Texas is one of only 20 states that still permits corporal punishment. The main reason for its standing as primary paddler is, of course, its size. In terms of spankings-per-student, Texas ranks only 8th, behind Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Georgia. (Basically, the SEC, with the exception of Oklahoma.)But that’s still 49,157 instances of paddling reported during the course of the 2006-07 school year — just under 300 per school day. Of those cases, 10,222 blows were administered to students with disabilities.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Paddling Preferable to Juvenile Justice System?
Whether to paddle kids is an intensely personal family decision, but as long as it's done formalistically, not in anger, and with parents' permission, I don't have great concern to learn from the Austin Statesman that:
300 kids per day statewide doesn't seem like an intolerable level given the number of students in Texas schools. It happened to me a time or three over the years, or maybe even a few more, if you were to really pin me down (or secure a copy of my much-threatened "permanent record"). In retrospect, I'm none the worse for wear. Most of it in my case was done by coaches, not principals, FWIW.
I've never seen anybody get hit with a shaved baseball bat as was alleged at the end of the story. For me, this description was more familiar: "The paddle used to hit children is typically around 15 inches long, between two and four inches wide, and one-half inch thick, with a six-inch handle at one end." Yup, I thought, that's the one. :) Some paddlers in my day would have you sign the beast as a trophy afterward.
The best part of the punishment compared to using police and the courts is that once it was done it was done: Paddling was quick, certain, but also contained an immediate opportunity for redemption afterward. As far as I recall, I left school on pretty good terms with every teacher, coach or principal who ever laid wood to my behind. Nobody held a grudge.
By contrast, today behaviors for which I received swats on the playground - from schoolyard fights to carving graffiti into a tree with a pocket knife - frequently land a kid in juvenile hall awaiting a court date, probation, or worse. Which is preferable?
If it makes you feel better, think of it as an "alternative to incarceration."