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If We Punished Adults Like Kids

May 8, 2010

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Imagine you’ve had a hard week at work with lots of overtime, it’s late on a Friday night, and you are finally heading home.  You get into your car, turn the radio on, and play it loud for the ride home.  You hope the music along with the breeze of the top being down will help put the stress of the week behind you and you start to drive.

Maybe it was because you were tired, perhaps the music had a beat that demanded a little speed, whatever the case, there they are behind you – the ubiquitous flashing blue lights that say the local police department does not share your enthusiasm for going home so quickly.  As soon as the officer approaches your car, you can tell your taste in music volume is even less appreciated.  Needless to say, your stressful week has just been capped off with a stressful speeding ticket – 50MPH in a 35MPH zone.  You sign the ticket and drive the rest of the way home in disgusted silence.

Rather than do the simple thing and pay the ticket, this one’s gotten under your skin.  You decide to fight it in court; surely, the judge will listen to reason and at the very least reduce the fine.  After all, there is insurance to think about.  In court, you make your plea with passion and reason, you feel good about the whole thing.  That is until the judge begins to speak.  Rather than being impressed by your logic, he’s angry with you wasting the courts time and intends on making an example out of you.  Instead of a monetary fine, he sentences you to a whipping by his bailiff right then and there.  Next thing you know, there you are bent over a table receiving twenty strokes from a paddle that looks more like a boat oar to you.  As painful as it was, it was your pride that hurt worse; it humiliated you.

If ever such an event took place, who among us would not feel abused?  Who would not feel their civil rights had been violated and the punishment was both cruel and unusual?  In fact, the Constitution states, “Excessive bail shall not be required… nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.[i]”  For a speeding offence it would seem unusual at the very least as most motorist pay a monetary fine.  Certainly, if the corporal aspect of it left a permanent mark it would be cruel.  Maybe that’s why courts don’t use corporal punishment in the United States.

Though the circumstances are somewhat different, it is the same sort of dilemma children face in the twenty states that allow corporal punishment in their public schools.  A minor rule infraction can bring swift retribution in the form of a spanking at the hands of an administrator or teacher.  Everything from chewing gum in class to talking back is eligible for such treatment.  What qualifies a person to do this?  It is doubtful than any university included in their various teaching programs the proper technique for inflicting just the right amount of pain without damaging the flesh.  It all depends on the school personnel involved on how much is enough.  How is it we allow our children to receive a punishment at the hands of government officials we see as abusive for adults?

If your boss were to paddle you at work for talking back, it is a crime called assault.  How is it any different in a school setting?  Your boss has other tools to use, everything from a warning to outright firing you.  Schools need other tools, better tools.  We need to engage students rather than beat them.  School systems respond to discipline in various ways with a wide-range of results.  We need to see what works best and replace the draconian response of paddling with something better suited to the twenty-first century.

Our nation has grown morally since the days when corporal punishment was part of everyday life.  Our laws have grown with that morality.  We simply need to extend that thinking to the classroom environment.  We don’t brand adulterers with an “A” in the center of their forehead, nor should schools raise welts on the rump of a gum-chewing child.


[i] “The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 8.

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25 comments

  1. Jess, you brought up the use of tassers, here in an interesting link as an example of its results: http://carlosmiller.com/2010/07/14/woman-calls-cops-to-report-prowler-gets-tasered-repeatedly-on-video/


  2. Hi again, ok-starting from the top:

    Your social/educational analysis might well be valid but it needs peer review. Somebody could argue that by taking away the cane those states might get even worse. Its certainly the case in the 80’s in the UK when they took the cane away and we are both western cultures so are comparable.

    Are there not factors like value added? Percentages of middle class/ lower class students? Employment stats? Political stats? Recruitment stats?

    Are the schools run in an identical way bar the cane issue?

    I thought I had answered the taser argument with reference to corporal punishment on adults. I would have no problem with courts administering taser punishment to really evil criminals. Its no worse than jail time. Lost years can never be taken back in the case of wrongful conviction so theres no difference there. In the case of do I think a policeman can act as judge and jury?- certainly not!

