DeSoto Parish School System is Unsafe for Children

May 18, 2005 - Photo of the buttocks of a 14-year-old boy showing injuries caused by employees of the DeSoto Parish School System, Louisiana, U.S. The boy is the son of the writer of the above letter.

June 5, 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

The purpose of this communication is not to argue corporal punishment's destructive effects on children. Among the informed, that debate has been put to rest many decades ago, and scholarly opinion is virtually unanimous on the subject. In fact, it is hard to find another issue about which there is such universal agreement among the educated. Willful ignorance, on the other hand, is probably beyond reach, so I won't waste our time with it here.

My purpose is to expose the truth about a particular behavior in a particular school system. I think the mother's letter to me and the photograph of her son's injuries tell us everything we need to know.

I believe a crime has been committed against a defenseless victim, and the apparent refusal by local authorities to acknowledge and deal with that crime compounds the damage.

On behalf of the victim and his family, I submit the following three demands to the DeSoto Parish School System:

1) The victim and his family deserve, at the very minimum, a prompt apology from those whose responsibility it is to assure the basic safety of children at school. Those authorities have clearly failed in that responsibility.

2) All the children attending school in the DeSoto Parish School System deserve a guarantee that they will no longer be required, under any pretext, to submit to beatings by school employees.

3) The families who entrust the care and education of their children to the DeSoto Parish School System deserve an unequivocal assurance that those who have contact with their children at school will conduct themselves in accordance with the standard of professionalism for which they were trained. (No teachers' college in Louisiana instructs prospective teachers how to beat students on the pelvic area with a wood board.) If they cannot meet that standard, DeSoto Parish School System is obliged not to employ them. Such people have no business in a school or anywhere near children.

Readers of this page are invited to disseminate it in its entirety to the widest possible circle of readers.


Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)
P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507 U.S.

See Get some smarts, an angry response to this page (July 26, 2005).

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