To the Editor:
Re "Breaking the Hickory Stick" (editorial, May 7):
Schools have no business meting out punishments on children that society has deemed too barbaric for use in prisons or the military. The case you profiled in a May 3 front- page article is a perfect example of why corporal punishment should be outlawed in the 23 states that still allow it. The paddling of a child to the point of being bruised and fearful of returning to school illustrates the lack of control that states have over their schools' disciplinary practices.
Americans are striving to teach children not to use violence to solve problems, not to bully others, and to respect themselves and other people. I don't see how children can learn these lessons when the very people who give them guidance — their teachers and principals — are leaving them bruised and battered.
STEVE BERMAN, M.D.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Elk Grove Village, Ill., May 9, 2001