Why would Memphis or any school system reinstate corporal punishment?

Since discipline seems to be on a lot of people’s minds today, I am bringing up a regular topic of mine — the inexplicable attachment to corporal punishment by schools.

Memphis is considering lifting a 5-year-old ban on corporal punishment in its schools.


At a board meeting this week, Memphis City Schools Board Commissioner Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.  introduced a resolution to restore corporal punishment.  The Memphis board will discuss at a meeting next month.

There is already resistance. At DetentionSlip.org, an effort is under way to launch a boycott of Memphis if corporal punishment is reinstated. (Here is a link to a national effort to ban corporal punishment in all public schools through federal legislation.)

UPDATED: I decided to see how often corporal punishment is used in Georgia. One hundred of Georgia’s 191  systems used corporal punishment in the 2008-09 school year, according to reports that they submitted to the state Department of Education. In total, the districts reported using corporal punishment 28,529 times that year.

For instance, out of the 3,139 discipline actions reported by Randolph County, 1,588 took the form of corporal punishment. Johnson County reported 2,081 disciplinary actions, 1,149 of which were listed as corporal punishment.

When I interviewed the late Benjamin Spock on spanking years ago, he told me, “One of the things that shocked me is the high percentage of parents who not only spanked, but felt you couldn’t raise children properly without giving them spankings from time to time – something like a vitamin.”

For that same story, I interviewed a researcher who reviewed 6,000 juvenile delinquency cases to discern common factors in the kids’ lives. Contrary to the belief that kids go wrong because no one ever gave them swift kick in the rear, researcher Ralph S. Welsh told me, “They were all raised by the belt, cord or fist.”

I also interviewed John Rosemond. He disagreed with efforts to ban spanking, telling me that, “My children have been popped on the rear end and have not been crippled by the event. They are both healthy, non-violent people.”

My objection is not to parents spanking their kids – although I think there is good reason not to. do so. My objection is to schools using physical punishment.

It is wrong. It is an invitation to lawsuits. It teaches kids all the wrong things, including using force to make their points.

Why do I keep reading stories about school systems reconsidering it?

138 comments Add your comment


June 25th, 2010
1:40 am

Our 3 children attend schools in an unresponsive paddling school district in Tennessee. We are vehemently opposed to our children’s learning environment including fear, anxiety, dread and humiliation and outraged that all U.S. tax-paying citizens are not receiving equal access to safe and healthy learning environments for our children, as it is illegal in schools in 30 states and prohibited by federal law in prisons and juvenile detention centers. Corporal Punishment is widely recognized by the international community as a human rights violation. School boards are asking for trouble to sanction a practice designed to intentionally inflict pain.

Our nation’s most trusted Children’s Health and Education Organizations have issued Official Position Statements Opposing Corporal Punishment of Children in Schools including the American Medical Association, NAACP, PTA and the American Academy of Pediatricians. Research indicates that physical/corporal punishment of children is harmful and ineffective.

Tax-payer funded government agencies entrusted with the care and education of our children must end the cycle of violence by teaching people, through word and example, peaceful means of resolving problems. Schools need to look for nonviolent solutions such as counseling, staying back, giving up a recess, withdrawal of privileges, and also make use of student mediators. These methods are more effective, and they teach children to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.

There is an excellent book by Asadah Kirkland “Beating Black Kids” that challenges parents and communities to do something better for our youth, to heal our families and our communities.

Spare the Rod
Spare the rod, you spoil the child. Who wrote that? Yeah I know we can find it in Proverbs 13:24, but who wrote that? I never heard of Jesus beating children with rods. I never heard of Jesus beating children at all. I also do not know how the person who wrote that line in the Bible treated his child. I just cannot see how anything a child does could warrant being beat with an object.

NY Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy will soon be introducing legislation to ban corporal punishment of children in all U.S. schools and to deny federal funding to schools that practice corporal punishment.


