Support for SBE Opposing Corporal Punishment

This letter is in support of the State Board of Education passing a resolution opposing the use of corporal punishment in public schools.

As a staunch supporter of both school systems and a student and their family’s right to opt out of corporal punishment, corporal punishment as an option carries with its administration, tremendous risk on behalf of all involved. It may feel like an ally when confronted by an unruly student, but in the end, the risks involved far outweigh the legal right to act.

The role physical force play in a classroom is a bit of a quandary for many. Debated does it bring about corrective behavior, or does it exacerbate deeper issues a child face that is unspoken and unknown? Historically, moms and dads have exercised their right to use corporal punishment as a tool to build character, respect for elders and others in authority.

As a former teacher in an inner-city school in Philadelphia, a consistent message to an inconsistent child is in harmony with a work written long ago, Jeremiah 1:5. In this historical document, the writer Jeremiah defines the value of every child and gives hope to every life when there seems to be chaos and disorder.

Yes. The stress in the classroom was overwhelming at times. When all else failed, policy pointed me to the principal’s office and from there into the hands of parental discipline. This answer seems too simple I know … times have really changed; it was much more complex.

Be reminded corporal punishment is a form of discipline. It is not the only method that systems have within their cadre of choices. There are forms of discipline that invites a child into a conversation about his or her actions.  In recognizing this, the need to swaddle, paddle or inflict physical harm is less an option to be considered. For sure, there are a number of kids who need discipline beyond a stern conversation. It is here we rely on capable policy makers to adhere to principles of child behavior and development in a classroom setting, to set the legal standard for school discipline separate and apart from corporal punishment.

In closing, modern-day thought and principles of child rearing bars the intellect from this method of school discipline. Moms and dads may still choose to reprimand using corporal punishment at home but dare not to give this option to a stranger.  Banning the practice? Yes it’s time.