Twenty States Still Use the Paddle

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In 1964, my third-grade teacher relied mainly on an air of motherly authority to maintain control over her classroom of more than 50 8-year-olds. But when pushed, she warned darkly of deploying her spanking machine.

Two years earlier, my first grade teacher showed less restraint. I vividly recall the public, front-of-the-room, over-the-knee spanking of one girl, whose skirt our teacher had first pulled up to expose her underwear. Her infraction is lost to memory, but the fear and shame I felt—for myself, for her, for the teacher—is burned in my mind.

That was nearly 50 years ago. Along with lots of other Americans, I believed that this kind of brutish discipline was a relic of the past.

But it’s not. As recently as the 2006-2007 school year, at least 223,000 students were paddled—legally—by their teachers or principals, the very people whose job it is to keep them safe at school. 

The numbers for all kinds of physical punishment might in fact be higher—up to 2 million to 3 million. That is according to congressional testimony by Dr. Donald E. Greydanus, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics and human development at Michigan State University. 

In 2010, 20 states allowed corporal punishment, the intentional application of physical pain as a way to change behavior. It will come as little surprise that the top 10 form a band running from Florida west to Texas and Oklahoma. Sadly, five states—Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia—account for three-quarters of all cases.

Worse, there’s a corporal-punishment gap, perhaps related to the achievement gap.  As Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) noted in her statement to the congressional committee, young African Americans and students with disabilities are paddled at twice the rate of white students and those in the general student population. 

These facts fly in the face of wisdom. As Dr. Greydanus pointed out, studies show that not only is corporal punishment an “ineffective method of discipline,” but it also “has major deleterious effects on the physical and mental health of those on whom it is inflicted.” 

Like its near-relative, bullying, corporal punishment affects three parties. The child who is punished suffers a wide range of effects, which can include depression and school avoidance. The teacher who inflicts the injury becomes desensitized to his student’s humanity. And, according to Dr. Greydanus, the “children who witness this type of abuse are robbed of their full learning potential.”

Physical punishment is banned in federal prisons and medical facilities. It’s long past time to extend the same protection to our children.

Those looking for better ways to discipline unruly students can check out this information on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

 

Click here to read more blog posts.

Comments

I agree with the practice of

Submitted by Jamal Terrell on 5 May 2010 - 4:27pm.

I agree with the practice of physical punishment in schools. I believe it teaches the students that they're lines drawn and they are consequences when those lines are crossed. It's no different than when you grow up and become an adult that you know that if you steal someone's car, you will wind up in jail. For some, they don't care about the consequences of their actions and will do what they want regardless. They're others who will be too afraid to get reprimanded and will not cross that line. And the ones who cross the line and pay for it, have learned a valuable lesson. Excess of anything isn't good and this isn't about hurting kids but it teaches them that they can be punished beyond the grasp of Mom & Dad. "It takes a village to raise a child"-African Proverb

No one is suggesting not

Submitted by Autumn on 5 May 2010 - 5:00pm.

No one is suggesting not disciplining students. They’re simply suggesting more constructive, less physically harmful methods of discipline.
If your supervisor at work hit you for doing something wrong, he or she would certainly face retribution. So why would it be OK for adults to hit children? Who are smaller and more vulnerable?

Well the difference is with

Submitted by Jamal Terrell on 5 May 2010 - 8:16pm.

Well the difference is with children is correction. By the time you're an adult, you should by that point in your life know the difference between right and wrong. As an adult we aren't hit physically but are hit psychologically...and again this isn't to suggest that pounding on a kid is right, but there are times where a slap on the wrist is better than sending kids to their room with all the games, tv & toys that they can play with. Kids are smaller and more vulnerable than adults but kids are stronger than you give them credit for. Kids play football and are able to sustain getting tackled without the emotional damage. Kids play rough and fall and scrap their knees...but it doesn't leave them broken for life. Again this isn't to suggest that beating on a kid is correct. Abuse is never the answer.

I have to completely agree

Submitted by Jennifer on 13 May 2010 - 8:29am.

I have to completely agree with you. When I was young we got paddled in school. I was smart enough to know right and wrong and never once got paddled. My mother taught me better. With that being said, the "emotional" problems I got were only that I needed to behave or I would get paddled. My school did not do it right infront of the class they would take them out into the hallway and do it, but everyone knew what was going on and feared it happening to them. I believe this should still be legal in ALL schools. I can guarantee that children would behave better and, in turn, learn more. Think about it, there is a child that is misbehaving while the teacher is trying to teach. All of the children are paying attention to the misfit and not the teacher. How are they learning here? They are not. This child should be taken into the hallway and paddled. I bet he/she and all of the other students will think twice before misbehaving and disrupting class again. Being sent to the principals office these days just does not work. There is only so much he can do to these children. Also, if children are put in their place at an earlier age in life there may be a less dropout rate. AND these children will learn more.
My mother spanked us with a belt when we were young, maybe a little much, but we were some of the best behaved children. This is a lesson for all parents, children are out of control these days and it is because of this "no spanking children" law.

Jennifer, I totally agree

Submitted by Kathy on 10 January 2011 - 12:39pm.

Jennifer, I totally agree with you on this subject. I teach at a Middle School where corporal punishment is practiced. The teachers do not do the paddling. The principal does the actual swats. However, we do have to be witnesses.
Students are not paddled on a daily basis, and parents have to have given their permission for this form of punishment.
There are always steps that lead to swats or out of school suspicion. Those steps are followed.

kathy your sick. but you are

Submitted by rick on 27 May 2012 - 2:01am.

kathy your sick. but you are a teacher and you bel;ieve in paddling at school. so your a child abuser. you never said if it works because you know it doesn't let a parent do what a principal does and the parent is in jail so why are teachers and principals above the law?

Have you ever tried to reason

Submitted by Mr. Common Sense on 6 May 2010 - 2:11am.

Have you ever tried to reason with a child? They don't understand the way an adult does. I've spanked my seven year old son about 4 times in his life and he's doing just fine.

It is possible to reason with

Submitted by Nell on 11 May 2010 - 1:47pm.

It is possible to reason with a child. You have to try to see things from their point of view and use language they understand. How will they learn to reason if we don't take the time to teach them?
Are you sure your son is doing fine? He has been hit and humiliated 4 times by one of the people he trusts most.

Why is it people against

Submitted by Aaron on 20 January 2011 - 1:09am.

Why is it people against spanking love to exaggerate and immediately claim children are being hit, beat, and/or humiliated. I have been spanked in my life, I have never been beat. It just seems ridiculous that every time someone wants to speak out against spanking they immediately claim that spanking is the same as hitting. I view them very differently.

I am not sure that this is

Submitted by because on 7 May 2010 - 10:00am.

I am not sure that this is comparing apples to oranges here. When you are talking about adults they can usually reason with one another. There are many children who are you cannot reason with. I dont think schools should be hitting children for just anything but there is sometimes a time and place. I am in my mid 30's and I can think of a child that I went to school with that needed a wake up a call and never once did anyone lay a hand on him and he was awful then and worse as an adult. Not sure if other options would have worked but they ones they chose never worked. This child at 10 was ripping the clothes off young girls down to the bra. Think of how those girls were embarrassed and humilated and he sat back and laughed.

I think ethnicity also plays

Submitted by LaVanda Bailey on 13 May 2010 - 9:21am.

I think ethnicity also plays a part in paddling. In some cultures little Sally may receive a paddling and her whole life is ruined to where Davonte receives a paddling and it corrects his behavior. What is normal for some may be abnormal to others. What works for one child I agree will not work for others. I believe in corporal punishment, but there is a limit when the same continues to get in trouble for misbehavior.

Ethnicity has nothng to do

Submitted by jennifer on 6 January 2011 - 8:24pm.

Ethnicity has nothng to do with it... it has everything todo with a child's temperament and thier envt.

I don't understand how

Submitted by Hitting is NEVER OK on 5 May 2010 - 5:26pm.

I don't understand how someone could hit a child and think it is ok. You are reinforcing physical punishment and pain to something wrong. You have a child who gets into a fight and instead of a "jail" type sentence you are hitting them all the while telling them not to hit. The adult that goes to jail is basically put in a "time-out" without physical punishment, why would it be ok to hit a child and not the adult. Hitting is NEVER OK!

While I agree that corporal

Submitted by sarnold on 11 May 2010 - 3:58pm.

While I agree that corporal punishment is seriously wrong, I find it surprising that a couple of replies suggest that going to jail does not involve physical punishment!

I so agree with you and am

Submitted by Shirley on 12 August 2010 - 8:32pm.

I so agree with you and am shocked at how others view this issue. I guess I would like to ask them if it would be ok for me to spank their child in the classroom in front of their peers?

I'm with you Jamal. I think

Submitted by matt on 10 May 2010 - 7:07pm.

I'm with you Jamal. I think that history will show that this idea of not disciplining children physically is pie in the sky in regards to raising well balanced people. Of course some children are sensitive and only need a verbal reprimand. The key I think here is discipline with a sense of justice and not anger and revenge. For example, a person cannot legally go and murder another person to avenge a murder done to a friend (although this is extremely common in the world). But a judge/jury does an should have the power to imprison or even put to death a person based on justice. That doesn't mean that the judge or jury hates the person, but rather is responsible for giving justice. I believe that a child can understand this by the way that a parent disciplines. Here is real abuse in my estimation. NY times shouting is the new spanking: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/fashion/22yell.html

Many students are beaten on a

Submitted by TJ Harris on 11 May 2010 - 12:13pm.

Many students are beaten on a daily basis at home and they act out constantly at school. So is that effective? I can assure you that if any teacher ever laid a hand or paddle on my daughter their job is gone.

When we physically punish our

Submitted by Nancy U on 11 May 2010 - 2:10pm.

When we physically punish our community's children, we teach them that it's okay to hit when we're angry. It's okay for a man to hit his wife, okay for a child to hit a peer, okay to kick a dog--okay to use violence instead of dialogue to solve our problems.

I love your analogy about stealing someone's car--yes, even we as adults have consequences if we don't follow the rules--in your example, that consequence is JAIL, not VIOLENCE.

Ah, but that is why a very

Submitted by Keith Moore on 21 May 2010 - 12:55am.

Ah, but that is why a very disciplined adult is required for paddling to be effective. There is a universe of difference between a visibly angry and aggressive adult taking an object and striking a student with it and a very calm and controlled adult reasonably informing the student that they have done such and such a wrong and that the punishment is a few moments of pain (and I emphasize, it must be a FEW MOMENTS; lingering pain and soreness teaches a child that a reasonable adult inflicts suffering as a form of discipline and that is NOT the proper message) and a slight dose of shame because while the punishment must not be physically very painful, being bent over and spanked like a little child causes shame and shame, used properly and constructively, induces a desire in the child to avoid being shamed and thus, avoid the activity which caused them to be spanked and shamed. This is how a mature well-meaning adult physically disciplines a child for the child's betterment.

A natural consequence to

Submitted by Erin on 11 May 2010 - 2:12pm.

A natural consequence to talking in class or misbehaving or even talking back to the teacher is not violence. If a students is too talkative in class then move him/her to a different desk. Violence toward a student will seemingly only teach him/her that if someone does something you disagree with then you can hit them. As a teacher at a school with many disadvantaged youth who have been exposed to violence in their lives I see the nasty effects on their education and self-esteem. It is amazing what these students can achieve when they are exposed to people who talk to them, respect them and work with them.

Greetings. Please consider

Submitted by Johnny Davis on 12 May 2010 - 6:12am.

Greetings. Please consider this as food for thought and action, it takes a healthy village to raise a healthy child.

I *disagree* with using

Submitted by Kathryn on 5 May 2010 - 4:52pm.

I *disagree* with using physical punishment, particularly in schools. There is an excellent article about laws passed against spanking in Sweden, here's a link: http://www.neverhitachild.org/haeuser.html

I just read the article about

Submitted by Jamal Terrell on 5 May 2010 - 8:23pm.

I just read the article about the law passed in Sweden and there should be laws against abuse. But abuse is more than just physical. You can do equally damaging effects verbally as you could physically. Too much of any one thing is bad. A slap on the wrist is not abuse.

I attended Searcy High

Submitted by James Lee on 5 May 2010 - 8:23pm.

I attended Searcy High School, Searcy Arkansas 1999-2003. This school paddled multitudes of students, male and female, on a daily basis. The practice was completely ineffective. The disciplinary system was based around detention hall (D-Hall) as it was more commonly referred too. A student would receive D-hall for the most minor infractions. D-hall was given out like candy on Halloween at this school. The teacher did not even have to tell the student or confront them in any way as to their infraction. The teacher could write it on a little piece of paper, which was submitted to the principle. Every morning D-hall slips were passed out in first period. D-Hall started at 6:00 a.m. an hour before school started. If the student missed D-hall or did not feel like getting up that early they could choose a paddling or "licks" as it was known. Two very hard slaps to the bottom with a large wooden paddle by a male principle. Every single day there would be 10, 20 sometimes 30 students waiting to get paddled. It did not deter anyone from committing offenses. It was an easy way out of D-hall. Not to mention if you went to D-Hall your parents would know because you were leaving so early. By choosing a paddling it would be over in moments and your parents would not find out. It was an easy way out. Looking back as a young man, I am disgusted now to think of how a grown man would be ok with spanking 15, 16, 17, and 18-year boys and girls. That disgusts me.

exactly--very well written.

Submitted by christy on 11 May 2010 - 11:48am.

exactly--very well written.

As a school counselor I am

Submitted by Shirley on 12 August 2010 - 8:38pm.

As a school counselor I am feeling your pain and that of your classmates. I am hoping all of you have put this behind you and are leading consructive adult lives. By speaking out you can change the system and how your children will be treated...

I work in a school system in

Submitted by James on 11 May 2010 - 12:06pm.

I work in a school system in a poor, primarily black county in North Carolina. North Carolina does allow corporal punishment, but my district does not. Corporal punishment has not been tolerated here (by stated policy and in practice) for at least the past sixteen years. While my school may have many discipline issues and lack any kind of strong parental support, there are very few teachers I have come across that believe corporal punishment would solve any problems. We have decided to focus, as a district, on PBIS.

Right on James!!! I teach in

Submitted by John on 11 May 2010 - 4:39pm.

Right on James!!! I teach in an urban NC High School. If we want reduced violence we must demonstrate non-violent discipline. Positive Behavior Support (PBS) works.
I retired from the Army and know that discipline is not improved by "paddling" or "corporal punishment" NC State Legislature needs to eliminate the permission for "local control" over corporal punishment.

Certainly we don't want

Submitted by Jesse on 11 May 2010 - 12:52pm.

Certainly we don't want children to be abused, and I'm not writing to advocate for or against spanking/paddling/corporal punishment. However, we need to keep in mind that this is common practice in some families and I think, sometimes at school, staff runs into the issue of how to discipline a child who is spanked at home. In the event that spanking is effective for a particular child at home, that child may feel more free to act out at school knowing they can't be spanked. As some have alluded, it's also a concern the way children are spoken to at school. It's just as abusive to yell at and demean a student as it is to use corporal punishment. And as a staffperson at a school, I think, in general, schools would have less trouble if more kids had consequences at home. We see that a lot, that kids get into trouble at school and nothing happens at home. It leaves a huge burden on the school in terms of discipline.

I think the first thing we

Submitted by teacher on 11 May 2010 - 1:51pm.

I think the first thing we need to think about is how kids learn. What are they learing from being spanked or paddled by an adult? That hitting another person is okay? Many pro-spankers feel that pain associated with a behavior will teach a child to not do that behavior again. While that might be true for infants and toddlers, it is not the case for older children. In addition to that, for the pain/behavior association to work, the spanking must be done immediately so that the association is made. I'm thinking this isn't the case in these schools.

The next thing to think about is what this does for the teacher- do pro-spankers feel that it gives them some sort of power over the kids? It is my opinion that if spanking/paddling a child is the only way you can get respect from children or feel powerful, you might have to work on your teaching skills.

Finally, I agree that the thought of an adult pulling down pants or pulling up a skirt to "punish" a child is kinda creepy. Are these teachers getting a rise out of this? Is this going to lend itself to some sort of fetish thing? Who background checks these spanking teachers?

Just my two cents!

The TRUTH is that school

Submitted by Julie Worley on 11 May 2010 - 1:56pm.

The TRUTH is that school children are treated differently in our great nation based on where they live. A black middle school student in Texas DIED by having his chest crushed when his teacher sat on him to restrain him and ignored his pleas that he could not breathe, he died on the classroom floor in front of his classmates (this teacher is teaching in another state), a Texas high school student suffered deep bruising and welts to his lower back, buttocks and back of his legs when he received 21 "licks" with a wooden canoe paddle, which broke during the beating and had to be taped to continue the beating, a 9-year old Georgia 3rd grader suffered deep bruising injuries when he was paddled with a WOODEN PADDLE 3 TIMES IN ONE DAY (Decatur Co., GA affirmed Corporal Punishment Policy 9/17/09 for school children) and a Publicly Funded Charter School in Memphis, Tennessee physically punishes middle/high school boys and GIRLS weekly during a ceremony called "Chapel" by hitting them with wooden paddles and/or whipping their hands with leather straps IN FRONT OF ALL THE OTHER STUDENTS AS A DETERRENT to publicly induce shame, humiliation and fear! The school employees in the above actions have LEGAL IMMUNITY and are STILL paid by our tax-dollars to be ENTRUSTED with the care and education of our children!

Research indicates that Corporal Punishment is harmful to children and lowers their IQ's due to stress from fear.

People with SPANKING FETISHES work in occupations that give them access to children like hospitals, schools, boy scouts, etc. and over 2,500 teachers were punished in a 5 year period since 2000 for inappropriate sexual relations with our nation's school children, and women teachers are sexually preying on children at an increasingly alarming rate, which is why PHYSICAL/CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS MUST BE ABOLISHED IMMEDIATELY!

Recently a La Vega, TX elementary school principal's arrest for injuries to a child due to corporal punishment put spotlight on school corporal punishment policies, already ILLEGAL in Schools in 30 States. It is ILLEGAL to beat prisoners.

Our children are worth the effort to protect them and we must demand "Best Practices" that teach children "discipline" through non-violent practices in schools. Students must be taught why what they did was wrong and given the tools to improve behavior/decision making skills while empowering them with awareness to their human right to integrity of their bodies (hands-off!) in our schools and society.

I'm a teacher, I was paddled,

Submitted by Kate on 11 May 2010 - 5:07pm.

I'm a teacher, I was paddled, so were a lot of other WHITE students. I don't think any child should be paddled at school in class, in the office would be best. But I am sick and tired of the "poor me" attitude being perpetuated here. In the area I live and teach in, Anglos make up 3% of the population, yet there are more Anglos that Hispanic or Black, in detention, on suspension, or being accused of bad actions. You need to focus on the child, NOT the color of the child.

I believe that when we resort

Submitted by Cynthia Manycolors on 11 May 2010 - 6:57pm.

I believe that when we resort to physical punishment, we have failed in some way. Either we have failed to keep our emotions in balance at that moment, or we have had a failure of using our knowledge of that child in a compassionately creative way to teach or give consequences. Corporal punishment is a shortcut in our thinking, and like some shortcuts I've known, it might not get you where you want to go.

Corporal Punishment has no

Submitted by Kristen on 21 September 2010 - 6:24pm.

Corporal Punishment has no place in our schools. None of us as teachers or administrators have any idea what any of our students face at home, and school needs to be a SAFE place for all. The thought of of someone at school having the right to resort to physical punishment is disgusting. I would like to see where in any literature or studies, this is considered "best practice" when disciplining students. I taught preschool for many years, when I myself was a teenager and college student and was able to effectively manage a classroom of 14 two year olds, there is simply no excuse for this.

Paddling in schools is very

Submitted by T.A.B. on 11 May 2010 - 8:05pm.

Paddling in schools is very innapropriate for 2010. It is also ineffective. I remember years and years ago corporal punishment being used, and it was always the same kids getting paddled, which tells me, even 40 years ago it was ineffective. I was simply shocked when I found out this was still legal in my state of Georgia. Even if your district does not hit children, if a teacher does so on their own, they just claim its for discipline and you cannot file a criminal complaint either. Why are educators exempt from prosecution. IF a parent hit their child with a wooden board we would be turned into child services and rightly so. This is very incongruent laws and it must be changed. The sooner the better. There are too many rogue educators who would mete out a paddling just because they can and take out there frustrations on a kid. Too often 200 pound principals are whacking children as small as 40, 50 pounds, this is unacceptable and abusive, yet it is not considered abuse. It is also innapropriate for middle schoolers and teenagers to be struck. What message are we conveying to young ladies who submit to this. We should be ashamed

I am responding directly to

Submitted by Angela on 12 May 2010 - 9:47am.

I am responding directly to the disproportionality of African Americans and the disabled being physically punished more than whites. This is disturbing to me as it is the same cultural dynamic and historical context of racial profiling with law enforcement using excessive force/abuse disproportionally with African Americans. Also, let's not forget the disproportionality of profiling for "shopping while black."

My concern is deeper...adults we need to learn how to communicate and develop relationships across cultures first with one another so positive modeling of relationship building for all children will become second nature. This means educating yourself, immersing yourself in diverse cultural experiences, awakening your biases and destroying those that keep you unconsciously relating "bad" with "black/African Americans or "less than" with the disabled community. If you are NOT doing this, you are NOT part of the solution.

School hypocrisy = violence.

Submitted by Peter Blaise on 12 May 2010 - 12:58pm.

School hypocrisy = violence. We have at least three problems here, revealing the double standards of our thoughtless, self-serving academic universe:

1 - Assault and Battery, Bullying:

Would you treat an adult this way? No. So do not treat anyone this way, especially not a child. If you tried to spank an adult because they exceeded your patience, you'd get arrested and brought to a judge to defend your actions, and probably get jail time. Treat children with the same respect you treat adults, the same respect with which you'd like to be treated. And that leads to point 2:

2 - Separation of Powers, Equal Protection Under Law:

In the United States, we do not let the Police dispense punishment. Instead, the Police subjugate themselves, along with the accused, to the power of an impartial judge or jury. In challenging situations where the teacher cannot get their way (that's all "discipline" is), the teacher should present their case to a third party where the child's story and the teacher's story will each have impartial hearing and equivalent consideration. Otherwise, we are teaching our children that some citizens are second class citizens and do not deserve equal protection under law, leading to all sorts of problems later in life (like hiring illegal immigrants, then trying to skip paying them, then trying to deport them, after taking advantage of them, and so on -- examples abound. Where do we think the euphemism "domestic disturbance" comes from?). Which leads to problem 3:

3 - Adult Impatience, Academic Vacuousness and Impotence:

The only reason the adults are hitting the children is because the adults are impatient, they are at their wit's end, and hypocritically revert to treating children as they themselves would not like to be treated. If a teacher finds an irresistible urge to strike out, that is the time for the teacher to take a time out. Just because the classes are over crowded, just because children can be a handful, just because parents neglect their responsibility to participate fully in their own children's upbringing, is no excuse for assault and battery.

I suggest that we sue anyone who assaults and batters a child, and present them to criminal and civil courts, and when convicted, bar them for life from ever participating in a position of responsibility over minors. Then, "... others ... will be too afraid to get reprimanded and will not cross that line ...", right "Jamal"?

Click!
Love and hugs (for a reason),
Peter Blaise

===== Dialog with other replies: ==========

"Jamal", you presume the only way for a child to "behave" to an adult's standards is to be afraid of punishment: "... others ... will be too afraid to get reprimanded and will not cross that line ...". You seem to have a view that behavior acceptable to adults can only come through fear of pain inflicted by adults. If that is what we teach -- and we do by our example -- no wonder the world is in such a warlike mess.

Try this, "Mr. Common Sense", try replacing the word "adult" wherever you suggest how a "child" should be treated, and see if it works: "... Have you ever tried to reason with an adult? They don't understand the way I expect them to. I've spanked my neighbor about 4 times in their life and they're doing just fine ..." ... and you'd be in jail after the first "spanking". You only think your child is okay, but instead, you've wounded them, made them ashamed of themselves and afraid of you. You've broken the natural bonds of familial safety. You've taught them that it's okay when they are larger to strike out against a smaller person for as little a reason as feeling at their own wit's end. Apologize to your child, explain that you acted abusively, inexcusably, on your own weakness and impatience, stop doing it, fix what you broke, and take steps to never do it again.

So, after all your years of education, "because", what have you learned about the best way to deal with an abusive person (who's obviously in pain), such as the one who ripped other children's clothes off and laughed? How good was your schooling, by way of example?

Thanks, "matt", for explaining some of the purpose of separating police from judge and jury, but you miss the next level of separation -- the judge and jury to not carry out "punishment", and school is a place of learning to integrate into society, not a place to separate people from society or damage them for some elusive "good". In spite of your own observation, you still think teachers can be all these things in socializing children -- police, judge, jury, and punisher -- by hitting children as no adult would be hit, and with no overview. No wonder violence is a first response in our society as our children grow up. Can you imagine stopping here, now, from this moment on, with at least you, one person, refusing to hit, and defending anyone who is getting het, or about to get hit? Can you?

"Nancy U" -- it's not just adult's anger, it's adult's impatience that makes adults hit children -- the adult's failings are carried out on the child, and becomes the example from which the next generation learns. How do you think "Jamal" and the others learned that hitting children was a good thing?

"Jesse", there's a severe fallacy in thinking that "... spanking is effective for a particular child at home ..." as it (a) presumes that hitting anyone is okay, and (b) it tries to make an occasional hitter of the teacher. The child is not the only one suffering here. Teachers and parents who hit are also damaged. Witnesses are damaged. Anyone having to deal with the hitting teacher, the witnesses to the hitting, and the hit child are also damaged. The social infestation of violence and disrespect is insidious and affects us all.

"Kate", so you say "... I was paddled ... don't think any child should be paddled at school in class, in the office would be best ..."? Why in the office? Is there something about being paddled that might harm someone if done in class? Please explain why damage is okay in the office, but not in the class. From your example, all I can see is that it will show the child who's boss, not who's right. And nothing else. "Kate", you are another example of someone who was damaged by paddling as a child, and now seek to damage the next generation, rather than heal yourself and your former teachers. You are perpetuating the cycle of violating your fellow human beings. Answer this: if the students find that any teacher has misbehaved, do they get to paddle their teacher? If not, why not? Really. Answer me.

As "T.A.B." so succinctly puts it: "... We should be ashamed ..."

Just a thought: I think we

Submitted by AW on 14 May 2010 - 10:39am.

Just a thought:

I think we can all agree that not every disciplinary method works with every child.**

We had an AP that got pretty good results with "restitution". Some kids could care less about detention, and paddling is not available, but an hour after school on Friday helping the custodians haul trash, mop bathrooms, and pick up trash will get your attention.

**Example: Had a friend who was spanked almost on a daily basis by his roofer father, and nothing changed. Nothing, that is, until his mother made him sit all Saturday afternoon in the living room with nothing to do but look at his friends outside playing and having fun. THAT was suffering, and he cleaned up his act.

What about the practice of

Submitted by AW on 14 May 2010 - 10:44am.

What about the practice of "restitution"?

If the kid could care less about detention and in-school suspension, and paddling is not an option, an hour after school on Friday helping the custodians mop floors, clean bathrooms, haul trash and pick up litter does wonders.

You "take away" from the school, you "repay" the school.

I was watching an episode of

Submitted by Aaron B on 27 May 2010 - 5:37am.

I was watching an episode of "The Principals Office" on tru tv a few weeks ago. I saw a principal in KY pull a paddle out and ask the student in his office what he should do with the paddle.

I was shocked to see this. This paddle stuff is wrong. It is the parents/and or gaurdians responsibility to discipline the child, not a teacher, principal or anyone else.

When I went to school, there was never a mention of a paddle and I was not exactly the best or well behaved student. The worst I ever got was suspended or detention.

I think paddling should be abolished and if its used anyway, that "user" should be prosecuted.

Restitution makes sense AFTER

Submitted by Peter Blaise on 27 May 2010 - 5:54pm.

Restitution makes sense AFTER due process, where both parties submit themselves to an impartial superior authority who hears both the teacher and their representative, versus the student and their representative, and appeals from there branch out into the regular court system.

Again, treat all people with equivalent consideration. This is not a difficult rule to follow. In fact, this simplifies things greatly.

How would YOU want to be treated if someone in loco parentis decided you offended them, and they wanted to take action against you? Would you want your accuser to also be your prosecutor, judge, and punisher, with no impartial oversight?

The best schools in America

Submitted by Wade Ditty on 5 July 2010 - 11:28pm.

The best schools in America do not paddle kids.

At my school kids were

Submitted by Jim on 17 July 2010 - 10:41pm.

At my school kids were paddled in grade 1 through 12. About 95% of kids including myself were never paddled. My parents never hit me either except once or twice that I can remember. Only the bad kids were paddled. And normaly only by the principle in the hallway. I think it not only helped the 5% getting paddled realize what they did was wrong, I think it made the rest of us more scared and we behaved better also for hearing them getting smacked. I remember 1 kid who was paddled after he put a piece of tape in my hair and the teacher had to cut it out. I thought he deserved it, and he never bothered me again. Just talking to him would not have done anything. On the other hand I do remember a 68year old music teacher in the 1st grade that would pull kids up by their hair and shake them if they misbehaved or didn't sing. Now that was really scary. Fear motivates kids to be good I guess. In Japan teachers randomly walk up behind students and smack kids in the head just to keep their minds sharp. I've visited schools in a dozen different countries, Turkey has the best behaved kids.

Why not show children

Submitted by Dawn on 25 July 2010 - 12:32pm.

Why not show children respect, compassion, and how to talk through their problems. I do not believe that spanking or yelling at a child helps them understand the problem. Let's try talking to our students and children in a calm voice, it really works!

I am amazed at the depth of

Submitted by Michelle on 19 October 2010 - 12:46pm.

I am amazed at the depth of ignorance in our society today. You really think it's okay to beat a child? Someone who can't defend themselves? Someone who isn't yet fully developed emotionally, physically or spiritually? Seriously? Beating. Spanking. Paddling. Whatever you want to call it is a COP OUT. It's the lazy way out. It's the bullies way. It's ABUSE. Period.

Why don't parents take the time to teach their child right from wrong EVERY DAY. If you do that, gee, guess what? Your child will behave at home and at school. My daughter, at four is incredible kid. She's smart, funny, kind and can read. She's never been hit. Ever. Instead she is firmly talked to when she does something wrong. And she learns what not to do and what to do.

So, next time you think it's okay to beat the shit out of your child or give permission for the school to do so...take a moment and think about this...imagine how it would feel if you were beaten in public. Now, take that and magnify it a million times. That's what your child would feel. Humilation does not teach a child to behave.

Thank you for posting your

Submitted by Nannette Vie on 4 January 2011 - 3:58pm.

Thank you for posting your thoughts.

I am appalled at how many people are saying that hitting a child is the appropriate way to discipline them. I have 3 adult children who have never been "paddled" by me or anyone else. They were not angels but were not disciplined through violence. In addition, the thought that someone would touch one of them and they weren't pulling them from harm's way makes me feel a little bit crazy.

What adult thinks that it's okay for their manager (or whomever)to hit or humiliate them because their work isn't in on time?

Children aren't second-class citizens! How can any child be expected to respect others, the rules or themselves if they are not valued?

I have used spanking for my

Submitted by Rachel on 3 October 2010 - 6:58pm.

I have used spanking for my last resource to disciplining my 2 boys. Never would I give permission to a school official to touch my child for any reason and if I could load the picture of my son his brother took you would see why. The bruising was pretty deep and covered 3/4 of his bum no reason for that. If they never took disciplinary out of the home and took care of what they assumed was abuse we wouldn't have to have the government wasting money on the FINS PROGRAM I'm glad my boys are now out of that program because there behavior record in Iowa from Arkansas 0 problems behavior 0 problems grades ((( musta been the water )))

I would never abdicate my

Submitted by Sallie on 4 January 2011 - 1:02pm.

I would never abdicate my parental authority to an institution, whether it be school or church. Ignorant people hide behind the biblical tenet of "spare the rod, spoil the child", as grounds for what constitutes child abuse to the thinking public.

I feel that paddling in

Submitted by Ron in Lilburn on 4 January 2011 - 1:45pm.

I feel that paddling in school is necessary to maintain order in classrooms. Our children are not learning in classrooms because they are unruly and can get by doing as they please. I live in Georgia. As far as I know, there is no discipline by paddling in schools. I believe that you have misrepresented Georgia. Can you give specifics. I do know that there would be less 'brats' if discipline is allowed, whether the kid is embarrassed or not. Most of them just laugh and proceed on. It would be very wise to redo the schools before the United States fails completely and falls off the map as a third world nation.
Unless a child has a physical problem or very emotional problem, they need to be disciplined in school. The kids in school are very street smart and do know how to disrupt a class and continue to occupy a seat even if they wish not to learn. If the system was not based on money, but the desire to learn, we would be better off. An unruly child that does not wish to be in school to learn, let them enroll in the military or work corps until they realize the values of life. Also, we do not need to train the children to be athletes and maintain these athletes in school just to kick the ball - kick them out. Only a select few get to play sports. Others no longer even get physical activities as a result. Again, a reason for obesity. Rethink sports in school. Rethink discipline. School age children have too much anyway to appreciate what has been passed down to them.

This article, from 2010,

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 4 January 2011 - 2:13pm.

This article, from 2010, provides some statistics and information about the use of corporal punishment in Georgia: http://www.gpb.org/news/2010/07/06/28k-students-got-corporal-punishment

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! I'm

Submitted by Kathy Flores on 7 January 2011 - 2:53pm.

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! I'm assuming that all of you writing comments in here are intelligent, educated and thoughtful adults. Why, then, would any of you support an idea as archaic and sadistic as physical punishment in schools? The acid test is: how would you feel if it was YOUR kid being hit, spanked and humiliated by school personnel? How would you feel if it were sanctioned for your boss to hit you if he/she was dissatisfied with your attitude, work or on-the-job behavior? Even aside from the fact that physical punishment robs a child of his/her dignity, to support this practice also assumes that the adult doling out the punishment is doing so in a restrained manner. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Adults who work in schools have their own emotional baggage, just as we all do, and when they feel disrespected and angered, they may easily act out of a place of displaced anger, which could too easily result in an abusive, versus strictly disciplinary, situation. This entire issue needs to be completely rethought in a more rational and humane way. Positive Behavior Supports and behavioral interventions based upon function of the original behavior is what actually teaches better behavior and changes negative behavior. Helping to shape a generation of people who are thoughtful, rational, compassionate and self-disciplined will not come about through the use of a paddle.

I am with you Kathy. I am

Submitted by Donna Georges on 2 February 2012 - 1:34pm.

I am with you Kathy. I am actually horrified at some of these comments. That educated adults have so few tools in their toolbox for helping young people grow into caring responsible adults is quite amazing. Positive behavioral supports are a far better choice for creating a peaceful world. I am going to let my students read some of these comments. They will generate a lively conversation as our school looks at all systems of oppression and entitlement as we plan for Black History month, Womans History month and White Ribbon Day here in Massachusetts.

I to use to believe in

Submitted by Terrie Martin on 4 January 2011 - 2:16pm.

I to use to believe in corporal punishment, I am so glad I went and took several classes on discipline, It changed my life, and the future of my children and their children. The class for 14 weeks called exploring parenting was just one of them, ( I learned allot about power and control), so sad, if shame and humiliation, are what your after, keep hitting or (discipline your children) Please educate yourself on this topic, not from your past, but learn something new for your children’s future. Please it is never all right to call abuse discipline , No matter what age, the reason you don’t spank your older children isn't because to don’t have to , they will hit back someday, when you don’t do what your told. Calling violence discipline is a terrible accuse for saying you want power over your children, 100 percent of parenting is teaching.

As a veteran teacher, I moved

Submitted by alynn on 4 January 2011 - 8:09pm.

As a veteran teacher, I moved to Florida to teach in an inner city school, and was physically assaulted by my students on several occasions. (They were all larger than I). Parents, and the administrators, did not back me up or protect me. I have left public teaching, and teach part time at the college level. Maybe corporal punishment is not such a bad idea in some cases; sadly, perhaps this is the only way to reach them.

