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Corporal Punishment in the Twenty-First Century

It’s not often any more that my mind gets blown.  I can usually keep my grey matter intact.  But I have to admit I was completely unaware that any schools in this country were still punishing children with physical violence.  According to a recent New York Times article, corporal punishment is still occurring in 20 states.  In the United States.  Of America.  Did you know this was happening?!

The article highlights a particular case in Texas, where a boy was bruised so badly after being hit with a wooden paddle that his mom felt it necessary to take him to the hospital. 

From the article – “Texas schools, [his mother] fumed, appear to have free rein in disciplining a student, ‘as long as you don’t kill him.’

‘If I did that to my son,’ she said, ‘I’d go to jail.’”

It’s true.  If I beat my child to the point of bruising, I could lose custody, and rightfully so.  One case the article cited left a student with a broken jaw.  There is no way that inflicting that kind of pain can teach a child better behavior.  It can teach them to fear adults.  It can teach them to abuse others.  It might cause them to stop certain bad behaviors out of fear.  But I cannot believe that it will teach them to be better people, to be stronger, more honorable, or more kind.

The Center for Effective Discipline is a group that gathers data on the use of corporal punishment, educates homes and schools on alternative forms of discipline, and works to stop children being hit in schools.  According to their website, hundreds of thousands of kids are disciplined physically at school each year.

For example, in Alabama in the 2005-2006 school year more than 4% of students statewide were hit at school.  Teachers, administrators, and students in some states that still discipline this way are adamant supporters of corporal punishment and actively fight against those who are working to end the practice.

Follow this link to find out if your state still allows corporal punishment in schools.  What do you think?  Is there still a place for this type of discipline?

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler, and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, and occasionally the gym.