June 25th, 2010
1:47 am

If Memphis can contemplate this, who is to say Atlanta wouldn’t try this stunt? Mark my words, if an educator ever hits my child for any reason, under any circumstance, I would spare no expense in seeking civil and or criminal litigation. My job as a parent is to protect my child from harm and if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent. Any district/school that uses corporal punishment to control children in 2010 deserves litigation in my book. Not when there is a wealth of information on positive behavior intervention and supports. There is no excuse. Corporal punishment in schools attracts educators who are unimaginative and lazy. They need to find a better way, and that includes all the districts in Georgia that still employ this tactic. You all know who you are and so does the GA State Dept of Education.

@Maureen-here's your story

June 25th, 2010
2:08 am

Why would Memphis do this Maureen? Simple, it’s an over reaction to the lack of support teachers are getting when it comes to discipline. What people don’t get is that you don’t need “severe” consequences; you need firm and consistent ones, and the teacher needs to be firmly and consistently supported. All of this can be done WITHOUT resorting to corporal punishment.

Now Maureen just yesterday, you stated when you had “a story” to lead a blog, it helped generate more response. Well I got you a story; a pregnant teacher who was attacked by a student. So now you have no excuse not to run a blog on the subject of “are teachers getting enough administrative support in matter of discipline?” The story gives you all the ammunition you need to run the topic:

-pregnant teacher assaulted
-at least 3 other teachers have been assaulted at the same school
-police confirm union assertions that it isn’t an isolated incident
-teachers report feeling under siege-you say you have no evidence that that happens Maureen; here’s your evidence
-allegations administration is turning a deaf ear, compounded by the fact that administration couldn’t be reached for comment, usually a sure sign that something is amiss

Now you just got through running a story out of Memphis, so there is no way, now that you have a story in front of you, that you can LEGITIMATELY not run at least ONE blog that asks the question “Are teachers getting adequate support from administrators, when it comes to backing up their decisions in the classroom?”

Your lead in has been provided below:

By Rick Wills
Saturday, December 19, 2009

A pregnant elementary school teacher in Woodland Hills School District returned to the classroom Friday — a day after officials said a fourth-grader attacked her.

The student, a boy who attends Benjamin Fairless Elementary School in North Braddock, hit and shoved his head into the teacher’s stomach after she told him to get out from under a table in the school’s cafeteria, said Superintendent Walter Calinger.

“The district does not tolerate this kind of behavior. He has been behaving badly for some time,” Calinger said about the episode, which happened at 12:15 p.m Thursday.

The teacher, whom Calinger declined to identify, was taken to a hospital. He did not know the extent of her injuries.

Calinger said there are different versions of what occurred, but said the teacher acted appropriately.

“The teacher is doing what she should be doing,” he said. “There is no reason to think otherwise.”

Police and teachers union representatives said the episode is not an isolated one but, rather, the latest in a series of problems at Fairless. North Braddock police Chief Dean Bazzone said officers have been called to Fairless about 30 times this school year.

At least four Fairless teachers have been assaulted this year, said Butch Santicola, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Three of the teachers were hospitalized, and another 10 teachers sought medical attention, he said.

“The teachers feel under siege. There are isolated problems in other schools,” Santicola said. “In this school (Fairless), the problems are constant.”

Last week, union officials held an emergency meeting with some Fairless faculty.

“This school, by far, is the most serious problem we have anywhere,” Santicola said.

Other problems at Fairless have included students choking teachers from behind, he said.

“Apparently, they have had a problem all year long. There have been multiple incidents — and we are talking about younger kids,” he said.

Santicola said the union plans to investigate Woodland Hills’ response to teacher complaints.

“Many, many complaints have been turned into the administration, and nothing seems to have happened. Our people have been attacked, and the administration keep burying their heads in the sand,” he said.

Calinger could not be reached to respond to Santicola’s comments.

Police had not filed charges against the boy and were waiting to interview the teacher.

“We want to talk to her more,” Bazzone said.

The boy did not attend school yesterday, Calinger said.

The superintendent declined to comment on discipline that the boy might face, but said students involved in such incidents typically are suspended for the state-allowed maximum of 10 school days and can face expulsion by the school board.

