This is Appalling

I think I may have to take up a new cause.

I cannot believe that at least 20 states (according to the CNN article “To Paddle or not to Paddle“) still allow corporal punishment. I feel fortunate to be in one of those states that have banned it.

It’s 2010. Seriously? What a way to model bullying in schools.

Perhaps below is a way paddles can be used in schools.

The crew of the Pittsburgh Technical Institute's entry in the Kennywood Park Anything Floatable Race paddles it school bus down the Allegheny River Sunday, July 2, 2006, in downtown Pittsburgh. The event is part of the 29th annual Three Rivers Regatta that runs through July 4th.

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4 thoughts on “This is Appalling

  1. I have to admit, I am surprised that this subject has resurfaced and in 20 states! I am glad that my teaching career began in California in 1986, when corporal punishment was made illegal in public schools. It challenged all of us to grow professionally and develop a multitude of other techniques for classroom management, beyond fear and violence.

    As a child, I saw children paddled in elementary school. Many of them, in retrospect, were special needs kids. I was slapped in the face in third grade by my teacher. Teachers had free reign to wash out mouths with soap, tie kids up, shake them or hit them in any way, at any time. I thought being afraid at school was a normal experience, because in my little world, that was the case.

    Let’s shun that counterproductive approach and continue to model deep thinking, problem-solving and directly teach students how to behave in a collaborative way. Hitting kids will bring us no closer to any of these ideals.

    For folks who want to seek an alternative, check out the “Committee For Children” website and their wonderful programs, “Second Step” and “Steps To Respect”.

  2. I grew up going to schools like David were corporal punishment was allowed. I was never hit by a teacher but saw other children hit (mostly busy boys). It made me so scared that there were whole school years when I barely spoke, which meant that if I didn’t understand something or had a question I kept it to myself.

    On the home front of this topic~

    At a family gathering just this summer a group of older Moms were talking with a much younger set about spanking. We actually had a very fun and lively debat on- is it ok to spank?, when should you spank?, what other punishments would work better or not. I thought it was interesting that age and “new” child development information didn’t seem to matter. It was all about experiences and how we were raised. If we remembered spanking as just a part of growing up then we spanked, if we remembered it in a tramatic way we tended to not spank. Of course no agreement was met but all were open to each others thoughts and that was the best part for me.

  3. Thanks for your comments. I think so many people believe in fear as a way to respect. If you go to the article and look at the map, you will also see that there seems to be a direct relation with those states that support in some ways Arizona’s regressive new law regarding immigration and thus using fear as a way to try and achieve expected behaviors.

    We can’t afford to raise a generation of kids who are afraid to speak up. Not in a true democracy.

    There was a great Mark Twain quote about suffrage yesterday when I visited the MOHAI, but I forget it. Here is another one of his that I like:

    “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
    Mark Twain

  4. I don’t recall anything quite as severe as what David and Becky described but my grade school principal had the Vulcan grip before Spock! He would grab kids and “drag” them to his office for God only knows what (I never found out due to my being a little angel!!)
    I agree with Becky and her observations about young families today. It has amazed me that so many have chosen to spank (not sure if there is a similar connection to the past like Becky stated) when frankly all you are doing is teaching the child that violence (yes, spanking is a violent act) is an acceptable behavior. Martha and I chose not to spank and it sure did not seem to set our kids back to miss that type of punishment as some of our Christian friends seemed to imply that it would. We chose this method not because of either of our pasts. Both of us were spanked. I was spanked with a frat paddle, belt and hand. But can I tell you what the infraction was? no just the method sticks with me.
    I have been blessed with lots of patience as an educator but I am sure all of us have faced those frustrating moments that would try even the most patient. I am so glad I did not have the legal option of spanking so that in those tense moments something was done that would stick with that student for many years to come. Students can recall the smallest incidents many years later, good or bad.
    So let the debate continue but I for one do not believe a violent approach to discipline solves anything.
    Thanks Anthony for your thought provoking blog.

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