Can’t we get paddling out of all schools once and for all?

Given that there are far better and more effective ways to discipline students, why would schools risk lawsuits and criminal charges by striking children?

I still don’t understand how we teach kids not to hit people by hitting them.

Paddlings are often recalled on this blog with wistfulness as if they were a vanishing Southern staple — in the tradition of pickup trucks and pickled okra. It’s time to get rid of paddling in schools. (I would also like to get rid of pickled okra but my husband loves it.)

Schools should not physically discipline children. Suspend them. Call the parents. Send them home. But don’t hit them. It’s wrong. It invites complaints and lawsuits. And it teaches kids to use force to make their points.

Here’s yet another story on yet another spanking incident, this time in a private school where parents apparently have to approve the physical disciplining of their kids:

A family is complaining that their 11-year-old son was paddled excessively as punishment for fighting at his private school, according to Channel 2 Action News. “I don’t know how to explain it. So brutal,” Desmond Omigie told Channel 2 about being spanked by a leader at Hope Christian Academy in Jonesboro.

Desmond said he got into a fight on the basketball court at the school and punched another student in the nose. The school enforces corporal punishment and Robert Taylor, the pastor of the church that runs the school, spanked him, he told Channel 2. “Before he spanked me, he said, ‘I’m going to beat you until I get tired,” Desmond told Channel 2.

The pastor told Channel 2 that he followed procedures when spanking the fifth grader, and that those are procedures that parents permit. But the boy’s mother, Patricia Omigie, told Channel 2 that injuries to Desmond’s backside prompted her to take him to the doctor and to file a police report indicating the spanking was excessive.

-From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

157 comments Add your comment

mystery poster

May 21st, 2012
2:34 pm

I was glad to see that your take on this topic was to eliminate the paddling.
I can’t believe these parents would sign to allow this, then get upset when it happens.

T-Square

May 21st, 2012
2:39 pm

I would also like to get rid of pickled okra

And with that one line she proves she’s crazy. ;)

Berny

May 21st, 2012
2:40 pm

I’m torn on this one. I was paddled in school. I deserved it and it did not destroy my life or make me violent. I would not want anyone to paddle my daughters because I am an involved parent and discipline is my job. However, there are some kids in these schools that could use a good paddling.

Beverly Fraud

May 21st, 2012
2:43 pm

“I still don’t understand how we teach kids not to hit people by hitting them.”

Well we do teach people not to kidnap others by holding them against their own will in a locked room.

Still…myself, I prefer Dr. Trotter’s Center for Non Learning. Let them actually experience just how limited their options will be when they choose not to learn.

edugator

May 21st, 2012
2:47 pm

40 years ago I attended schools in another state where paddling was not allowed. Discipline was fine, and as near as I can tell we’re all happy and well adjusted adults. I’ve worked in schools in the south where paddling was allowed, and for the most part, discipline was a disaster. Paddling is neither the solution nor the problem, but it doesn’t do anything particularly useful.

If you really want to punish a kid, lecture to him.

Sensationalistic

May 21st, 2012
2:49 pm

At some private schools in Savannah, I think that paddling can serve as a replacement to suspension (sometimes automatic point deductions even if it is not academic related). I am not sure the case here, but the parents may have been offered the choice of the kid getting paddled and not receiving a grade deduction. I guess they didn’t quite understand what paddling could entail.

Paddling should be eliminated just because intimidation only breeds the kid to live a life of intimidating others. But for this case, it is hard to dismiss something that was authorized with the parents.

mystery poster

May 21st, 2012
2:52 pm

@Sensationalistic “But for this case, it is hard to dismiss something that was authorized with the parents.”
That’s exactly my issue with this. How could the parents authorize it, then have a problem when it was administered.

Just another teacher

May 21st, 2012
2:58 pm

Paddling isn’t as prevalent in Georgia schools as some would make it out to be. I’ve worked in 3 rural counties in the past 24 years and have yet to experience working in a school where students were paddled.

catlady

May 21st, 2012
3:00 pm

I don’t think you paddle to teach kids not to hit. I think you paddle to show the child that disobedience has consequences. Maybe.

I’d like to see being able to call parents and demand they come get their out of control child. The parent would have the option of attending class with their child. Parents are responsible for their children, and should have to follow through in order for their child to stay in school..I know when parents are inconvenienced by their child’s behavior, it usually improves. Now that NCLB does not have the “attendance” requirement, I’d like to see us move back to removing disruptive kids from school quickly. After all, little Johnny is NOT more important than the other 31 in class!