@Maureen-here's your story

June 25th, 2010
2:33 am

Maureen, since you said you needed “a story” to generate blog responses to the question “are teachers getting enough backing, in terms of administrative support and in matters of discipline?” I gave you a story-a lead in. In seems the blog filter has mysteriously taken it.

But to answer you question on this topic, as to why? It’s an over reaction Maureen; an over reaction to the fact that we have instilled enough respect for teachers as adult authority figures and have allowed children to openly disrespect them.

Now before anybody draws false conclusions, read the words carefully; it’s an OVER reaction. You don’t need to be “severe” you need to be CONSISTENT, and when administrators don’t back teachers you undercut the teacher’s authority, just as surly as when mom takes away football from junior, but dad, trying to relive old glory vicariously through his son, let’s him play anyway. That’s the dynamic that is happening in public schools all over Georgia. You might not see this because you are a VISITOR in those schools Maureen. No one ever saw Uncle Louie with the vodka flask in his underwear swearing at the Trilateral Commission for canceling his “I Love Lucy” reruns-we had the sense to HIDE him, just like schools hide their discipline problems for VISITORS-you aren’t going to deny that you are frequently given an escort are you Maureen?

To bring it back to this topic, lest anyone get upset, the problem is real, but the solution is an over reaction. The solution is not to be “severe” the solution is to be CONSISTENT, and back teachers up.

And as for the charge that is sure to come that teachers themselves are not consistent. When teachers KNOW they are going to be second guessed first, not supported first it breed inconsistency on the part of the teacher. Show me a school where teachers are consistently supported, and I’ll show you a school where teachers are consistent.

@Maureen-here's your story

June 25th, 2010
2:43 am

Maureen that’s two post swallowed by the blog monster. I don’t advocate public schools paddling children, but I fully endorse you giving the blog monster a good boxing about the ears at this point!

@Maureen-here's your story

June 25th, 2010
2:44 am

Make that two posts-hate typos!


June 25th, 2010
2:46 am

I also just don’t understand why we would permit school system personnel (no vested interest or love) to physically punish children when PARENTS (vested interest and love) are considered child abusers if they physically punish THEIR OWN children.

gamom has the right idea!

Makes Sense?

June 25th, 2010
4:23 am

Here is an example of corporal punishment at its finest. The short story is an assistant principal that spanked a 9 year old 3 times in one day sending him/her to the ER. Why didn’t she call the parent to come get their little one? I guess if you have no tools in the tool box but a hammer – then you tend to treat every problem as if it were a nail. I would love to see a parent accountability law put into place. I firmly believe that there are students that do not deserve or cannot handle the classroom arena. Not sure spanking is the answer. I also believe that it is not the teacher’s job to focus on saving this one at the expense of the rest of the class.

Makes Sense?

June 25th, 2010
4:29 am

Ooooops. Forgot the links. Not enough coffee.
After all this the board reinstated spanking after 2 principals endorsed it with an impassioned plea. Don’t they have other options? My bet is that if they love corporal punishment they probably do not even contact the parents for ISS or sending them home for several days. I wonder.

Seen It All

June 25th, 2010
5:03 am

Gamom, EDUCATORS never use corporal punishment. SCHOOL STAFF MEMBERS (my way of saying unprofessional teachers and administrators) who don’t have the intellect to properly manage students want to beat in order to solve their problems.

Quite frankly I have never considered physical striking my students. Why? I because, besides the fact that my knuckles don’t drag the ground when I walk, I always had other ways of dealing with student misbehavior.

However some parents WANT schools to physically punish their children. Why? Probably because they want the schools to do their jobs for them. Personally I find chasing Johnny around the room with a paddle in hand silly.

Proud Black Man

June 25th, 2010
6:56 am

Amerikkka and the white right have always used fear, violence, and intimidation to get their point across.

Freedom from Stupidity

June 25th, 2010
7:09 am

Proud Black Man, and you ignorantly use racism to get yours across.


