The debate over paddling in Memphis city schools is capturing national attention.
Alvin Poussaint, a board member of anti-paddling group EPOCH-USA, has rallied the support of top black leaders in a call against corporal punishment in Memphis schools and others nationwide.
In a press release sent to city school board members Tuesday, Poussaint called Memphis data that showed black males are disproportionately paddled "outrageous."
"We feel [corporal punishment] is archaic and turns many of them against school... It's important for the black community to realize that the leaders they respect so much are on the record against corporal punishment in schools. "
Alvin Poussaint, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard
See Dr. Poussaint's Press Release of October 13, 2004: African American Leaders call on the Memphis School Board to ban paddling (Adobe PDF Reader required for viewing)
"We feel this is archaic and turns many of them against school," said Poussaint, who is also a psychiatry professor at Harvard University.
"It's important for the black community to realize that the leaders they respect so much are on the record against corporal punishment in schools."
Poussaint has rallied prominent black activists to support a ban of paddling in schools, including Julian Bond, chairman of the board of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the NAACP, Marc Morial, president/CEO of the Urban League and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
"Board members are really going to have to rethink their position in light of highly respected, intelligent people urging us to make a change," said school board member Lora Jobe, who is leading the local push to ban corporal punishment.
"People like Julian Bond coming forward saying end corporal punishment, that's powerful. This is more than some little local person coming up with a bright idea."
Jobe is resurrecting a plan to abolish school paddling despite a recent survey of 1,006 Memphis parents that found 70 percent support corporal punishment.
The city school board meets Monday to discuss paddling.
-- Ruma Banerji Kumar: 529-2596
Spanking Strikes Out , By Dr. Alvin Poussaint
Then How Do I Discipline? By Dr. Alvin Poussaint
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