Robert Fathman's letter to the Editor in response to "Chief's drum major barred for hazing," Tallahassee Democrat, September 9, 1999
The FSU faculty and administration should be commended for taking swift and decisive action against band members who thought it was great sport to paddle younger band members in some sort of hazing ritual. Violence just should not be tolerated at all, even if done in some distorted sense of "fun." To overlook such action is to encourage it.
Now, how about the Florida legislators? Can they be expelled or suspended also -- for failing to protect Florida's school children from the similar violence of paddling by teachers, coaches and school administrators? 27 states now have banned school corporal punishment, as has nearly every other country in the world, and many of Florida's more progressive counties. But the Florida legislature ignores its responsibility to extend protection from violence to these younger, more vulnerable members of our society.
Aren't Florida's teachers just as capable as those in, say, Wisconsin, Michigan, VIrginia and the many other states where children are educated in orderly environments without fear of being hit with boards by those in charge of them? Ending corporal punishment has worked well everywhere else. Graduation rates improve, vandalism drops, and discipline problems lessen when we stop instilling anger in children by hitting them with boards.
Good school discipline should be instilled in the mind, not the behind.
Robert Fathman, Ph.D., President
National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools
5805 Tarton Circle N.
Dublin, Ohio 43017