June 25th, 2010
7:29 am

to see how pervasive corporal punishment is in Georgia visit: http://www.gaappleseed.org to look at the recent report: Keeping Kids in Class. Take a look at the chart showing the number of students being spanked in Georgia.


June 25th, 2010
7:32 am

As a teacher I have absolutely no desire to spank or paddle a child, but I do want the authority and option to permanently remove a child from my classroom. If parents were setting and enforcing rules in the home the reinstatement of corporal punishment would not even be considered.


June 25th, 2010
7:36 am

I had a chaperone take a belt to me on a field trip once to Washington DC (I got kicked out of the Air and Space museum for running up the down escalator).

As jacked up as that seems; my only real problem with it is that they didn’t call my parents first and ask. I have no problem with corporal punishment as an option because it was quick and easy for the person being punished. (a spanking is over quickly and i could go about my life…a grounding or having to paint the house or something took a good while)

Will I spank my kids? Probably not (he’s 6 months old), but if it works, it works; and should be on the table as an option. If they called me first and told me he’d done something to deserve a few whacks I’d give them the OK. They need to have a standardized spring loaded device though for consistency…it takes emotion and anger out of it on the part of the person delivering the spanking. If theyre serious about it than all emotion needs to be taken off the table. The device would also allow a parent to see that their kid will not be whacked with more (or less) than x amount of pounds of force per sqaure inch (the parent could try it out on themselves if need be, to see if theyre comfortable with their kid being spanked by it)

A Parent /Teacher

June 25th, 2010
7:38 am

I applaud Memphis for wanting to reinstate corporal punishment in schools.The students and parents get worse every year. The students know that there are no consequences for their actions when they are behaving like straight clowns in class. Once a parent is called it is completely evident that s/he is the ‘ringmaster’ and condones such foolishness.The first words out of the parent’s mouth are” Jughead doesn’t behave like that at home”! WTH?
I bet the parents of the teens at Columbine, and all of the other copycats, wish they would have whipped their childrens butts NOW.White people and ‘politically correct’ discipline kill me.Save that Supernanny foolishness for tv. Because of this new ‘thinking’ of discipline the Black children are filling up in jails daily.Why? Because you don’t want my kid acting like a butt in your classroom, store, etc. You don’t put him on the ‘naughty step’ for 17 minutes when he disrupts your child’s learning. You don’t put him on the ‘naughty chair’ for stealing. You put his black butt in jail for 5 years. So as for me and my house, we serve a good master. His names are Love and Good Leather Belt. You can keep your jail… and the naughty step.

Dunwoody Mom

June 25th, 2010
7:39 am

And the Memphis school officials don’t realize they will be spending most of their time and money in court answering to lawsuits? Sheesh….

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 25th, 2010
7:39 am

You keep reading stories about corporal punishment because so many students are so badly behaved. The research about the delinquents didn’t show a correlation between their behavior and the ‘corporal punishment’ they received, but it did show a correlation between their behavior and bad parenting: the researchers chose to highlight the punishment, not the rest of the parents’ unsupportive and generally negligent behavior. I also don’t want my kids schools to use corporal punishment, because I don’t think that is a function of a school, and the staffs should not have to be forced (or enticed) to use it.


June 25th, 2010
7:50 am

We have embraced a kid-centric view of the world that teaches children that there are no consequences for their actions. As I enter my ninth year of teaching public school high schoolers I have witnessed a decline in “most” of the students’ behavior that I teach. I attribute this to the parents that coddle their children, fight most of their battles for them and have a delusional mindset about their children. I see this across the socio-economic spectrum. I agree with John Rosemond and have used spankings with my kids; not out of anger but love. I am sure some of you enlightened folks would call DFCS on me but guess what? My teenager is well behaved, reads God’s word and is a well adjusted pre-grown up. Afterall, we aren’t raising kids; we are raising considerate adults.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 25th, 2010
8:05 am

