Jimmy Dunne's Letter to the Houston Chronicle, August 18, 1998

Dear Houston Chronicle Viewpoints:

Elbert R. Ogilvie's "Paddle's thwack the answer to school troubles" starts out by telling us that this is the 12th anniversary of the abolition of corporal punishment in Texas schools. Nothing could be further from the truth. The full Texas Legislature has never even had a vote to abolish school paddling though several committees wrestled with the subject.

Texas has always paddled more children than any other state though the numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years. Twenty-seven more civilized states have banned the barbaric and brutal practice.

Educators have come to learn that hitting children with boards is child abuse. Researchers have also found that corporal punishment is counterproductive. Schools with paddling have higher dropout rates, lower test scores, and more pupil violence, truancy and vandalism.

Recently researchers lead by Dr. Murray Straus, co-director of the UNH Family Research Laborataory at the University of New Hampshire found that children who aren't spanked are smarter. Parents who don't believe in spanking tend to be more verbal and try to get their children to understand and reason when making behavorial choices. These parent-child interactions improve the child's cognitive abilities.

Schools and parents need to teach children that we can resolve our problems without violence. Paddling and spanking teach them that hitting is a way to solve problems. This can lead to child abuse and more violence in our society.

As role models, when we cuss, children learn to cuss, when we hit children learn to hit. A child raised without hitting or spanking is more likely to be a non-violent adult. This should be our goal, a less violent society. A society that resolves problems with discussion, negotiation and reasoning will be a big improvement over a society that resolves problems with fists and bullets.

Jimmy Dunne, President,
People Opposed to Paddling Students or POPS,
12651 Briar Forest, Suite 153,
Houston, TX 77077

Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents