Against Corporal Punishment
It should come as no surprise to anyone in the state of Oklahoma to read about the Gans area woman who was charged with child abuse. Barbara Rissler faces a felony charge for disciplining a 14-year-old girl in her care. The girl was allegedly struck with an extension cord, rope, and a cutting board.
Each year in Oklahoma, teachers and administrators use weapons to beat children. According to the Office of Civil Rights data for the 2006-7 school year, 14,828 children were hit with wooden boards by educators in Oklahoma, ranking this state number four in the percentage of students hit in the nation.
Until our educated sector finds non abusive and non violent means to discipline children, we really should not be shocked that parents and caregivers are abusing children. Teachers need to be held to the same, if not higher standards. If it is child abuse for Ms. Rissler to injure a child with the implements used, then we must also hold educators to this same standard, and charge them with acts of child abuse for hitting children with wooden boards and injuring them.
Child abuse is not defined by the room in which it occurs. It should not matter whether it happens in a principal's office or a living room. Call it what it is. Ms. Rissler is no more guilty of child abuse than the teachers in this state whose behavior she models.
PEGGY DEAN, RN, WAXHAW, N.C.
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