Jordan Riak, April 24, 2005

Discussion about spanking has been much in the news lately. Interest in the subject ebbs and flows, and at the moment it appears to be at an all-time high. But what seems to be missing from all this talk, pro and con, is a precise definition.

The technical term for spanking is "corporal punishment," but that doesn't help much. Translated into plain English, it means punishing the body, or, as it is done in schools of nearly half the states, means repeatedly striking a child on the pelvic area with a wood board. I recognize that some people might be unaccustomed to such a blunt description of the act. But why be coy if there's nothing to be ashamed of? Isn't honesty (as we've all been taught) the best policy? Surely this, as any other topic of importance, deserves frank, detailed discussion. That way those who are remiss or uninformed can learn what they need to know. I believe that since trained, credentialed, professional educators are hitting schoolchildren on their pelvic area with wood boards for the children's benefit, there is every good reason for them to share their expertise with the general public. And, I confess, I should be first in line for lessons.

My family represents two generations of non-hitters of children. I don't have a clue how to do it. Even worse, I don't have any inclination to do it. The thought never crossed my mind until now how my children and grandchildren have been deprived by never having had their pelvic area smacked with a wood board. But I'm not too old to learn.

I suggest that the time is ripe for some enterprising school district to step forward and produce training materials on the correct method for hitting children. A video would be perfect. That way we could all listen to the experts explain their theories in detail and watch them demonstrate the procedure on real children in real situations. We could observe how the children respond when it's done properly. I, and others who are in the same predicament, could learn what we've been missing. We could study the videos and practice at home until we get it right. In fact, those videos could be sold at a modest profit thus providing extra revenue for struggling school districts. Surely there's a market.

See Should schools spank? Policies, attitudes vary widely over use of corporal punishment., By Mandi Steele, Globe Staff Writer Joplin Globe, April 23, 2005

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