Rosemond – and I- found that a couple well-timed swats early on solved the major rebelliousness that often comes with a kid’s realization that they are a separate individual. Nothing major in the way of pain, but effective in showing there are severe limits to allowed behavior in the family. I agree with the poster that says they want the ability to permanently remove a kid from a classroom. I think at that point the parents should become legally liable, and I’d be quite willing to help such a notion become law. As with the delinquents cited in the blog, many people have no parenting skills whatsoever, and aren’t inclined to view that as a problem- unless the problem is forced back onto them. No one knows all the answers as a parent, we all have used help of one form or another in our quest to raise our kids properly; some people apparently need stronger forms of social justice to get them past their denial of their own, personal, problem.


June 25th, 2010
8:16 am

There is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned “board of education” judiciously applied with maturity and restraint. It can get the attention of a kid who needs it.


June 25th, 2010
8:24 am

Two comments….to the guy who calls himself proud black man; your racism is obvious and quite frankly you sound like an idiot with such comments.

As to letting a school hit,spank,pull, or paddle my child, the school teacher/administrator doing so would recieve a much worse hit,spank, pull or paddle from me!


June 25th, 2010
8:27 am

A Parent/Teacher, why did you have to bring race into this issue? Why do you have to talk about those white people. It is ignorant buffons like yourself who cause racism to still flourish today. I am sorry to hear that such a moron is teaching our young people today. Hit my child and you are going to have a couple hits coming your way as well.


June 25th, 2010
8:29 am

An Opinion……At the beginning of each school year, parents should be asked to sign a contract with the school system that their child (ren) will behave during each school day in an appropriate manner. The first time they cause a problem, they are sent home for the rest of the day…..the second time a week. The third time their parents should be told to come and pick them up and told that their child (ren) will not be allowed to come back to that particular school. I know, you liberals out there will say that it’s unfair punishment that children are going to misbehave…..well, I say it is fair…..it will tell the parents….”you need to put some serious parenting on your child”. And, I also know that this solution will never be allowed because of the money factor. Folks, our school systems are awful and they’re getting worse. If I had a child of school age, I would not let them near a DeKalb County, City of Atlanta or a Clayton County School……I would be afraid for their lives. This nonsense has to stop or our schools will have to close down.


June 25th, 2010
8:31 am

For “Here’s your story” – Thank you for putting the time into both those posts.
Totally agree that OVERREACTION is exactly what’s happening in Memphis. I’m no fan of corporal punishment but after 26 years in the classroom (of which I’ve never laid a hand on a child) I sure have thought about it. We have a one of the poorest administrative teams I’ve ever seen. Their consistent “inconsistency” destroys moral, good teacher judgment, discipline, school climate. The frustration level of the teachers builds coupled with student and parent disrespect and overreaction is bound to happen.

Gamom…I hear you on sparing no expense to sue anyone who touched your child but would you also agree when your darling threatens/attacks a teacher you’re accountable for their damages? Don’t think it doesn’t happen ….oh yea it does and fairly regularly. We’ve had parents corner and try to attack a teacher.


June 25th, 2010
8:32 am

I don’t have a problem with corporal punishment and have found that a well timed swat on the butt will work wonders.

I would not have a problem with MOST of my childrens teachers or principals paddling my child. If they called me, I’d be the first to tell them to wear their butts out. However, there have been a handful of teachers/principals over the years that I would never let lay a hand on my child. Therein lies the problem.

Do you want the principal who cannot tell the difference between a Tweety Bird keychain and a deadly weapon to hit your child with a board?

I vote no.


June 25th, 2010
8:38 am

Just for your information.. corporal punishment is not illegal in Georgia schools. I work in a school system near Savannah that still has corporal punishment as an option for parents. Many parents choose this rather than Out of school suspension. They would rather have their child paddled than to have to make plans to stay home with them. You might check closely, corporal punishment is by no means gone from Georgia school systems.

Jim in Ga

June 25th, 2010
8:39 am

Because they are probably out of solutions for disciplining their students. When parents will start raising their kids and stop looking for schools to do everyone will be much happier.

