Jordan Riak, PTAVE, September 7, 2006

PTAVE has learned that DeSoto County (MS) school board, which met this past Tuesday, has approved a staff-recommended change in the district's corporal punishment policy to specify that schools will provide a report to parents after the punishment has been administered. The report will include the reason for punishment, the person who administered it and the name of the required witness. Previously, reports were given only when requested by parents.

It's unclear whether or not this change represents progress. Proponents of corporal punishment will welcome the new policy because now, parents will be alerted to their child's misbehavior at school, and seize the opportunity to reinforce the school's lesson by delivering a second beating at home. Opponents, who might not otherwise have known what has happened to their child at school, will be alerted to check for injuries and contact a lawyer.

The matter of the "required witness" raises interesting concerns. Whenever PTAVE points out corporal punishment's connection to sexual perversion, and the ease with which predators can use it for their purposes, our warnings are summarily and derisively dismissed as "pure psychobabble" or "utter nonsense." We have even been accused of having dirty minds for suggesting such a possibility. To those critics, we ask: what procedures, other than school paddling, can you list that are carried out in the presence of a witness? Why?

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