August 26, 2008
President George W. Bush
Subject: Education - Demand Physical Violence Against Children as a Form of Discipline in America's Public Schools Stop Immediately!
We demand Abolishment of Corporal (Physical) Punishment of Children in Public Schools in the United States of America Immediately! In a report issued on August 20, 2008, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union cite U.S. Education Department statistics that find school personnel in the 2006-07 school year reported disciplining 223,190 students by hitting, spanking or similar means. Alice Farmer, the report's author, found that children are routinely paddled for "minor infractions" such as chewing gum or violating school dress codes. "It's just fundamentally ineffective in terms of improving school discipline," she says. "It doesn't teach kids why what they did was wrong; it doesn't show them better behavior. What it does is teach them to be violent." For further information, please review the report at http://hrw.org/reports/2008/us0808/.
We were incredulous to learn about such Public School incidents as the use of shaved baseball bats, with handles taped for better grip, to administer Corporal Punishment; students making paddles in woodshop to be used to administer Corporal Punishment; classroom doors being locked when the bell rings with the Principal patrolling hallways, armed with a paddle, to administer Corporal Punishment to tardy students before they are allowed to enter class; a 16-year- old girl, 5 months pregnant, receiving a paddling; and teachers paddling students in class in the presence of other students.
At this time in the world, all of humanity is blessed to be living in the age of information and enlightenment. Information can be sent and received at the speed of thought. Children's Civil Rights Violations and Criminal Injustice against children in America's Public Schools have no place to hide.
Recent shocking news articles may be accessed via the internet by typing the following headlines into any internet search engine: "Texas Governor Backs Guns for Teachers;" "Texas Truants to be Tracked by GPS Anklets." We have all heard of tragic consequences when average citizens arm themselves with loaded weapons for protection, only to have a violent perpetrator take away their weapon and use it on them.
Other shocking news articles include such headlines as: "U. S. Supreme Court Declines Appeals on Corporal Punishment;" "E. Tenn. Principal to Plead Guilty for Student Assault and 8-year-old, in Trouble at School, Hospitalized after trying to Hang Self."
School Districts all over the country have the authority to self-govern the administration and operation of schools in their district. Well-meaning school board members are imposing policies that lack common sense in response to fear based thinking. American Government must establish a reasonable protocol for use as a guideline when it comes to decision making regarding school safety and discipline of students, while providing accountability to citizens.
School faculty members are required by law to report suspected child abuse, and they are allowed, by law, to inflict physical punishment on school children with legal impunity! Physical punishment of children in American Public Schools is a Disgrace to the Noble Profession of Teaching!
It is outrageous that convicted criminals in U.S. prisons and animals at slaughter- houses receive more humane treatment than children in U.S. Public Schools! At what age do American Children gain the civil rights adults take for granted?
Anyone can see the obvious correlation between States which allow Corporal Punishment of Children in Public Schools and a higher incidence of school dropout rates, domestic violence, violent crime and high prison populations which often take place in economically disadvantaged areas.
American citizens must not allow any school faculty member to beat our children down and send them the message that they are worthless and destined to perpetuate the "Violent Culture" of crime, abuse and poverty, filling them with hopelessness! When our laws require public school personnel to respect children's civil rights, children will be empowered to overcome any adverse circumstances and rise above our greatest expectations for them, for they are America's future!
The Legislatures of over half of the states in the U.S. have abolished Corporal Punishment of Children in Public Schools and train educators to practice more effective, nonviolent discipline methods that use teaching rather than punishment.
America must stop promoting a "Culture of Violence" by remaining indifferent to the suffering of those children/students who cannot speak for themselves of the criminal injustices (Government sanctioned child abuse) they are subjected to in our Public Schools. What good comes of hitting children with paddles? The cost (desensitizing our children to violence, promoting bullying resulting in a widespread pattern of abuse in society) is not worth the risk (jeopardizing educators careers, school district's assets paid for by tax payer dollars, distrust and resentment of authority figures, living and teaching VIOLENCE as the way to solve problems). As more Americans become aware of today's use of outdated, unacceptable Violent Physical Punishment of Children in Public Schools, they will demand ZERO TOLERANCE! Punishment does not equal Discipline any more than instilling fear equals respect!
America's Government Leaders, elected officials, lawmakers and educators must take Action to Immediately Stop allowing the Deliberate Infliction of Physical Pain and Suffering intended to Punish Children in Public Schools as Acceptable Discipline, thereby, elevating our nation among leading nations who do not practice violence against children!
Mr. George E. and Mrs. Julie A. Worley
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