As for this mother signing the permission to paddle, I am SURE she never thought it would be HER child who would be paddled!

Lisa B.

May 21st, 2012
3:01 pm

We do not paddle at the high school where I work. However, I have had parents request paddling to avoid their students getting suspended. Suspension is a dire consequence for misbehavior, because students cannot make-up classwork or tests missed. Too many suspensions cause students to lose credit for their classes because of attendance policy. Obviously, the hope is that students would figure this out and avoid getting suspended. At times, I wish we had the option to paddle rather than have students lose all their credits for the school year.

Sensationalistic

May 21st, 2012
3:07 pm

@Just another teacher
2:58 pm

If you are referring to public schools, I can see that. A big deal is how private schools essentially have more power over a child than what a public school can. That’s because you sign off on a lot of waivers.

Julie Worley

May 21st, 2012
3:21 pm

Documentary exposes brutal school spankings/paddlings/shocking Injuries to US Students from taxpayer funded Public School Corporal Punishment Discipline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vt4v7KsFi8 school teachers, coaches and administrators who brutally assault students K-12 are Immune from criminal/civil charges leaving no legal remedy, parents would face Felony Child Abuse charges, up to 12 years prison in Shelby Co, TN for similar injuries to children! 2/3 of Tennessee students attend “Paddling Schools”. Florida and Tennessee State Law does Not require parental consent or notification for students to be hit with wooden paddles to inflict Pain as Punishment in school, yet Corporal Punishment is Prohibited in Nashville Schools and Schools in 31 U.S. States! Sign Petition to End School Corporal Punishment at http://www.change.org/petitions/support-h-r-3027-to-end-corporal-punishment-in-us-public-schools

A recent example of the damage done to a Crossville Tennessee school, coach and student follows:

“Legendary Football Coach Faces Criminal Charges For Paddling”.
The student’s mother “said her son is recovering from a traumatic brain injury from an ATV crash and any further trauma like padding to his head or spine could have killed him. The boy was on the school’s “No Paddle” list, but the mother said it still happened.”
The coach is no longer employed by the school, is facing criminal charges and two civil rights attorneys are bringing a federal lawsuit against responsible parties.

School Corporal Punishment is discriminatorily applied to boys, minority, disabled and low-income students.

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/08/11/impairing-education-0

Schoolchildren in the United States are treated differently based on where they live!

Angry Mississippi Mom tased twice at school, arrested
The incident marked at least the second time that Eaton had complained to school officials about disciplining her child, Weeks said. In 2010, she said her son had been spanked even though he was on the school’s “Do Not Paddle List,” he said.
Unlike 31 states that have banned corporal punishment in schools, according to http://www.stophitting.com, Mississippi allows some teachers to keep a wooden paddle in the classroom for discipline.
-http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-16/news/sns-rt-us-usa-crime-tasermombre84g01h-2 0120516_1_corporal-punishment-taser-mississippi

KidsDoMatter

May 21st, 2012
3:56 pm

No one seems to be concerned with the other child that was struck prior to this kid being spanked. I truly do not care if he felt injured due to being paddled, I’m sure the kid who was punched in the nose felt exactly the same way.

Ed Advocate

May 21st, 2012
4:09 pm

I’ve represented educators accused of wrong-doing in corporal punishment cases for almost a decade and completely agree that corporal punishment should be outlawed in schools. It is ineffective, brutish, and a big liability for the school systems that still utilize it.

mystery poster

May 21st, 2012
4:09 pm

Wow, I really expected the “phones to light up” on this one.

Howard Finkelstein

May 21st, 2012
5:34 pm

What I meant to say was….

The parent gave her permission, in writing, for paddling. This is a non-issue.

mountain man

May 21st, 2012
6:00 pm

The problem is that they took paddling out of most schools, but neglected to replace it with anything. I don’t know if paddling is “effective” or not (it certainly was effective on me), but there needs to be effective discipline in place. What punishment can you give these kids who don’t care about anything?

Just Another Teacher

May 21st, 2012
6:15 pm

@ Sensationalistic But isn’t sending a student to a private school a parental choice? Parents have the right to NOT sign a waver just as a private school has the right to NOT allow a student to enroll.