    If you gave me the choice of a year in jail or 20 mins taser, give me the taser, agony though it may be (it cant be worse than childbirth!)

    I 100% agree that parents need to be held to account for student behaviour but what good is that if the parents have no control? Or doing have the emotional intelligence to assist? Or are drug addicts? Or absent? Or have a grudge against authority?

    We have laws in the UK to take parents to court for kids behaviour but not a single case has been brought because schools dont have the time or resouces to do so.

    So any solution has to be pragmatic. I imagine a 3 second smack is a tad less time consuming and cheap compared to the huge operation required to make 50 parents accompany children to school and classes.


    • Peer-review… really? I am not in any position to have my work placed under such detailed scrutiny. I am no sociologist or education guru. I am simply a guy that is believes it is wrong for the state to employ corporal punishment. If you wish to challenge my thoughts, go for it. I know my math is correct, that is what my opinions are based on. You will have to make up your own mind on the validity of my application of the math.

      On thing you might not understand about the United States, each state has authority over its own school system. It is not under the direct control of our federal government. In effect, we have 50 independent governments controlling 50 unique systems of education. The relative effectiveness of one state can be compared to the others. My whole argument is based on the best performing systems here do not allow corporal punishment and the worst performing systems do. Rather than extending the practice from a failing system to a more successful one, we need to import the more successful system to our states with poorer performance.

      Regarding your statement on its removal in the 80s, I could just as easily turn that around on you, just because the cane was removed, it does not mean it is more than a small contributing factor in the deterioration of behavior. Where are your comparative reports to support your position? Where is your peer-reviewed data to show that re-instituting corporal punishment will have the desired effect you claim?

      How about we change that year in jail to a small fine? Still what to be “tased” instead? Children here are spanked for minor infraction, from talking back to being late for class. It is not used for serious matters like assault (something like spiting on someone is considered assault here) schools still suspend and expel students for that sort of thing.

      On parental control, if you mean to say because some parents, for whatever reason, do not exercise control of their children, therefore it falls to the schools that opens a whole other can of worms. If you go that far, why not just have the state take the children and place them where there is control? For me, I would rather the parents be provided with assistance in learning the proper skills.

      You mention costs; we (the U.S.) have spent over five trillion dollars for our deference in the last 10 years. If we simply took 1 one-hundredth of one percent to use for social programs, that is $500 Million dollars. That would pay for an awful lot of training and assistance programs, and would hardly be missed by the military. After all, it’s only one one-hundredth of one percent. It is not a question of having enough money in the hands of government; it is how government spends it that is the issue. I for one, think we should spend less on war and more on education. I say that having spent a considerable part of my life serving in the military here. When it comes to issues of force, I am no shrinking violet.

      As far as the failings of schools and society at-large to use the tools provided them, which speak to their failure, there is no reason to transfer that to students. Because adults are too lazy or too dim-witted to avail themselves of authorized solutions does not mean it is appropriate to hit a child and does nothing to address the problem created by parents and school systems themselves.

      Police states are more pragmatic than republics and democracies, to use your logic we should all agree to that too. No thank you, it is not good for the state or school system to follow the pragmatic path at the cost of intellectual reasoning. Yes, cost is a factor but only with the application of intellectual reasoning rather than pragmatism can the proper balance come into focus.

      For example, a communist economic system is extremely pragmatic in theory, but intellectually we know that form of system has little to no chance of producing goods to support itself over the long term. Conversely, school systems that approach educational costs pragmatically fail to give proper weight to the intrinsic value of the creative arts. Intellectually we understand that students who are exposed to the arts have better grades in school – I will try to find the study for you and source it but it is more than a few years old and may take me a while to get my hands on it.

      You really missed the point regarding parents accompanying children to class, it costs the school system little to nothing in time or money. In truth, it is an intellectual solution that is pragmatic in outlay. The end result is once parents understand they will be held accountable, they will ensure their children act accordingly. Nothing is perfect, there will still be the problem child to deal with, but that is true regardless of the system in place.


