Corporal Punishment in Schools

When was the last time you heard about corporal punishment in schools? A lot of people still think this physical punishment does not exist in schools, but it does remain common in a variety of schools throughout the United States. However, many states and districts have guidelines of how a student can be paddled. For example, at the beginning of a school year parents will be sent a letter where they can opt-out from their child being paddled. Do you think this should be legalized back into the school system without a voice? Before answering this question, let’s look at this in a logical manner.

Student Discipline

According to most surveys, American people are split right down the middle with believing that corporal punishment should be legal or illegal. Many people believe that this leads to violence or abuse, but there is no true factual evidence that this is the case in a lot of students. You will see in studies that it “may” lead to violence or it “can” lead to abuse. Yes, of course, these situations happen, but it is rare. Plus, you may hear parents complain not understanding what corporal punishment is and they will say that they don’t want anyone hitting their kid. What many people do not understand is that there is a threat of being spanked, not the fact that you will be spanked.

Consequently, there are a lot of variables that need to be addressed. Students actually appreciate being disciplined in a way that will keep them out of trouble. Detentions, time outs, and referrals are all extreme failures. Look at our society today – gang violence, bullying in schools, gun shootings, scared teachers and students. What was the percentage of all of these when physical punishment was legal? Follow these scenarios:

An 8th grade bully trips an overweight girl who is shy. A principal sees this and reprimands the bully and gives him a referral for a 7-day suspension. The principal calls the parents at home and lets the parents know. The bully’s parents talk to their child and let their child know that was inappropriate and say they will take his cell phone away for a week. The girl who is now embarrassed and upset says nothing. In 7 days, the bully returns, waits a week and does it again to the same girl in front of his friends and they all laugh. The bully gets relatively the same punishment, the friends get nothing. The girl who is now more upset and more embarrassed finds her dad’s gun. Upon seeing this bully again, the girl takes out the gun and shoots the bully, his friends, and then herself. Now, you have a few dead kids simply because there was no real discipline.

Same scenario, but spanking is legal. The principal gives 2 licks to the bully (assuming it was legal since elementary school) to inflict pain enough to make it unlikely for the bully to do it again and makes the bully apologize to the girl. An apology will go a long way. The girl is still upset, but since the bully got slightly whipped a few times and the girl was apologized to, it is doubtful she will seek revenge. As a result, no one is dead. Plus, the bully returns to class and doesn’t miss out on his education.

Creating the Best Solution

Also, as one gets older, there will be respect for authority. Bullying in schools will decrease, school shootings will decrease, and suicidal attempts will decrease. That is, if schools create certain guidelines on how a student shall be punished and maybe even have a parent present. This may not be the best solution, but it may be the solution for now. However, I do believe one solution to be better, but schools rarely incorporate it – doing team building activities on a daily basis where everyone will eventually solve a problem as a team and communicate effectiveness. This helps because students will get to know each other and judge less of one another.