Dallas ISD's partial ban on paddling
Email to Dallas Morning News from Jordan Riak
August 19, 2003
Dallas Morning News
re: Dallas ISD's partial ban on paddling Editor:

The so-called partial ban on school corporal punishment adopted by the Dallas Independent School District - that is, permitting the practice only with parental approval - leaves intact the practice's most pernicious elements. The recipients of the paddle will suffer all the same risk and damage as before. All students will still be shown that violence is a legitimate problem-solving option. Younger students will be made to feel either resentment at being in the beatable group, or guilt and powerlessness at seeing their less fortunate peers beaten. Older students, some labeled beatable and others not, will be set up for even more peer pressure and teasing. Boys, especially, will be pitted against each other to demonstrate their masculinity, the criterion for which will be whether or not one can "take it like a man." (Expect some coaches to get into that one with gusto.) And another area of potential conflict between children and their parents will have been needlessly created. Meanwhile, educators enthralled by the paddling habit will continue to get exactly what they want.

The thought of schools claiming "we only paddle some of our students" reminds me of a funny story about the old Amish custom of bundling. It was a quaint courtship practice whereby prospective marriage candidates would share a bed for the night, but with some mechanical barrier between them to thwart any premature amorous activity, just in case. As the story goes, an Amish mom asked her daughter, on the morning after the girl spent the night in bed with her suitor, if she had kept her legs securely in the potato sack throughout the night. "One, mother," the girl demurely replied. Schools that only paddle some kids aren't virgins either.

Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE), P.O. Box 1033, Alamo CA 94507-7033, Tel.: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914. Web Site: "Project NoSpank" at www.nospank.net.

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