December 31, 2006
Corporal punishment -- a high-sounding term for beating children -- has long since disappeared from educational settings throughout the developed world. Educational wisdom universally deems corporal punishment both counterproductive and dangerous. Institutions that train teachers don't instruct undergraduates in its use, not one European country permits it, and it is rapidly falling out of favor even among the least advanced nations.
Efforts to reestablish the practice once it has been abandoned are so rare that they stand out in stark contrast to the universal trend. Two examples spring to mind. Germany temporarily reintroduced corporal punishment of students during the Nazi era, and Union County, North Carolina is currently considering its reintroduction after a two-year moratorium. The Chairman of the Board of Education has a plan to permit pupil-beating on a case-by-case basis with written parental consent.
This is a sweetheart deal if ever there was one. Incompetent educators who hit students with sticks and misguided parents who engage in similar bad behavior at home can indulge their habit without having to take personal responsibility for it. The educators can claim they are merely carrying out the wishes of parents, and parents can say they are merely following the example of educators. One hand washes the other.
Union County School Board will debate this issue at their board meeting Tuesday night. Let's hope wise heads prevail.
Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE); Web site: "Project NoSpank" at www.nospank.net; PTAVE, P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507 US; Tel: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914
RECIPIENTS OF THE ABOVE LETTER
Members, Union County Public Schools Board of Education (Source: www.ucps.k12.nc.us)
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