I have a rellie in town this weekend and she told me grandson (nearly 13, year 8) went to an expensive boarding school for term 1 because the school offers 13 subjects in year 8 whereas their country school offers 5 (math, english, science, history and social studies, japanese). At this boarding school the seniors have the authority to hand out physical punishment. So when this young boy said "oh sh*t" his mouth was washed out with soap. He went home with bruises from being held and blisters in his mouth.
When the school was contacted, the principal and boarding masters said they can only use reasonable punishments. Washing mouth out for swearing, punishment with a ruler to the knuckles for not working at study nights, ruler to the backs of legs for not having perfectly ironed uniforms at the right length with no tears or anything are all seen as reasonable. The boy is back home now, I saw the notes from the meeting, photos of the kid and an explanation from the school about why this is in place. They are exploring legal options now.
I had no idea this happened and am disgusted and heartbroken for the kids.