My memories of school involve play fighting pretty much on a daily basis. Boys have a natural desire to wrestle at the slightest opportunity and we did so enthusiastically. It rarely escalated into full blown punch ups so no harm was done and everyone learned the pecking order from an early age, which is a useful thing to know. (Everyone also learned how to repair their School Uniform as well)
If spotted by a teacher the general punishment varied from a quick reprimand, a clip round the ear, lines or a detention. ie it was not taken all that seriously.
Nowadays however, two boys fighting is treated with the seriousness of a major diplomatic incident. Parents are involved, the boys could possibly be excluded for a few days and there will be much hand wringing about violence and bullying. Everyone will be taken to hospital for a CAT scan and counseling will be offered. Questionnaires can be filled in to demonstrate that everyone was being bullied by someone else and if anyone involved is not white then we can all get excited about racism too.
Now let's look at another crime. If, in the dim and distant past when I was at school, you were foolish enough to answer back to a teacher then you would be slippered or caned. (or just summoned to the equipment room and given a swift punch in the guts.) If you had been foolish enough to swear directly at a teacher (which I can't actually remember happening), then you would undoubtedly have been hung from the school gates as an example to others, possibly after being disembowelled by the Head of PE with a javelin.
Nowadays, if you want to answer back to a teacher or shout at them, go right ahead. Nothing much will happen. Even if you swear at one, it will often be ignored. Feel free, children; to push and shove them as much as you like. As long as you pretend that it was an accident, it will usually be brushed under the table. Failing that, just claim that the teacher pushed you first and they will back down. In the unlikely event that this still doesn't work, bring in one of the gormless adults sitting in front of the TV at home to claim that "you never tell lies, no not never" preferably accompanied by the 'No win- No fee' solicitor from their last pavement tripping claim.
The conclusions I draw from all this are:
1) Boys are no longer allowed to do 'boy like things'
2) Although there is much twaddle spoken about needing to improve pupils self esteem (which is generally far too high already) it's often the teachers who have lost their self confidence.