Welcome to our little world of Dekalb

June 25th, 2010
8:40 am

Memphis is setting its self up for lawsuits.
There are other effective ways to discipline inside the classroom. But because of the lack experience and support by our adminstrators a lot of issues get swept under the wrong. Some teachers don’t know how to discipline. Others with experience are too lazy to deal with it. I see it everyday.


June 25th, 2010
8:45 am

Parents just don’t care these days, that’s the problem. Corporal punishment isn’t the solution. Punish the parents where it hurts, in their pocketbooks! Stick unruly kids in in-school suspension and charge the parents a daily fee. Maybe then they’ll take notice!

many school systems do not allow c.p.

June 25th, 2010
8:46 am

spanking your own child is your prerogative; a non-custodial parent who strikes a child is guilty of assault. there is never a reason to use physical violence as a means of classroom management. i’ll agree that young people seem to have less understanding of consequences – good or bad – for behavior these days; can’t we all do a better job helping students learn the valuable lesson of being responsible for poor choices without resorting to hitting the child?


June 25th, 2010
8:46 am

I have worked with the Ga Dept of Juvenile Justice in its institutions for 20 years and was a public school teacher before that. Corporal punishmment needs to reinstated! Those of you who think you can “convince” a child to do something he or she doesn’t or not to do something they want to are just flat wrong. We’ve been trying it forever.
Children do not have the experiencial base to understand the bigger picture. They want to do what makes them feel good period. i do agree better parenting can reduce the need fo corporal punishment, but it comes down to this. I would much rather see a kid get a spanking under controled circumstances than risk him or her doing something that will result in far greater consequences later. How many of you will just tell your kid not too touch the hot stove. If he still wants to after you have explained the consequences, will you pop his hand or let him?


June 25th, 2010
8:54 am

I have no problem w/ corporal punishment in schools provided parents are contacted first. Let parents decide whether they want to come and get their little darling and deal with the situation or let the school handle it. My husband and I both went to schools in which a paddle hung at the principal’s office. Students knew it was there and trust me, no one wanted to be sent to the principal’s office. Even worse, you didn’t want the school to call your parents. Today, teachers call an administrator and the child’s attitude is “who cares?”. Students know full well the administrators cannot do anything and the parent in charge isn’t going to answer the phone, leave work or be bothered long enough to deal with the child’s actions. It is sickening how long it takes our school to reach a parent. Mysteriously, emails are lost, voice mail doesn’t work, the phone number on file is outdated and all the other emergency contacts are out of pocket too. Honestly, chasing the adult-in-charge down wastes so much time, if the school took the position of corporal punishment, this silliness would stop. I would bet you find a parent much faster if they knew a call from the school could result in administrators taking care of the issue.


June 25th, 2010
8:56 am

@Pluto – YES!
The kid-centric “point of view” that has been spewed from social workers and the social service system combined with parents who either want to be their child’s “friend” or don’t want to be bothered with their child has gotten us right where we are.

I remember that starting in the mid to late 80’s. I lived up north then – and social services would pitt child against parent to the point of creating a ridiculous amount of burden for the state with children entering the foster care system.

I agree with the other posters here who’ve said that parents coddle their children. I’ve seen it time and again…these parents will debate and try to shout down teachers/principals/law enforcement – it doesn’t matter…so long as they’re not accountable. I’ve even seen a parent at my son’t elementary school throw public insults at a teacher because HER CHILD was out of line and was corrected – oh yeah, and she did this in front of children, parents, and other teachers without regard. This is what we’re dealing with – obnoxious people raising obnoxious/selfish children.

At the end of the day…parents need to PARENTS!


June 25th, 2010
9:01 am

Corporal punishment in schools – I will say this again, it would attract the most laziest unimaginative bunch of educators there is. Yeah that’s just what memphis needs. I will look at the data sheet I have and see who paddle kids here in GA. Don’t be shocked! It’s been going on far too long. And I will stretch it a little further because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figurs this out either – it will likely be the worst teacher and even pedophiles to go work in the districts that hit children. Personally, I think the ACLU ought to do a study of paddling school districts and the amount educator sexual misconduct, there just might be a correlation – I don’t know! To me it’s very simple.. Keep your d____ hands off my kids.