  3. Hi,
    Thats quite alright, I have had quite a few jobs in my life requiring routine confrontation so I’m hard to offend. Plus I never could express myself eloquently enough to avoid upsetting someone so no harm done I assure you!

    The reason I mentioned cost is because in real political/humane terms its always an issue however distasteful it sounds.

    For example, if the government in the UK redirects a billion pounds from education to the health service, then many student suffer a worse education but hundreds of lives are saved.

    Its horrible but thats the kind of real decisions politicans have to make. Therefore I always try and be pregamatic in my assessment of things.

    For your next point on rights I have enormous sympathy with your stance, as a mother I would bittery resent the state interfering to such an extent with my children but alas I also know that in so many cases its inevitable for the sake of the children and society. You simply woul not beleive how some parents behave over here. Some are just plain violent and abusive to their own children, others simply encourage their children to subvert authority and disrupt schools.

    For that reason your bus example might work with a small proportion but thats a very labour intensive stratgey, time consuming and would only work with cooperative parents (which in the main do not have disruptive children). There is also the issue of parents who have other commitments and cannot ride the school bus.

    Is driving a right? I think in reality it is as almost all able bodied people can pass a test and purchase a car. This makes it a default option and is not privilege based. ie I have a right to vote and have a right to drive. I have a right to an education and a right (in the UK) to health care.

    Those rights will only be removed if I do something bad. ie punch a nurse, run someone over, commit a crime, punch a teacher.

    As for your taser example, its a good point. However the answer you receive might depend upon who you speak to. Lots of crime victims would LOVE there to be corporal punishment for criminals. In fact if there were a referrendum in the UK I would imagine 80% would be in favour of it- particularly for peadophiles or child murderers. In reality of course, such guys get there just deserts in prison so I hear.

    If a mother smacks a child because he/she pulled a cats tail nastily I can live with it. So if a school principle does it to an angry brat because he/she kicked a smaller child for fun, franky, I can live with it too.

    Presumably many experienced, caring, professional people beleive its worthwhile as otherwise it wouldnt be going on in those states? Is there another angle on this do you think?


    • Again, cost is only a valid point if corporal punishment is proved effective as a means to influence behavior. Our states with the best scoring students on standardized tests are also the states with the least amount of disciplinary problems. In addition, they are also states that do not employ corporal punishment.

      I live in a state that employs it, has costs per student in the top 5% of all states and the worst performance in graduation rates of any of our 50 states. South Carolina also has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the nation. While I do not blame corporal punishment for this, it certainly does not improve it. Again, if spanking a child does not produce results why use the practice?

      Not to get side tracked with driving, but when one violates the law and has driving privileges revoked, it is a court that does it with the right of appeal. Students are not afforded any right of appeal and I am not suggesting there should be such a right, I only wish the punishment to fit the crime. It is sort of the same argument as capital punishment, once administered it cannot be taken back.

      On the use of Tasers you did not answer the question asked. Is the use of a Taser to punish a suspect the same thing as the use of one to prevent a suspect from eluding arrest? If your answer is no, they why would you allow an “after-the-fact” spanking to take place? While an argument might be made to support corporal action to prevent dangerous activity (IE: a 6-year old playing with matches)it is not the same thing as sending a 12-year old to the headmaster to get spanked for chewing gum. I make the illustration a pointed one to demonstrate the impossibility of leaving such matters in the control of an administrator. Each one will administer punishment in their own way. One child will get spanked while another will not.

      As far as your reference to experienced, caring, professional people, I think it really boils down to a lack of other tools to use. Parents must bear the burden of molding their children. It is not a state activity. If that means the parent has to cancel plans or make other arrangements because they failed to properly raise a child – so be it. Their lack of ability should not impact the welfare of my child. In other words, my child should not have to suffer a punishment designed to correct the behavior of a child whose parents lack the skills to be parents.

      Regarding the angry brat, that kid needs to be removed from school in the first place until they learn to act in the fashion expected. Again, that issue falls back on the parents and they need to account for it. Inconvenience them rather that the school system.


