains has led to curriculum that ensures play-based learning in primary years, and a focus on self-regulation in most public education jurisdictions.

3. Children Have Rights

In Canada, children have recognized rights to education that is free of violence and corporal punishment. Canada has signed the United Nations Declaration of the Human Rights of the Child.

The rights of a child as outlined by the Canadian government on their site.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

For these reasons, and many others, a book that promotes the use of physical intervention to discipline children, that belittles the rights of children, and that is clearly racist, cannot be tolerated as a guide for teacher practice in any public school system.

“With All Due Respect”, written by Ronald Morrish, and published in 2003, promotes practice that damages young brains and violates the rights of the very children the public school systems in Canada are supposed to protect and nurture. It was written prior to the 2004 Supreme Court Decision on Section 43 of the Criminal Code and promotes teacher practice that is in direct opposition to Call to Action #6.

The book cover image, repeated at the beginning of every chapter, provides insight into the tone of the publication.

Cover of With All Due Respect
With All Due Respect, Ronald Morrish, 2003 (cover)

These sections are particularly disturbing:

With All Due Respect” by Ronald Morrish, 2003, Chapter 1.

The Appendix to the text includes “Physical Intervention and Guidelines” from the now defunct Lincoln County Board of Education. The guidelines promote hands-on approaches to discipline and include directions for restraints that include kneeling on children placed face-down on the floor.

With All Due Respect“, Ronald Morrish, 2003, Appendix 3

No teacher should ever think that this is okay:

“With All Due Respect”, by Ronald Morrish, 2003, Appendix 3

What can you do? If you work in a school, ensure this book is not available as a guide for any educator in the school. It’s only useful purpose is to act as a marker of historical practice. It helps us understand how past practice further traumatized often our most vulnerable children. It shows us that educational practice must constantly evolve as research on child development progresses. It reminds us that when we know better we do better, and we have known better for a very long time.

If you are a parent, ask your school council or parent council to ensure that this book is not being used to guide practice. Remind them of the Supreme Court Decision of 2004, of Call the Action #6, and the Private Members Bills currently in the Legislature and the Senate, to protect children from violent and traumatizing practices in schools.

Ask if your organization has signed the Joint Statement on the Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.

From “The Myth of Normal” by Gabor Maté and Daniel Maté

Featured Image: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in child-friendly language.


The Myth of Normal

What Happened to You?

Joint Statement on the Physical Punishment of Children and Youth

Call to Action #6

Non-violent Crisis Intervention

The Rights of Children

Bill C-273 First Reading – Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Bill S-271 First Reading – Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada

The Rights of the Child in Canada

A substantial resource list is available on the CBC Podcast site here: –

Related websites:

The How And Why of Trauma-Informed Teaching (Edutopia 2018)

Be That One Person

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *