Sunday, October 01, 2006

In Many Public Schools, the Paddle Is No Relic

I had no idea that corporal punishment existed at anymore, much less is so widespread.  There are so many reasons why this is a HORRIBLE idea, but here are my top two:
A) It's unnecessary.  While I have no doubt that beatings can terrify some kids into behaving themselves, what it really represents is a failure to properly manage a school, implement a strong disciplinary system, and build a strong culture rooted in mutual respect.  Beating children strikes me as the antithesis of mutual respect!
B) I don't like the racial elements of this one bit.  Take a look at the map of where corporal punishment is most prevalent -- it's largely the states in which the legacy of slavery and racism (both historical and, I'd wager, today) is, sadly, the strongest.  And who are corporal punishment's biggest proponents?  White evangelicals.  While this article doesn't provide the data, I'm going to make the not-so-bold hypethesis that black male children are far more likely to receive corporal punishment.  Conveniently, the article shows a black principal with a paddle, but what about the far-more-common scenario of a white man beating a black child in the deep South???
In Many Public Schools, the Paddle Is No Relic
Published: September 30, 2006

EVERMAN, Tex. — Anthony Price does not mince words when talking about corporal punishment — which he refers to as taking pops — a practice he recently reinstated at the suburban Fort Worth middle school where he is principal.

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