Corporal punishment is a divisive topic. Back in May, I even received criticism from some people at my church for a blog post I wrote on my website about how “spare the rod; spoil the child” is not in the bible and why Christians need to stop using it to justify their discipline practices. Whether you agree with spanking children or not, in the past, it was a common practice in American schools. Although most schools have abandoned the practice, one school recently decided to add paddling students as an acceptable consequence for misbehavior.
Georgia School for Innovation and the Classic (GSCI), a K-9 charter school, has decided administrators can paddle students as long as parents consent. GSCI Superintendent Jody Boulineau told WRDW News, “There was a time when corporal punishment was the norm in school and you didn’t have the problems that you have.” I disagree with him and I don’t want anyone to paddle my children at school. Just because you were able to use fear to get children to comply doesn’t mean you really solved your problems, you may have also created other problems such as those pointed out by author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in her book An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States:
The experience of generations of Native American in on- and off-reservation boarding schools, run by the federal government and Christian missions, contributed significantly to the family and social dysfunction still found in the Native communities…Corporal punishment was unknown in Indigenous families but was routine in the boarding schools. Often punishment was inflicted for being “too Indian” – the darker the child, the more often and severe the beatings. The children were made to feel that it was criminal to be Indian.
We already know based on various research studies that black children receive more discipline than their white counterparts. If corporal punishment makes a sweeping comeback in schools across the nation then we already know who is going to the dragged to the office, taken to a room, and told to bend over to receive hits from a wooden board.
Below is some information shared in an article by Indiana Public Media two years ago:
Corporal punishment is still in use:
-There’s nothing in Indiana state law that prohibits it.
-And 30 schools in 17 public school districts recorded a total of 239 instances of corporal punishment.
-Indiana is one of 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools, according to the Center for Effective Discipline.
-In fact, state law lets school staff “take any disciplinary action necessary to promote student conduct” in the same manner a parent may.
Too many schools are already failing our students academically and now they want to beat our children too. Corporal punishment in schools went away for a reason and it needs to stay gone.