Note to teachers who paddle: – you are suspect! If you don’t want to be accused of something, then leave them kids alone.

The Georgia LEgislature has left one big gaping hole in its care and protection of kids…..Ok, we needed laws to protect them from texting while driving, but really…when are we going to protect GA students from abusive educators that use corporal punishment. At the Georgia Dep of Education Board Hearing on June 9, there was standing room only on the restraint and seclusion problem we have here, For every person that spoke there that day there was 100 + or so others who have had ENOUGH of this hitting of children in our Georgia schools


June 25th, 2010
9:05 am

AND I DON’T CODDLE MY KIDS. I do believe in consequences. For everyone who says corporal punishment is OK in schools, are you flippin’ nuts? Would you allow your neighbor down the street to spank your kid? 99.9% of Parents polled do not want someone else other than them to spank their children. I question any who says they are ok with it and why. Don’t you teacher your kids anything about predators. You simply do not let someone else physically discipline your kids! It’s that simple. There are sick people in the world, that’s the reason why. Consequences are what kids need and boundaries as well. Any parent alloweing some ‘educator’ to hit their children are asking for trouble, you are betraying your own flesh and blood and SHAME ON “YOU


June 25th, 2010
9:13 am

It is not a crime in the state of Georgia to use corporal punishment with your own children. When you leave deep bruises on the butt or marks on other body parts then that is considered abuse. I like the idea of charging the parents for their children’s misbehavior but I can not see that one being passed so the second best option is corporal punishment and I support it.

Also, if I am not mistaken corporal punishment in the school system in Georgia is still on the books but I think most of the metro counties have outlawed it in their school systems.

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June 25th, 2010
9:24 am

gamom, The neighbors down the street is not even a relative argument. The school system is given an inherited power (en loco parentis (sp). This gives them and requires them to protect and yes discipline our children for falling out of the norms of society. This includes corporal punishment unless society decides this is not the norm. We are still a deeply conservative state so this method is not going to fall out of the norm. If you do not like it then the highways running to those blue states.


June 25th, 2010
9:24 am

I have spent a lot of time in the Cherokee County School System and have encountered children (and adults) who have no clue as to how to behave. Corporal punishment is legal in Georgia, but Cherokee County has a policy against it. That was not always the case. Every year, parents must sign a form that says they have read the policies of the school system. Every year, I wrote that my child was not to be paddled by anyone, they absolutely did not have permission. If anyone had ever laid a finger on either one of them, well, all Hell would have broken loose. They can count all the spankings they have ever gotten on one hand. There are occasions where small children don’t really understand safety issues and you must get their attention.

Having said that, neither of them have ever been in any trouble at school and very little anywhere else. They are polite and respectful. They were told they were not to be spanked, but if they ever “threw” it up to a teacher, I would come to school and either do it myself or watch the teacher spank them to make sure it was reasonable.

Teachers need to be supported, but parents need to be aware that there are a lot of “teachers” in the schools who have absolutely no business teaching and/or disciplining anyone’s child. When our culture starts valuing educators, paying them what they are worth, and demanding more in the way of teaching (not teaching to the test), we might get educators that would know how to use discipline. Between now and then, you have to understand you are putting your child in real danger anytime you send them to a school that allows spanking. If you have boys, you need to be VERY careful.


June 25th, 2010
9:29 am

REALLY REALLY REALLY, I know parents who have signed such opt out forms, and their kids got smacked anyway.

Come on People, Don’t sign some flimsy form for a district giving them the authority to discipline your kids. Instead provide an affidavit from an MD strictly prohibiting it.. THAT’S YOUR RIGHT here in Georgia. Go read the law, plain as day. The local districts here in good ole’ GA make up their policies loosely crafted from the law. I say, know the law and don’t sign a thing unless you know legally the ramifications of what you are doing.