If the problem isn’t public schools, then what IS the problem, exactly?

Tired

May 21st, 2012
6:32 pm

You wouldn’t verbally abuse a student to punish him or her – why would physical force be OK?

mountain man

May 21st, 2012
6:33 pm

We don’t need no paddling – we don’t have no dissaplin problems. Beside, if we paddle, we might get shot!

Teacher

May 21st, 2012
7:27 pm

Be sure you make one important note: this kid was at a PRIVATE school, not public. If the parents have a problem with it, take the kid out of the school or don’t complain. Period.

gamom

May 21st, 2012
7:38 pm

Maureen – do you know if there are any GA lawmakers looking into abolishing this yet?

Tony

May 21st, 2012
8:03 pm

I thought private schools were so much better than public schools.

Fred ™

May 21st, 2012
8:14 pm

Maureen, I usually agree with most of what you write but not this time. like catlady said, you don’t paddle kids to teach them not to hit. That’s just an insipid, illogical statement by you. You paddle kids to punish them. Having said that, I agree with your first sentence 100%:

Given that there are far better and more effective ways to discipline students, why would schools risk lawsuits and criminal charges by striking children?

Were I a principal, teacher coach ect….. in a school that allowed paddling, I wouldn’t do it for anything just for the reasons you state above. Was paddling accepted when I went to school? Sure it was. It was also a different day and time. I remember in high school the Principal offering me three licks or three days (suspension). Easy choice. I would have to explain three days suspension for dipping (LOL I spit out the window and almost spit ON the principal) to my parents who did NOT allow me to do so but the three licks was not reported. I got off light.

But then also in those days if I had a “tobacco permit” I wouldn’t have been in the predicament to begin with. Can you imagine kids being allowed to use tobacco at school? Kids NOT 18? Like I said, different times………

Fred ™

May 21st, 2012
8:16 pm

Tony

May 21st, 2012
8:03 pm

I thought private schools were so much better than public schools.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

They are.

Bloodbike

May 21st, 2012
8:50 pm

Gave permission. Why is this news?

homeschooler

May 21st, 2012
9:13 pm

To all who are saying that the mother gave permission, she should have been okay with this…I think the point is that she was okay with her son recieving a paddling but the child had “injuries to his backside”. Now, I would never be okay with someone paddling my child but some people are fine with it. However, if that paddling crosses the line to abuse which, it sounds like this did, those same parents would (and should) be upset. I might be okay with my husband wacking my kid on the butt but if he left a bruise, I’d be ticked! There is a difference in discipline and abuse.

I can’t believe any school would still paddle. I guess I didn’t realize any still did.

Archie

May 21st, 2012
9:14 pm

@Tony: Some private schools in Georgia are run by fundamentalist Christians who believe in the literal interpretation of the old maxim “spare the rod and spoil the child.” The “rod” in the Bible referred to the shepherd’s rod which was used to beat away the wolves or get the timid sheep to cross the swift moving streams in the desert called “wadis” when moving to fresh pasture. Later, the “rod” became associated with the “rod of Moses” and referred to guiding the Israelites in the right paths with authority. The maxim seems to say in this light, “spare the AUTHORITY and spoil the child” which I can see. Authority could well entail a few trips to the “good old woodshed” but guidance entails other things besides that but it has to be “guidance with authority.”

Good Mom Monitor

May 21st, 2012
9:18 pm

Hey, Good Mother! Are you okay? I thought for sure I would see you weighing in on this issue! Got your ears on?

Dr. Proud Black Man

May 21st, 2012
9:21 pm

“They cling to their guns and religion.”

Truth in Moderation

May 22nd, 2012
12:01 am

“Paddlings are often recalled on this blog with wistfulness as if they were a vanishing Southern staple — in the tradition of pickup trucks and pickled okra. It’s time to get rid of paddling in schools. (I would also like to get rid of pickled okra but my husband loves it.)”

Maureen, there you go again with your Southern HATE SPEECH. The issue is using a limited, legally defined physical punishment (the rod) for the purpose of DISCIPLINE. And I believe most cultures use it and it is specifically ordained by our Israeli friends in THE BIBLE. The Jews pointed out that even the ROMANS (aren’t you Roman Catholic?) used it.

