Irwin Hyman: Reading, Writing, and the Hickory Stick: The Appalling Story of Physical and Psychological Abuse in American Schools
Reviewed by Adel Faber, Mothering, Spring 1991

This powerful, ground-breaking book exposes the barbaric methods currently used to "discipline" children in our nation's classrooms. School psychologist Dr. Irwin Hyman lays out the results of years of painstaking research with the calm objectivity of a social scientist. Yet, one cannot read the charts, statistics, court testimony, and anecdotal reports without a mounting sense of horror.

The evidence is clear and irrefutable: many of the people to whom we entrust the education of our children routinely subject their young charges to physical assault or psychological humiliation. Worse yet, the childrend have little or no protection from thir persecutors. "As of September 1989, thirty-one state legislatures and the U. S. Supreme Court refused to stop teachers from inflicting physical pain on school children."

Hyman, director of the National Center for the Study of Corporal Punishment and Alternatives in the Schools, does not rest at documenting the extent of the problem. He goes on to explore the devastating long-term effects of being a victim of, or even a witness of, school abuse--the personality changes, sleep disturbances, somatic complaitns, poor school performance, lowered selfesteem, increased aggression, and more. He also gives parents much detailed, practical advice on how to negotiate the legal and political systems that perpetuate this abuse.



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