Parents are naive to think they are OK with simply signing such a form. Don’t do it!


June 25th, 2010
9:45 am

@ gamon Who peed in your corn flakes? I fail to see your illogical conclusion that administering corporal punishment “would attract the most laziest unimaginative bunch of educators there is.” I hope with grammar usage like that you don’t teach. Furthermore your continued use of phases such as hitting, striking and so forth is way over the top. Nobody is suggesting assaulting students here. I have never laid a hand on students because I use alternative methods of classroom control and yes fear people like yourself who jump at calling a lawyer because you have somehow been wronged. Grow up.


June 25th, 2010
10:03 am

Every time something like this is posted, the same crop of people jump up screaming. 50% of new teachers leave the classroom in the first five years, and a good percentage of those cite classroom discipline and lack of administrator support as reasons. Not everyone parents. Period. And ‘alternative’ forms of discipline don’t work on every child, just like corporal punishment doesn’t work on every child.

This is something that some use as a tool in their arsenal. You don’t like it? Your choice not to have the weapon. But somebody better come up with something better better than the kid-centric crap being spouted now or many kids will be lost in the system FOREVER and getting quality educators will be dang-near-impossible.

My spouse teaches. He has been hit, kicked, swung at, spit on, and had his property destroyed. Not one of the kids received anything more than a few days suspension. As he completes his Masters, he is considering other fields.


June 25th, 2010
10:04 am

Let me add, he has only been in the classroom two years. TWO.

Tom Johnson

June 25th, 2010
10:05 am

Thanks once again, Maureen, for keeping readers informed on this issue–a responsibility which the print media has largely abdicated.


June 25th, 2010
10:12 am

Trapped in the filter :(

Proud Black Man

June 25th, 2010
10:14 am

@ jed

Shouldn’t you be more concerned about Jethro’s dismal education tea (insert the name that cannot be mentioned?)


June 25th, 2010
10:14 am

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that schools would reinstate corporal punishment because they have severe discipline problems. It might be assumed that they’ve tried other methods such as PBIS and found them lacking, but I can’t say for a fact that they have.

I will note that there is a difference between raising children “by the belt, cord or fist” and giving them “a pop on the rear end,” and there’s a difference between a spanking and a beating.

Personally, I found a pop on the hand or the rear end to be occassionally helpful when my personal children were small, but not so much when they were older, and I have no desire to spank my students at school.

I will also notice that the charter schools (such as KIPP) and private schools (such as Ron Clark Academy) that are most successful with “at-risk” populations institute much stricter discipline and dress codes (among other things) than the public schools. I don’t think discipline is everything, but it’s definitely important.


June 25th, 2010
10:35 am

ScienceTeacher671 :

You hit the nail on the head. People scream bloody murder over corporal punishment, but when stricter discipline guidelines or uniform dress codes are brought up—it only gets louder. Then the parents scream about free-speech and self-expression.

Successful adult-child relationships begin with discipline of some form, whether intrinsic or extrinsic. Teachers now deal with a great many students who have no internal motivation to behave well, and limited external consequences especially since many of the ‘problem kids’ have parents that either support their behavior or don’t care because they believe it’s the school’s problem.


June 25th, 2010
11:01 am

@ Tonya I guess your rant was aimed at me so here’s a reply; kids are a gift from God and as parents we are stewards of these little gifts. Our job is raise these gifts in a manner that imparts our values and beliefs. I fail to see how 40 yr old (some older some younger) mothers dressing like their daughters and going out to get matching belly botton rings will accomplish anything positive. We can be their friends after we have done our parenting jobs; not before. You mentioned that “somebody” better come up with “something” to curtail the selfish behavior we witness day in and day out. Who should that be?
On a side note, I had a lovely Christmas death rap presented to me whereby this student sang how he was going to fill my chest full of holes and blow off a part of my anatomy that I am somewhat fond. He left a hard copy on my overhead. He was given a couple of days off to stay home and watch Oprah eating bon-bons.