It has been shown historicaly that this method has merit in certain situations. ABUSE of corporal punishment is what you are really talking about. If there is a clear cut case of ABUSE, then there are legal means to deal with it. I can tell you, an eight month old that can walk and run out into the street, JUST DOESN’T GET “Time out”. THEY WOULD BE DEAD!
The truth is, a well trained child should not need the rod very often after 6 years of age. But because of ignorant articles like yours, parents are afraid/ignorant of how to correctly train children. THEY DO THEM MORE HARM! Then they get to school and are out of control. The rod or expulsion may be the only choice left. I seem to recall the public schools pushing LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE books in a big way. My favorite was FARMER BOY. I seem to recall a teacher delivering himself from a dangerous bully WITH A HORSE WHIP provided by the Wilders. I NEVER HEARD A CALL FOR THE BOOKS TO BE BANNED FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
Maureen, what is your agenda?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

May 22nd, 2012
5:16 am

Physical discipline must constitute “the last resort” in the armamentarium of acceptable disciplinary measures available to teachers and school administrators.

I wish it were not so but we must not base our efforts to establish and maintain learning-friendly school environments upon thinking of the wishful variety.

drew (former teacher)

May 22nd, 2012
6:15 am

Bloodbike says: “Gave permission. Why is this news?”

Well, it’s news simply because Maureen is on a mission to outlaw paddling in schools. At least once or twice a year she’ll trot out some paddling incident and use it to push her belief that paddling is brutish and serves no purpose other than to “teach the child to hit”. And BTW, it sounds like this kid has already been taught to hit. ;-)

Kids respond differently to various “consequences/punishment”. For some, a simple parent call or conference is enough to do the trick. For others, detention, ISS, OSS, silent lunch, etc., may improve behavior. The purpose of consequences is to improve behavior. For the vast majority of students, the consequences above will lead to better behavior. However, there are a few students who do not respond favorably to those consequences. You can hand them out until the cows come home but it doesn’t effect behavior. And as hard as it is for Maureen (and other anti-paddlers) to accept, some students might just benefit from paddling. That’s right, BENEFIT from it. The bottom line is: does it improve behavior? If it does, it’s working…if it doesn’t, it’s not working.

Maureen: Have you EVER “physically” disciplined your children? Just curious…

Beverly Fraud

May 22nd, 2012
6:50 am

But (no pun intended) I thought some children were kinesthetic learners…

God Bless the Teacher!

May 22nd, 2012
6:55 am

I saw the young man and his mother in an interview this morning. he admitted he had been “whupped” before but hadn’t told his mother about it. I wonder if mom had son in this church run school because he got into too much trouble in public school. I’ve seen that be the case in many instances. I was an administrator in a SMALL, rural, south GA district for a couple of years. The district allowed paddling “as a last resort.” However, when I tried to impliment all other viable options as part of a progressive discipline strategy I was chastised. One teacher in particular would take his students down the hallway to the middle school administrator and elt him paddle the student instead of sending the student to the high school office for discipline. Despite warnings to the teacher, the practice continued. Oh yeah, nothing could be done to the teacher because he was best friends with the BOE chairman. Go far enough OTP and you’re in a different world, trust me. Even if the law prevented paddling, I would bet money it would continue under the radar.

Rob

May 22nd, 2012
7:35 am

I was paddled in school. I deserved it. My parents however, gave the school permission to paddle me if the situation arose. I can tell you now, as a teacher, some of these student were given too many lectures and time outs as kids. They don’t care anymore. If you assign detention, they will skip it. That results in a Saturday school which they will also skip knowing full well that the next two steps are ISS or OSS which is what they want in the end.

So if you do not think corporal punishment is the answer….then what?

WAR

May 22nd, 2012
8:03 am

i like to use my family and neighbors as examples of what happens when you paddle kids. we got them and became success stories. our tree hugging liberal neighbors used time out and their kids (all three of them) never graduated from high school or college and spent alot of time in jail.

thank you parents for disciplining your children.

mystery poster

May 22nd, 2012
8:29 am

@Fred
We had a smoking lounge in my high school. Yes, kids were allowed to smoke on campus (I graduated in 1980).

