Corporal Punishment Flyer Upsets Some Folks
By Giovanna Drpic
News Channel 3 Memphis, TN, October 18, 2002

Memphis, TN - School teachers are being compared to porn stars and prostitutes. The comparison is in a flyer circulating within the Memphis School Board. News Channel 3's Giovanna Drpic explains.

The flyer focuses on corporal punishment, which is allowed at Memphis City Schools as outlined in their handbook. But it's a practice school board member Lora Jobe has been trying to eliminate for years. It's how she went about getting the message across at a recent board meeting that isn't sitting too well with some folks.

How would you react to this flyer? It says, "At this time in the United States, the only people who can smack someone on their buttocks as part of their paid professional duties are school teachers, prostitutes and performers in the pornography filming industry." Commissioner Lora Jobe, who opposes corporal punishment, sent it to other school board members. And at least one is offended.

Sara Lewis, a city school board member, says, "I don't think that teachers should be compared or put in the same context with prostitutes, pimps and people who deal with pornography. I'm a teacher. I resented that." Celestine Harris, a mother of four says, "With that child bent over and with that butt up in the air and that paddle - it's just got me shocked for words right now."

Jobe says, "It's clear what it means. It's not offensive to teachers." Ricky Kizer, a fifth grade teacher at Caldwell Elementary School says, "I'm offended by it because we're grouped in a category with people that are not even on the same level."

Caldwell Elementary School Principal, Dr. Lirah Sabir says the picture dehumanizes children. Dr. Sabir, who supports corporal punishment explains, "Those of us that believe in corporal punishment don't believe in dehumanizing children." And that's the point, according to Jobe, who was visibly upset. Jobe says, "It is demeaning and degrading. That's why the image is demeaning and degrading. The truth hurts."

Dr. Sabir says corporal punishment is used as a last resort at Caldwell Elementary School. As it stands right now, parents can give written notice they don't want their child to be paddled. But ultimately, the decision rests with the school.


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