A ban against battering students is decades overdue A ban against battering students is decades overdue
Letter to the Editor of The Memphis Flyer from Jordan Riak
October 15, 2004

Re: "Pondering the Paddle," 10/15/04


The reference to paddling as "the mildest" form of corporal punishment seems an odd choice of words to describe an act that could result in felony battery charges if perpetrated against an adult. There is nothing "mild" about being struck in the pelvic area with a wooden stick. As for quibbling about the timing of this debate, I would suggest that a ban against battering students is decades overdue, and any excuse for further delay is unconscionable.

Corporal punishment is both useless and dangerous. Empirical evidence compiled over the past half century showing its counterproductive effects is incontestable. Also, the good example of school systems throughout the developed world, which function very well without corporal punishment, should be a powerful motivator to reexamination and reform here.

Unfortunately, too many school administrators seem to succumb to a mysterious form of moral paralysis whenever paddling is discussed. The mere mention of the topic apparently puts some into a trance state where all they can do wax nostalgic about their childhood spankings. I believe it's time they learned to leave their unresolved personal issues at home so they can do their job. They should get up-to-date information on how the best schools run and act accordingly. As for teachers who hit students, or believe they must retain that right, they ought to return to college and redo their undergraduate studies where, if they are paying attention, they'll discover that instruction in paddling is notably missing from the curriculum. Otherwise they should find some other profession where they are less likely to cause harm.

Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education, P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507, Tel: (925) 831-1661

See related: Pondering the Paddle, The Memphis Flyer, Editorial, October 15, 2004

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