[Eady] Our Students Deserve Better | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Eady] Our Students Deserve Better

Three young boys waited on a wooden bench in a brown-paneled office on the hot May day. Anton stretched his legs out and slouched back, his face blank and eyes flashing with anger. Next to him sat Reggie, whose brown eyes darted around the room nervously. He was not a student I usually saw in the office. The third boy, Derek, was crying. He was hunched forward with his head in his hands, and I could see the tears hitting the floor. I wanted to go over and talk to him, but I was new and didn't want to be seen coddling the kids in the office.

The teacher came out of the assistant principal's office with a wooden paddle in her hand. She was sweating and out of breath.

"Let's go. Let's get this over with," she said pointing at Anton. He got up and followed her, strutting.

"Thwack, thwack, thwack."

The sound vibrated off the walls, and I became nauseous. Anton sauntered out of the office. Reggie got up and went in. I could hear soft murmuring from behind the door, then the sound again.

"Thwack, thwack, thwack."

With each strike, my stomach jumped. I wasn't emotionally prepared for this.

Derek was more upset now. He kept rubbing his face and running his hands over his black curly hair. Then Reggie came out of the office crying, the teacher followed him, still holding the paddle. She pointed at Derek and said: "Let's go. Your turn."

"No, please. No," Derek cried.

The teacher came toward him, and the assistant principal followed her out. They each took one of Derek's hands and half carried, half dragged him into the office. He screamed and pleaded the entire 15 feet from the bench to the door. The assistant principal shut the door, and from inside I could hear Derek's pleading continue.

"Please. Don't give me licks. I won't do it again. I'm sorry. Please no," Derek said.

Soft murmuring followed, and then the "thwack, thwack, thwack" again.

I was sick to my stomach. Never in my 10-year career in public schools had I witnessed a paddling. Not even in inner-city Baltimore.

I was angry for the students, and as a mother I was outraged. I never got used to hearing that sound. Not that day, and not on the spring day when the two male assistant principals took to giving "licks" in the hallway. Four times during first period, and then four more times during second period, they disrupted my class with the paddling. I thought the school administration had lost their minds. Later, the principal told me that she had sent out the two men to "tighten up a little" and get the students under control.

No one was under control that day. The random widespread paddling only amped up the agitation at school.

Mississippi has the highest rate of corporal punishment in the United States, and its use of corporal punishment is inconsistent and unfair. African American boys in Mississippi are punished 1.7 times more than would be expected based on their population. Yet there is no research that shows that African American boys are 1.7 times more likely to misbehave in school. Corporal punishment is not allowed in the prison system, yet it is an acceptable way to discipline students in 23 states.

Corporal punishment has no place in our schools. There is no research that proves it is effective at preventing misbehavior in students. In fact, eight of the states that have the highest corporal punishment rates are ranked among the top 10 states with the highest incarceration rates.

And its use is arbitrary. Some schools paddle students for leaving homework at home, while others reserve it for fights.

It escapes my comprehension that schools adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying but don't hesitate to hit a child on the buttocks with a wooden board. Violence of any kind should not be tolerated. By allowing students to be paddled in school, we are sending them a message that violence is OK as long as someone in authority is doing it. It is an archaic and lazy way of handling discipline issues.

School systems all over the country find ways of disciplining without violence. Research-based systems of positive intervention and behavior management are proven and effective. From New York to San Diego, these techniques are implemented with success.

Our students in Mississippi deserve the same treatment. Students in Mississippi deserve an education free of violence.

Previous Comments

ID
156541
Comment

Just wanted to get and opinion out there, coming from a man who was a handful to say the least, as a boy and young man (handful is putting in nicely). I endured several spankings as a child at school and home, at the time I thought it was senseless as a child to be spanked. I enjoyed when I could cry and pitch a fit and when I got my way I would be grounded or suspended from school, which was exactly what I was after. I could plead my case with the best of them. As a grown man, a succesful father and husband I would like to take this time to thank my parents, grandparents, teachers, and church parents (anyone who helped discipline me as a wild boy and unruly teenager) thank you for not giving up on me and spanking me with a paddle, belt, hand or whatever you may have found, I am truely a better man now for the love I was wraped in back then. Also the the parents and teachers etc. who are out there helping to raise, teach, and make our children into smart responcible adults who realize that life is hard and there are no free rides, that when you mess up (even if you don't get caught) there are penalties we have to face, thank you very much for the time and effort you put into our children, I know you do not enjoy punishing children with a paddle, but in my opinion some children don't respond to 'timeouts' I know I did not, I also know I didn't want a spanking.