Maureen Downey

May 22nd, 2012
8:39 am

@drew, Never used corporal punishment and never had it used on me. Nor did my parents have it used on them. That was probably not a philosophical decision in the case of my parents. My maternal grandmother died at age 40, leaving her husband with seven children, including my mother who was about to turn 4. My mother essentially raised herself as her father was too busy running a small grocery store. And my father’s dad ran off, leaving his wife with three young kids. My paternal grandmother worked two jobs to support her children so she was probably too tired to even raise her voice to them. No lawbreakers in either my mother’s or father’s family or in my generation or my children’s, thus far.
Maureen

Logical Dad

May 22nd, 2012
8:45 am

Those that hit kids (whether you use your cute little excuses and misquoted scripture or not) fall into one of two camps: assaultive personality disorder or sex offenders. Period. Those that defend the physcal abuse of children in the schools are defending one of those psychological types. Funny how those that say there is a difference between “beating” and “spanking” are the ones doing the hitting – not those being hit. It’s also amusing how most the beaters think that public schools (which they so cleverly refer to as “government schools”) do nothing right – except beat children, I guess. WAR, I will continue to pray for those victimized by your lack of intelligence. Maureen, you are exactly right in everything you wrote (except the pickled okra part).

A Conservative Voice

May 22nd, 2012
8:50 am

“Before he spanked me, he said, ‘I’m going to beat you until I get tired,”

Money, People, Money……..I’m sure the parents are busy talking with their lawyer(s) about filing a lawsuit, seeking monetary damages…….it ain’t that hard to understand, folks.

A Conservative Voice

May 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

@Dr. Proud Black Man

May 21st, 2012
9:21 pm

“They cling to their guns and religion.”

Who is “They”??????………

Rob

May 22nd, 2012
9:00 am

Logical Dad with an illogical statement.

Logical Dad

May 22nd, 2012
9:09 am

Well, at least we know whose side Rob is on. Thanks for standing up for who you believe in, sir.

Understanding Atlanta

May 22nd, 2012
9:18 am

This is ultimately just a difference of opinion on the issue. There are studies that show the effect of corporal punishment is good and those that show it is bad on the general well-being of the child. At the private school I went to for a few years in Atlanta is was used as a last resort and seldom used.

Rob

May 22nd, 2012
9:20 am

You can beat the straw man all you want “Logical Dad.” You are overlooking an enormous amount of complexities to push your gross generalization.

ABC

May 22nd, 2012
9:46 am

I went to a private school in a large city in South America. This particular school didn’t use physical punishment, but humiliation sure was the order of business. I remember this one teacher I had. I was in 8th grade. I used to bite my nails (and didn’t stop till about a year ago or so). She would routinely and publicly make fun of me and make comments like “your nails look like vomit” and “you are a disgusting human”. This is in front of the whole class. Did it stop me from biting my nails? Like it hell it did. What I cannot comprehend for the life of me is why I didn’t tell my parents she was doing this. I know they would have stopped it.

In a way, I would have rather taken a private paddling at the principal’s office over being humiliated for a whole year.

Old Physics Teacher

May 22nd, 2012
9:48 am

Logical Dad,

Rob’s right. “Those that hit kids (whether you use your cute little excuses and misquoted scripture or not) fall into one of two camps…” really? You define a term using your own binary definition (which is really strange on its own) and then claim both are evil. Here’s an example: You’re obviously a state legislator, right? There are only two types of people: idiots and state legislators. Idiots make illogical arguments and state legislators are extremely idiotic individuals who break people into only two groups.

Whether Rob or I agree or disagree with spanking is totally irrelevant, we’re only discussing the irony in the comparison of your screen name with your argument.

Oh and “..misquoted scripture..” the statement comes from the Book of Proverbs, 13:24, and it’s not a ‘misquote;’ it’s a paraphrase.

And yes, I know my response is pedantic, and as my wife says, “I’m talking down to you.” but this is an education blog and words have meaning, sir.

Logical Dad

May 22nd, 2012
9:49 am

No straw man here. You think it’s okay for a government employee to restrain a child and have someone hit the child with a board. I do not. Quite simple. Not complex in the least (although calling it “complex” seems to be a straw man argument). @Understanding Atlanta, I do not think you will find one non-religious based study that says beating kids in school is good. I stand to be corrected (but I doubt it).

Logical Dad

May 22nd, 2012
9:53 am

Old Physics Teacher. Sorry. You are just misinformed. To justify beating children with the scripture you referenced is absolutely a misquote. The fact that you do not know the difference speaks volumes. Don’t worry, although I am hardly an academic scholar, you could not talk down to me if you tried. Thanks for playing, though.