We need violence out of education. If we have learned nothing from the Columbine, CO incident, it is doomed to repeat itself. If the teachers and guardians of children can not premeditatively demonstrate and model an ability to effectively solve problems without resorting to violence, how can we expect our children to learn different tools than the reliance on violence. Spanking (hitting with the open hand), paddling (hitting with an object) and corporal punishment (hitting with intent to hurt another) for any reason only disavows the use of constructive non-violent means of resolving conflicts and resolving differences of opinion. Instead we need to demonstrate the trust and respect we wish others to learn. Those who are hit, learn to hit. Those who are listened to, learn to listen.
A husband no longer has a right to physically "chastise an errant wife". Members of the military and incarcerated felons may no longer be punished by flogging. The elderly and the mentally ill are protected from physical maltreatment. Animal trainers aren't permitted to use cruel methods. Yet in the schools of 22 states of the U.S. (including Union County schools), between 1/3 and 1/2 million beatings of children, ususally with a large wooden boards, occur every year, often resulting in injuries of bruising, breaking of skin, torn muscles, scarring. Among other effects are depression, school phobia, impairment to learning, eating and sleep disorders, school vandalism, bullying, aggression and rebelliousness.
Discipline must be internally motivated to be sincerely incorporated into our conscious. The act of obedience only displays the behavior while under the threat of fear. Effective learning can not occur in the emotionally charged state of fear. Distrust of the source and the fight or flight instinct are provoked when physical pain is experienced.
The NC school statute 115C-391 on Corporal Punishment does not even require parents to be notified in advance of school administrators hitting children. The statue does require that parents and students be notified in advance of those behaviors that bear the threat of physical violence against children. Have you received such notification? U.S. Statistics on Corporal Punishment by State (1999-2000 year, released in 2003) notes that teachers in North Carolina hit 5717 children that year. Have children you know been hit or seen violence by teachers in their school? The N.C. statue restricts civil liability for the use of force by the teacher on the basis that the child must prove unreasonable force was used, no matter what injury the child incurs.
What are you going to do about it?
Request a copy of the School Board's written policy on corporal punishment that children are subject to without your notification. Demand that children not be hit or beaten with wooden boards by those entrusted with the responsibility to educate children. Learning can not occur under the guise of fear and intimidation. Learning grows through exploration and discovery in an atmosphere of safety and protection from harm, especially from the harm of those mentoring the children.
Patricia R. Robinson
HAVE YOU BEEN
TO THE NEWSROOM?