It really disturbs me to

Submitted by Laura Olesko on 5 January 2011 - 9:12am.

It really disturbs me to think that a person could "calmly" inflict pain on another human being. If you can do that, there is something wrong with you! It's time this barbaric practice ceased!

Then you, madame, have never

Submitted by Keith Moore on 6 January 2011 - 3:26am.

Then you, madame, have never seen a nurse inoculate a child. Certainly, the needle inflicts pain and the use of that needle is deliberate but just as certainly, it is important that the nurse do so calmly in the face of the child's natural fear and reaction to the pain. A disciplining teacher or parent who uses very mild pain (for which a needle prick is an apt analogy) to discipline must do so calmly and especially show no hint of anger lest the child reasonably associate infliction of pain with being angry. With spanking, it is important that the child reasonably associate the pain and shame with his or her wrong actions.
The adult justice system is based upon inflicting punishment, which can involve financial pain and the pain and shame of imprisonment (and, sometimes, execution), with as much calmness and detachment as possible. I tend to regard taking the practice in the other direction, inflicting punishment with as much calmness and detachment as possible, as the nearest thing to treating children with the same respect with which we would treat an adult who had done wrong.
It is a barbaric people that do not punish justly or do not punish at all. Punishing with harmless and temporary pain and shame is the mark of a civilized society that values justice.

There is a huge difference

Submitted by Kathy Flores on 7 January 2011 - 3:00pm.

There is a huge difference between "punishment" and "discipline" -- the former is retribution (which does not teach more appropriate behavior, and in fact, engenders further retribution down the "food chain"), and the latter is a system of rational, sensical responses to targeted behaviors that focuses on natural consequences, making meaningful restitution, and learning and practicing better, more appropriate reactions to situations that have evoked maladaptive responses. The only thing that children learn when they are physically punished is that "might makes right" -- and we see the after-effect of that mentality in our violent crime rates.
There is a better way, and it's already out there. This archaic practice is outdated and ultimately harmful.

Is using the paddle in the

Submitted by morrison on 3 November 2011 - 8:02pm.

Is using the paddle in the school setting teaching children that violence is okay? I think paddling students is not okay no matter how out of control they may be. It is sad to me that the effects of paddling may result in school avoidance. I just hate to think that we may be encouraging so many negative things just by trying to “enforce some discipline.”

As soon as I read the title

Submitted by Sha-nayyy-nayyy on 4 November 2011 - 12:11am.

As soon as I read the title of the article I was in shock. I cannot believe that it is still legal in states to use physical force on a child at school. It is completely inappropriate and should be done away with. A child should feel safe at school. They should not be afraid of their teachers, or afraid to step out of line one bit, due to the fear of being paddled. I could not imagine being in a school where the teachers were allowed to put their hands on the students. It makes me sick.

I remember when I was in

Submitted by Christy Hill on 28 October 2013 - 1:58pm.

I remember when I was in grade school I witnessed several students get paddled one time. I was at this one school and several students were acting up in our classroom about 8 to 10 of them and the teacher lined them all up and made them bend over a chair and gave them three hard licks on the butt. None of those students ever acted up again because of the embarrassment they suffered in the classroom being paddled in front of 17 other kids in the class.......So yes corporal punishment do work

This is a topic I hadn't

Submitted by Cjc on 22 February 2014 - 5:27pm.

This is a topic I hadn't thought about in 40 years. In the early seventies spanking was a popular punishment at home for many of us so it seemed very natural to be spanked by our teachers as well. Some teachers rarely paddled, others not at all, and some routinely for every infraction of a rule. It was my second grade teacher who was in the latter category. She laid down the law and we were well aware of how to not get in trouble. The spankings she gave were always as a consequence for a child's decision to step out of line. She was strict but fair. She called the offenders to the front of the class and swatted them with her hand a few times. The child walked back to his seat with no outward appearance of trauma pain or humiliation. I don't remember feeling embarrassment for the spanked student. In the same way out mothers spanked siblings in front of each other, teachers did the same. Every adult on staff was a snitch so many spankings were given for misbehaviors out at recess., in hallways., even walking home. The teacher had spies everywhere. Although I'm not an advocate of school spankings now, I was then although ironically I was subject to them during that time. One major rule was we were not allowed to tease or even speak of a spanking that took place during the day among ourselves and definitely not within earshot of the pupil who was punished. We were allowed to tell our parents if we chose, But to embarrass or humiliate other students was prohibited. I was at a classmate's house one day and she and I were having a discussion about a girl who was spanked that day. We laughed at her for back-talking the teacher after the paddling! Of course it earned her another one. My classmates mother chastised us for gossiping and used the example of how would we feel if we were In her shoes. My friend responded with ,it's not like we're talking about her in front of her but it's a good thing the teacher wasn't listening. My classmate told her mother that would not happen because we never got in trouble. This very wise mother pointed out that not only were being unkind, we were also disobeying our teacher. The following day a school both of us were called up to the teachers desk. She whispered to both of us that we were going to be punished for gossiping and for disobeying her. She told us if anyone ask the specifics of what we said not to tell them. She gave us our spankings and then looked at the class and ordered them not to ask us any questions or they would be next. I'm still very impressed with the way my friends mom handled that situation to teach us a lesson