Saturday, December 13, 2003

Paddling in Schools

I've grown up in a state where corporal punishment has always been allowed in the school districts. I didn't give this much thought until recently because even though it was allowed it wasn't often used except as a last resort in my experience. You had to do something really bad in order to be hit with a paddle.

Last year Zach was in kindergarten he often received paddlings at least 3 times a month and sometimes as often as 2 times in the same week. The paddlings were administered with a board either by his teacher or by the principal. The child had more paddlings during that first semester than all three of my kids had received in their combined years in school! The reasons for the paddlings ranged from missing the toilet during one of their thrice a day bathroom breaks to talking in class after being warned verbally and missing a recess once. (the second occurrence resulted in the paddling).

I called the school when I felt that this was becoming a problem and was told that if we signed a form requesting that he not be paddled, he would have to be picked up from school and would receive a 3 day suspension. After 12 missed days in a semester the student automatically fails. Typically, this would not be a problem, but I felt like this teacher had a dislike of children and was resorting to the paddle much too often. As it was, if he accidently missed the toilet (imagine a little boy who's only allowed to pee 3 times a day being in a hurry to unzip and aim), or did anything against their rules (there are no listed rules), just one rule broken per month could result in a child's failure of the entire school year.

I met with the teacher and principal at one point and just told them straight up.
I didn't approve of spankings except in the most dire cases and I definitely didn't approve of spankings with a board and the main reason I felt this way was because I loved him and they did not.

I also told them they paddled him once for wrestling with one of his classmates because they felt like this was violent play (he also was paddled once for pointing his finger during play and saying pow!) I asked them just how a paddling was deterring violence in these cases. When the principal became indigent and informed me that they did not use violence when they paddled a student, I replied with, "Bullshit"!

I ended the meeting by telling them that there wasn't much I could do at the time about their policies, BUT, I warned them, you'd better think long and hard about the necessity of a paddling before you do it again and you WILL call me and discuss the need for the paddling before you admininster it.

It seems that he was a reformed child during his second semester of kindergarten, really amazing huh?

Zach came home with a punishment form on Thursday. He'd been paddled for saying a curse word. I believe he said ass, of course the note did not relate to me what the word was, but after questioning Zach I guessed it. He also related to me that his buddy told the teacher that he said it. I told him that it might be a good idea to find a new buddy and it would be an excellent idea if he would not swear!

I do hope that I don't have to go back up to that school.

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