Return of the paddle

Twiggs County in central Georgia will let principals paddle misbehaving students, with their parents’ permission.

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Comments

  1. Catch Thirty-Three says:

    My opinion? Nobody but the parent should use the paddle. Teachers and principals are, in the grand scheme of things, no closer than strangers.

    I didn’t dare give my teachers a hard time because I knew that to do so put me at great risk for an unpleasant encounter with a belt. (Which gets me to thinking: instead of outsourcing parental duties to others, maybe the parents should actually be disciplining their children. But, that’s just me.)

  2. Any teacher who needs to resort to that is incompetent, and really ought to be executed.

  3. I’d think just giving teachers the authority to have chronically disruptive students removed from their classroom would suffice.

    And I’m willing to bet that a lot of the parents who would sign the form consenting to paddling will be the ones who have children who don’t act up in class.

  4. I teach students who have come from other countries, and they have told me on numerous occasions that back home they didn’t dare misbehave because their teachers would beat them.

    They suggest that teachers here in Canada should be able to beat the students when they misbehave. They even suggest that I beat students who misbehave. They believe that beating a student is an effective classroom management strategy.

    I’m always shocked by that for a number of reasons. It’s sad to think that some students think that using violence is a good classroom management strategy, and it’s sad to think that they believe that being violent is the best strategy to solve problems.

    I fear if using violence is sanctioned by schools many students will believe that using violence is the best way to solve problems and grow up to be adults who believe that using violence is the best way to solve problems.

    Why am I concerned about this? Just look at the nightly news and see all the violence in homes, in the streets, in the countries and in the world. In the grand scheme of things, violence does not stop inappropriate behaviour. It fuels it.

  5. Margo/Mom says:

    Elona–thank you!

  6. Elona,

    Your analogy with the nightly news doesn’t make sense. What you see on the news is not related to authority figures using physical punishment but rather bullies acting inappropriately. One could even argue that if the punishment for violent crimes were more severe, we would have fewer violent crimes.

    What is being suggested is to allow an authority figure to use a punishment that your own students have said is effective. Now, if you don’t believe that those ends justify the means, that’s fair. Personally, I don’t consider a student who is paddled to be a victim of a violent act — the student has choices about how he behaves, so avoiding those consequences is entirely in his own hands. Of course, there had better be very clear rules about what actions can earn such a punishment.

  7. Oh Elona, don’t you think it’s arrogant to assume that your cultural norms ought to be imposed on those from a different background?

    After all, aren’t all cultures equal? And isn’t your judgmentalism, in refusing to respect difference between people damaging to the self-esteem of the students from these other cultures?

    Imagine the scene when one these tykes comes home to announce that their cultural heritage is inferior to that which you seek to impose upon them. I would’ve thought the Mark Steyn persecution would’ve served as a warning to all you cultural imperialists but it appears not.

    Well, let the gears of justice turn! Oh Canada!

  8. What do you want to bet that the color of the skin on the bad side of the paddle will tend to be black or brown more often than not?

    Silly me…

  9. Ragnarok says:

    “I fear if using violence is sanctioned by schools many students will believe that using violence is the best way to solve problems…”

    Bunk!

    And what would you say to those schools that have caned students for lo! these many years? Any evidence to indicate that those students grew up to be violent adults?

    My old school practised caning, usually by the Head. It also practised rigorous academics. Every single one of the students went to college, disruption in the classrooms was minimal, complaints by parents were minimal, and many of the students would admit privately that they deserved it.

    What incredible arrogance!

  10. Ragnarok says:

    “What do you want to bet that the color of the skin on the bad side of the paddle will tend to be black or brown more often than not?”

    The implication being, undeservedly?

  11. Just look at the nightly news and see all the violence in homes, in the streets, in the countries and in the world. In the grand scheme of things, violence does not stop inappropriate behaviour. It fuels it.

    So by this logic, those countries that ban corporate discipline at schools should see a fall in violence in general society outside school. Do we see this happening?

  12. Catch Thirty-Three says:

    Elona, and Margo/Mom, I suggest you both read a great book by Robert Heinlein called “Starship Troopers”, just to read the part that follows when a student gets up in her History and Moral Philosophy class and actually says that “violence does not solve anything.”

    You see, violence WORKS. Violence solves LOTS and LOTS of problems.

    How do you think Canada, or the United States, came into being? Hugs? Did Lord North, King George III, and Ben Franklin join in a group hug to consecrate the United States? Did Hitler stop his tyranny because we asked him to be nice? Did the Japanese reconsider militarism because we dropped flowers on Tokyo?

    Did the Soviets keep out of Western Europe all those decades because of the kindness of their hearts? Or was it because they knew that if they forcibly entered, they would have a body count that would extend into the hundreds of millions?

    Now, you notice that I frown upon paddling by teachers. This is because ultimately that is something best left to the parents. If the PARENTS actually took the time to discipline their children, the teachers would have nothing to worry about.

  13. It should be noted that Starship Troopers is a piece of fiction. It’s definitely a great read and yes, Heinlein does go on about corporal punishment but in no way does he make a reasonable and well-supported case for it. That’s why it’s a great read. It’s not filled with the footnotes and citations a real arguments requires. What a horrible read if it had been.

    Paddling isn’t a foundational fix. It’s one of those patches stuck on to a problem (like more money) to create the impression that something’s being done. My suspicion is that it will be used like spanking. Able administrators will use it sparingly, if at all, and administrators with less training or a lack of skills will use it as a substitute for real discipline and use it a lot more often.

  14. Catch Thirty-Three says:

    Well, I was citing “Starship Troopers” to make a case for the uses of violence because a silly idealist was whining that teaching students that violence is the best way to solve problems was just so horrible. Violence does in fact work and is very effective in solving many many problems.

    “and administrators with less training or a lack of skills will use it as a substitute for real discipline and use it a lot more often” This reminds me of a hate-filled middle school principal I had, who couldn’t go three sentences without threatening to beat students. I say hate-filled because he, like some (but certainly not all) of the teachers at that middle school convinced me that they hated the students. (I personally have always wondered if paddling students did…something for him. I know of at least two cases he tried it without permission, which is probably why he wasn’t there the year after I left.) People like that are another reason why I would not allow paddling in schools.

    If anyone gave me the form to grant them permission to paddle my kid(s), I would go to the school and tear up the form in their faces.

  15. Violence solves problems when you’re dealing with someone who is either unwilling or incapable of honest dialogue. To assume you can be “diplomatic” with a tyrant or a child is the height of ignorance.

    I tend to agree with the previous post: I don’t want my kids’ schools to paddle them but I have an obligation at home to use measured physical discipline when necessary.

  16. Since someone already brought up Heinlein, we might note here that his response to “violence never settles anything” was to wonder what the city fathers of Carthage would have to say about such a sentiment and note that violence has settled more issues throughout history than just about any other means.

    Violence is a luxury that highly civilized cultures aspire to do without. Unfortunately, this aspiration itself seems to lower the level of such cultures and thereby re-introduce violence (see the levels of violence in New York versus London). It seems that there might be, when it comes to real flesh and blood human beings, a lower limit to violence. Try to go below that limit (by reducing socially sanctioned violence, such as punishment for criminals and discipline for children) and the rougher elements of your society act up and thereby heighten the levels of violence.

    If you think about it, there is a feedback loop there that seems just about inevitable, at least with the current evolution of humanity.

  17. Catch Thirty-Three says:

    Rob – You ruined it for me! I wanted people to go read the book and find that portion out for themselves!!! 🙂