On January 7, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee will vote on whether or not to ban corporal punishment in schools. When deciding, the lawmakers should bear in mind that 28 states in the U.S have banned school corporal punishment without detriment to educational standards. As a matter of record, non-paddling states consistently have higher academic achievement than paddling states. Furthermore, all other developed industrial nations have banned school corporal punishment, and 12 countries have banned corporal punishment by parents as well as by educators. Pakistan will soon become the 13th country to do so. In compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Pakistan is a signatory, corporal punishment will be completely banned in 2004. Rana Ijaz Ahmad, human rights advisor to the northern Punjab government, said, "The government is against any form of violence against children. The new law will be implemented in letter and spirit."
Pennsylvania lawmakers would do well to take their cue from Pakistan and grant schoolchildren at least the same level of legal protection against assault and battery enjoyed by prison inmates. It's a fact, after all, that incarcerated felons in Pennsylvania prisons, unlike children in its schools, are legally protected from disciplinary beatings.
Jordan Riak, Exec.Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE), P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033. Web site: "Project NoSpank" at www.nospank.net Telephone: (925) 831-1661
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