Author
jjoutraged
Date
2010-03-05T10:00:47-06:00
ID
156606
Comment

I still cannot believe that corporal punishment is legal in any school system in the United States. As you say, it teaches young people that "violence is OK as long as someone in authority is doing it." When they're big enough to beat up someone smaller, chances are that they will. Or they'll kick the dog. Corporal punishment also encourages adults to wield their physical power just because they can. I agree that it's lazy and doesn't require any thought. Why not come up with a solution customized for that particular situation, a way for the child to right the wrong? A friend of mine did one year of Teach for America in the Delta and left before her second year specifically because she couldn't stand to see kids suffer paddlings at the hands of their school administrators. As a state, we're not only losing young talent because of corporal punishment, but we're also losing others' respect.

Author
melia.dicker
Date
2010-03-08T17:47:26-06:00
ID
156612
Comment

Corporal punishment? Wow what a big, educated, nasty word we are throwing around to get attention. Children need to know there is punishment when they do wrong. I'm not going to state any ignorant thrown in the air number because this is my opinion, I have met inmates, who say they don't want out of prison because they get 3 meals a day, cable t.v. and life isn't that bad once you get in the swing of things, in other words they get every thing they need and then some and don't have to work for it at all. So if they went to prison for drug problems or stealing a car or even worse and they get out do you think they have been rehibilitated? My point is if a child gets in trouble for spitting at a teacher, cursing, fighting, or even worse and he gets sent home from school (where he doesn't want to be anyway) and goes home to his playstation 3, unlimited television, (exactly where he wants to be) then what is going to keep him from acting up again. Taking things away from young children, or grounding in my opinion does not work. Sure some teachers may be going to far but thats where we have to step in. I can say that it is much harder to take your own child and spank him or her than it is to put them in a chair in there room for 20 minutes in the corner. Young children have no limits they are ruled by their nature by our nature to sin, to push the limits, to learn right from wrong, and we have to teach them and sure it hurts sometimes (us more than them I can assure you of that). But with no punishment comes no boundries. When a child is about to throw a rock at a car, spit on someone, put gum in anothers hair etc. and he is not afraid of what if I get cought then he won't hesitate.

Author
jjoutraged
Date
2010-03-09T05:51:52-06:00
ID
156650
Comment

@JJ No corporal punishment in schools is not the same thing as no consequences for misbehavior. I don't believe that is what the author is advocating. Personally, I have used spanking as discipline to good effect on my own children. But I don't believe there is only one way to raise children. A paddling at school is not going to stop the crime problem. We have had paddling in schools for years and we have always had crime. Without positive reinforcement and parental involvement a paddling at school is completely useless. I have found that once kids reach a certain age losing privileges, e.g. prohibiting access to their electronic gadgets or grounding from some activity, is far more effective than spanking. I have actually had my son ask me to spank him instead of losing his xbox for some amount of time. We, as parents and the larger society, have to be more creative in our approach to teaching our children respect for the rules and that there are unpleasant consequences for their actions when they misbehave. But I think positive reinforcement when they do well is more important because it shows that you care and are paying attention. That's all most kids want is attention from those that they care about. More partnership between teachers, school administrators and parents is the only thing that will help a discipline problem in school. In my house, misbehavior at school has consequences at home.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-03-10T12:53:30-06:00
ID
156671
Comment

to melia

Author
jjoutraged
Date
2010-03-10T16:53:57-06:00
ID
157501
Comment

Ms. Eady, thank you for sharing your views concerning corporal punishment, as well as your outrage. Yes, MS students deserve better. All students do. There is no logic to corporal punishment. Isn't a little like saying, "I will teach you not to hit by hitting you"? Regardless, be prepared for the argument from the "other side", always based on two assertions. (1) The bible says hit kids, and (2) I was hit as a child and I turned out okay.

Author
Barbara Neff
Date
2010-04-28T23:29:16-06:00
ID
167854
Comment

See the Ugly truth about School Corporal Punishment, shocking injuries to students Kindergarten through Twelfth grade at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vt4v7KsFi8 School employees are Immune from criminal/civil charges leaving no legal remedy! Some State Laws, including Florida and Tennessee, do Not require parental consent or notification to inflict Pain as Punishment in school, yet it is Illegal in Schools in Nashville and 31 U.S. States! Spanking can be sexual abuse http://nospank.net/101.htm. Watch short YouTube Video of Montel Williams, 2007 Supreme Court of The United States complicit in child abuse/beatings of minor schoolchildren no legal remedy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu20PSLcJIw U.S. Organizations Opposed to Corporal Punishment in Schools http://www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=usorgs School Spanking, known as Corporal Punishment, is discriminatorily applied to boys, minority, disabled and low-income students. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/08/11/impairing-education-0 US Politicization of Childrens Rights by predominantly southern "Bible Belt" states inflicting Corporal Punishment on students in Public Schools setting students up to become future abusers and victims of domestic violence along with a host of other costly societal ills. Church and State co exist in US Public Schools, Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child! 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

Author
KidsRpeople2
Date
2012-05-31T08:54:48-06:00

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