Writing as corporal punishment

I will not make students write the same sentence repeatedly.
I will not make students write the same sentence repeatedly.
Requiring misbehaving students to write sentences is corporal punishment, according to a Philadelphia-area school appropriately named Cramp Elementary.

The clash between using stern, “old-school” methods, which (Fred) Creel employed for seven years as disciplinarian, and teaching students to adopt “self-discipline,” favored by principal Adrienne Carpenter, came to a head yesterday at a raucous meeting of more than 60 parents.

Many parents demanded the return of Creel, who was transferred out of his post to a teaching position at Cramp in October after parents complained he made disruptive students write sentences such as “I will not hit or head-butt someone” 100 times.

Officials at Cramp, a 900-student kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school, decided the writing assignments were a form of corporal punishment, and corporal punishment is prohibited by the district.

Creel – who has worked 27 years at Cramp – also was accused of grabbing students and calling them names.

Yesterday, Creel said, “Never in my life have I gone after a child to hurt a child.” He said he did restrain children when they were fighting. And he said he never called children names, but told them: “We have no animals in school. Animals throw food. Animals spit food. Animals play with food. Animals open their mouths and show people what they’re eating.”

Parents complained student behavior has gone downhill since Creel was removed as assistant principal.

At several points, the meeting became a shouting match with lots of participants. Creel waded into the fray and quieted the crowd, using the same tactic that he uses with children: “One, hands up. Two, mouths closed.”

Even Bart Simpson has to write lines at school.

About Joanne


  1. Independent George says:

    Where are the unions when you need them?

  2. Typically the administrators belong to a different union than the teachers do.

    Self-discipline in a seven year old is limited at best … what was she thinking? I think she sould be required to write on the board 500 times: What was I thinking?

  3. Laura (southernxyl) says:

    “Corporal” probably literally means something like “on the body”, right? Spanking is corporal punishment.

    I’ve used writeoffs with my daughter, with great success. They’re good for when you want the child to internalize some behavioral requirement that really doesn’t rise to the level of spanking or other punishment.

    And yes, by the time a kid is a teenager he should be self-disciplined. The trick is, when they’re little the adults do the disciplining, and it gets transferred over as the kid develops the maturity and experience to take it on. A seven-year-old simply can’t be self-disciplined in the way a seventeen-year-old can.

  4. ‘”He has the expertise and interventions that children need when they find themselves in altercations, arguments,” she said. “He also has the interpersonal skills to deal with parents.”

    The school continues to support sending disruptive children to a time-out room if needed and will suspend students for serious infractions, she said.’

    I’m a funny person, I suppose, as I find time-outs to be a more severe punishment for an elementary school student than repetitive writing. For one thing, time-outs are a form of shunning. They are also associated with younger children (in my household). To send a child to a time-out room, to me, sounds like a public shaming. I asked my six-year old for his opinion, and he said that he would rather write a sentence 100 times over than be sent for a time out.

    Could it be that the school has trouble dealing with certain parents? The sort of parents who would object to any attempt to discipline their little darlings?

  5. Charlie (Colorado) says:

    The name of the school that won’t do repeated sentences is Cramp?

  6. Charlie,

    Remove one letter from “Cramp,” and … expect to write lots of sentences.

    Students who live in societies which speak languages without overt, obligatory pronoun marking or verb inflection get off a little easier because they have less to write per sentence: “Not mock school … Not mock school …” Then again, maybe those kids have to write MORE sentences to make up for their languages’ brevity.

  7. Ramp, Camp, Cram … after that I lost your train of thought!!

  8. Oh shoot .. after I said I lost my train of thought, I wanted to say … Oh crap!!!

  9. Amritas, it’s interesting that “cramp” is a word with four consonants, each of which can be removed to make another word (without rearranging any letters).

    Your challenge is to find as many 4-consonant 5-letter words which display this behavior. (It is kinda hard: Brash makes two words, Slush only makes one word, and Fling makes none.)

  10. PJ/Maryland says:

    Chett, actually, “brash” makes 3 words: bras, bash, and rash.

    Thinking about your challenge, I came up with “prods”: prod, pros, pods, rods; you also get three 3 letter words: pro, pod, rod. But maybe words ending in S shouldn’t be allowed, since you just end up playing with plurals.

    When you have more than one vowel, it gets more complicated; in theory you could get five 4 letter words. “Bread” gives four 4 letter words: brad, bred, bead, and read. The fifth 4 letter word is “brea”, which I think means “tar” in Spanish (as in the La Brea tar pits). So maybe I can count four-and-a-half 4 letter words from “Bread”?

  11. Speaking as the most frothy-mouthed, rabid opponent of corporal punishment I know or have ever met anywhere but the Internet… writing sentences is NOT corporal punishment. Writing sentences has not a single solitary thing to do with submitting to a painful violent attack by an authority figure. Christ.

  12. braincandy says:

    Corporal punishment is when you are in the third grade and end up in the principals office and bend over and are struck three times by an 18 inch paddle, thank you Mr. Glover.I learned so much from the pain. Corporal punishment is when you are asked to extend your hands out and you sweet kind teacher strikes with all her force on your knuckles.Thank you Mrs. Anderson I learned so much from the pain. Corporal punishment is when in the third grade your teacher fills your mouth with soap and forces water in your mouth until you nearly chock. Yes, I am faily old now but the 70’s do not seem to long ago. Now I protect my child “at all costs” no matter who the authority figure is. Teachers should never be allowed to make up thier own rules, policy, practice or procedures as they go along. El Paso Independant School District does just that and I have to always be on the look out for anal cavities in authority. If it can happen to me, anyone is fair game. My daughter is in the Third grade now and she was recently sent home with homework. She had to write, I will not forget my homework 100 times. Gee! thats so intelligent and educational….ya, right. El Paso has a long way to go. First they have to educat thier idot teachers then maybe they can come back and educate our children. It has not educational value what so ever. Ya, I wrote a small note as a warning, next in person then…in court. I am a US citizen, tax payer and a voter. I will not have my taxes go to waste. I buy school materials because the city, can’t afford it. It’s a waste. My kids time is wasted with such trash for homework.

  13. Thanks for all of the help on writing lines. I had an arguement with a teacher becuase she made the class write lines for punishment. But, I managed to gather up enough evidence, thanks to this site, to where nobody in my school district will ever have to write lines again