End corporal punishment

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The story about the severe bruising a young student suffered as a result of a school paddling was disturbing by itself, but equally troubling is the way the people who have the power to do something about it are handling it.

The school administration is “investigating” it to see if laws were followed, and board policy. I predict they will conclude that no law was broken, no board policy violated, and the board will then be asked to mollify community outrage by enacting a “no more than once a day” policy.

The sheriff’s office will also investigate—to try to determine the intent of the paddler. Hello! Of course she didn’t intend to severely injure the boy!

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If a parent caused those injuries would the sheriff ask if they meant to do so? No, the injury would determine if law was broken, not the mind-set of the hitter. Net result—no real protection for the school children, more injuries will occur.

Here is a simple solution: allow teachers to continue use of physical force to prevent immediate harm to persons or property, but ban corporal punishment.

Twenty-nine states are educating children quite successfully without using any form of physical punishment. Ohio is poised to become state No. 30 by summer and thousands of districts in the remaining 20 states already have their own district bans. Bans actually result in improved behavior, because we stop instilling anger in children, we stop teaching them to physically lash out when angry.

No state or nation [109 of them] with bans have ever resorted to bringing back the paddle, except one, Nazi Germany. Ending the outmoded practice of hitting children with boards works well, there are models all over.

Our grandchildren are being educated in Forsyth County, Ga., schools, just one of many Georgia districts that do not hit.

Robert Fathman, Ph.D., presidentNational Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in SchoolsDublin, Ohio