Among the most disturbing stories of the day is the NPR report today on the use of corporal punishment in schools. It still exists. It’s 2017.
No doubt the country is still rife with people who think that all kids need is to be hit a little more. The 25 percent increase in reports of child abuse in Minnesota is testament to that, although those in favor of more corporal punishment in schools have a difficult time seeing any connection between the two. One is discipline the other is abuse. Alright, then.
In one North Carolina school, kids get the choice of “paddling” over suspension. The principal says most kids, tomorrow’s paddlers, choose the corporal punishment.
One of those students is Allison Collins. She’s a senior now and says she chose to be paddled her sophomore year after her phone went off in class. She describes it as, “My first time ever being in trouble.”
Collins went to the assistant principal’s office where she was told she had a day of in-school-suspension. Collins told Principal Matheson she’d rather take a paddling and so he called her father to get permission.
“And my dad was like, ‘Just paddle her,'” she says. “Because down here in the mountains, we do it the old-school way.”
These are the people, by the way, who told us late last year that they were tired of being looked down upon the uppity city people.
But city people join in the fun too, because surveys show that 75 percent of people support spanking.
“I think it goes back to traditional values,” says Cheri Lynn, a Robbinsville parent who substitutes as a band teacher and coaches the school’s shooting team. “A lot of parents still hold to the traditional values of corporal punishment. They use it at home, and so the school is an extension of home.”
“I think if more schools did it, we’d have a whole lot better society. I do, I believe that,” the principal of the school says, ignoring studies that show just the opposite.
Nineteen states still allow the practice, according to the National Education Association. Almost all of them are in the deep south. Mississippi, the state that’s dead last in just about everything, is at the top of the list of states using corporal punishment most.
No doubt, this is the mentality that got Angellika Arndt in trouble in 2006. She wasn’t paddled; she was a victim of the next progression in the mentality: a “control hold.” She was often held to the floor for an hour and a half at a time. Face down.
But that didn’t keep her from being a kid — a 7-year-old kid — who gargled milk at lunch one day at her Wisconsin counseling center.
A day later, she was dead. Because she gargled milk.
“Corporal punishment is an important risk factor for children developing a pattern of impulsive and antisocial behavior…[and] children who experience frequent CP… are more likely to engage in violent behaviors in adulthood,” the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners declared last year.
Minnesota doesn’t get off lightly on the general issue as the case of former Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson shows. After causing lacerations in “disciplining” his child and being indicted in his home state on the charges, Peterson’s fans, clutching their traditional values, defended his approach to child-rearing if not the results. Hitting a kid is OK, they opined, as long as it didn’t leave marks.
Besides, it’s how they were raised, many said, without a hint of irony.