Teachers at Roman Catholic schools in Samoa have been warned to be ready for the consequences if they assault students.
The director of Catholic education, Aeau Chris Hazelman, has told a seminar that there has been an increase in complaints against teachers, with four taken to court last year.
He told the teachers that there is a line that must not be crossed.
Teachers have complained that their rights to discipline students have been put aside in favour of students' rights.
But a long standing Catholic policy forbids teachers from striking students.
A guide from the 1980s says only a principal can physically discipline a student.
Students face a warning, suspension or expulsion for misbehaviour.
Police are currently investigating an incident at St. Joseph's College where two male students attacked a male teacher.
Local media say the teacher had allegedly assaulted a female student, who was a relative of the two boys accused of the attack.