Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spanking in schools...

If you read this blog, you may have already read my post about my experience being paddled back in 1981, when I was in the fourth grade.  It was not really a physically painful punishment, but it was definitely traumatic and humiliating.  I still think about it many years later.  It still makes me angry.

This morning, a friend shared this post from Inquisitr about a five year old child in Georgia who was in trouble with the principal.  His mother, Shana Perez, had recently been in trouble with the law because her son had been absent from school 18 days.  Apparently, the kid had also been a discipline problem in school.  The principal wanted to paddle him and the situation was such that if the principal was not allowed to spank the boy, he would be suspended.  If he was suspended, his mother would end up back in jail.

Now...  after reading a more objective news article about this case, I actually went to the mother's Facebook page to see the video she took of her child in distress.  He was pretty hysterical and calling for his mommy.  The school officials were calm and evidently told Ms. Perez to leave the room.  I can't say I'm overly impressed by what I saw on the woman's Facebook page.  It's possible that her children are handfuls who lack discipline.  Her son very well may be an out of control brat who could rightly use a spanking.  However, I don't think it's the school's role to be administering corporal punishment.  I feel very strongly about that.  I also think that corporal punishment, while often effective in the short term, can lead to long term problems and even possible abuse.

I know not everyone agrees with me and I'm not here to tell other people how to raise their kids.  I just don't think using a violent method of discipline is a good solution to behavioral problems.  Spanking is a physical punishment that causes pain.  Some might say that's the only or best way to get a child's attention.  I disagree.  I think it's a lazy form of discipline, especially when it's employed as the "go to" punishment, as it was by my enraged father when I was growing up.

When I have explained this viewpoint to other people, they say, "But knotty, what you're describing isn't a 'spanking'.  It's a 'beating'.  That's abuse."  The trouble is, everyone has a different definition of the difference between spankings and beatings.  Moreover, some people can't restrain themselves from hitting their kids when they are enraged.  Then, what should have been a simple swat on the ass becomes a beating.  This isn't to say that this truism would change if we passed laws outlawing spankings.  In many places in Europe, spanking is illegal.  I'm not sure how enforceable the laws are, though I get the sense that many Europeans think spanking is a bizarre and barbaric way to discipline children.

I will admit that my feelings about this issue come entirely from growing up in a home and going to a school where corporal punishment was used and abused.  Corporal punishment in my home didn't happen very often, but it did happen enough that I remember the discipline sessions well.  They did not inspire me to respect my father or the teacher who paddled me.  In fact, to this day, I still harbor a lot of anger toward my dad.  It's easy to tell me that I should just let it go and forgive him.  That's easy to say and very difficult to do.  I do understand why he did what he did and I do love him.  But I don't think his violent discipline sessions were appropriate.

In this case, Perez claims that she signed a form that did not give consent for her son to be paddled.  He was apparently acting out in class and she was told that he could either be paddled or suspended.  Because she'd been in trouble for truancy, Perez worried that she'd go back to jail if her son was suspended.  So she gave consent for the officials to paddle her son and videotaped it.  Now she's causing an uproar over her son's punishment.  Right now, people are arguing with me Shana Perez simply wants fifteen minutes of fame.  I don't necessarily doubt that's true.  However, because school officials paddled her five year old son, she's getting those fifteen minutes of fame, isn't she?

Corporal punishment is a very controversial issue that people love to argue about, as evidenced on the many comments that were left on my Facebook page.  When something like this gets in the news, it causes issues that school officials have to deal with.  When officials are dealing with shit like this, they aren't dealing with other issues related to actually educating children.  Educating children is what school officials should be primarily concerned with doing.  Yes, discipline is a part of education, but when situations like this one arise and it ends up in the news, school officials have to do damage control.  That takes their focus off their main role.

I probably could write more about this subject, but I've already written about this before on my blog.  And to be honest, when I do write about it, it tends to bring back very unpleasant memories for me.  Since it's Saturday, I should probably just end this post here and go watch The Brady Bunch.


  1. Watch the Brady Bunch. it represents childhood as it should have been.

    1. I am weirdly addicted to that show, even though it's ridiculously corny.


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