My heart goes out to the teacher cleared yesterday of the attempted murder of a pupil in his science class. From what's been reported (which may or may not be the full extent of the story) he just snapped under the pressure of taunting and disobedience from an apparently persistent troublemaker, goaded on by classmate(s) trying to video the whole thing.
Although in my day there were some Masters whom we simply daren't play up for fear of the consequences, there were others who were regarded as a soft touch and who were noted for being unable to keep a firm grip on classroom discipline - and I guess that's still just as much a facet of teaching now as it was then and probably always had been. However, what's different is that in my day there were repercussions. Being sent to see the Headmaster was known to have unpleasant results - and refusing to go wasn't an option. I don't know what the standard of discipline generally is like in the school at which this incident took place, but I can't help feeling that the abolition of caning has contributed an awful lot to the deterioration in standards of pupil behaviour of which this sad incident is a perhaps rather extreme example.