  4. Well to be fair- you presented me with a hypothetical question and I did my best to answer it.

    I dont think you can totally dismiss cost- the public purse is limited whatever country you are in. Re-diversion of public funds has its own moral consequences.

    Also I did have a 2nd part to my argument involving ethos and justice.

    I dont think my hypothetical response in any way condones torture or maiming- that was something of a shock.

    As for full circle, well I thought I had cleared that up, I do think it would be ok, in certain circumstances to apply physical deterrent to adults and UK and USA polce/military do exactly that in a very prescribed set of circumstances.

    The thing that seperates schooling age discipline is practicality. A tantrum from a 6 yo might be thrawted with a smack, but a 26 yo? -surely not.

    There is also the idea that children have the same rights as adults- they dont

    they cant vote, drive, earn a living, have sex, run a household, own property etc

    I thought I asked reasonable questions- I was interested to know because I thought you might know the answers as you are clearly interested in behavioural solutions. But if that data isnt at your finger tips thats totally fine.

    As for starting my own blog, I think there is enough of them. I prefer chipping in from time to time, add to the debate kinda thing.


    • I admit your previous response did get under my skin a bit. For that, I apologize. You have engaged me in a good debate on the topic and I was out of line. Regardless of my views on matters, it is never acceptable to behave in such a way to a person open to discussion.

      To explore corporal punishment as a cost-effective means of discipline I would first have to accept it as effective and I do not. I my opinion there no point in exploring the cost as it fails to improve behavior. We have 40% of the states here that prove that point. The behavior in schools systems that allow corporal punishment is statically the same as schools systems that do not. Cost should only be considered in effective means of control, not ineffective means. While you might think it OK to allow a teacher to whip a child to save money, I do not. We will simply disagree on this point. I will never use cost as justification for hitting my child or allowing her to be hit.

      As for your explanation of rights, you are making an apples to oranges comparison. The rights of citizens of a particular county are not necessarily the same as basic human rights. For me, I do not feel the government has the authority to spank my child; it undermines my authority as a parent. End of subject. If, as a parent, I am unable to control my child to the satisfaction of the school system requiring that level of discipline on their part, that is on me as a parent and the school system must address it with me, not my child.

      For example, in Charleston, SC, a student was fighting with other students on the bus. Here, schools have their own buses. He was prevented from riding the bus until one of his parents rode with him, to and from school, on the bus for a week. The school held the parent responsible and from all reports, it was highly effective. Did the parents whip the boy? I don’t know. I just know the school systems engaged the parent and the problem was solved, that is they type of thing that needs to take place. It may not be convenient, but parenting is a responsibility that trumps all others.

      Regarding driving, driving is not a right; it is something one must earn by taking a test and demonstrating proficiency. A right is something one has by default; it does not need to be earned. If it is earned it is a privilege.

      It disturbs me that you feel it a normal course of business to subject people to pain. Yes, police use painful tactics, the military too. They use is it in lieu of deadly force. In other words, they use the least amount of force to prevent injury and loss of life; it is not to inflict pain as punishment, hardly the same thing as sending a student to the headmaster’s office to receive 20 lashes after the fact. Do you think it is OK for the police to “taser” a guy after he gives up? If a teacher had to use force top prevent injury that is one thing. A teach using force punish after the fact is a whole other matter.


  5. If it could be proven, beyond all possible doubt, that the cane didnt work better than other sanctions, one might still support its use in terms of efficiency.

    That sounds heartless but what I mean is this;

    Lets give misbehaviour a percentage:

    Good school 5%
    Medium school 20%
    Bad school 80%

    (for the sake of argument)
    For the bad school to maintain 80% with the cane might use 1000 hours of teacher time

    For the bad school to maintain 80% without the cane might use 3000 hours of teacher time because detentions, negotiations, internal/external exclusions are so time consuming.

    In this culture of recession that is a strong argument.

    The 2nd argument would be ethos. At least other students would perceive a form of justice. Also the miscreants would understand their actions have consequences which may help them and society longer term.

    I get that the counter argument might be that it might ‘harden’ them or de-sentitise them, but to argue that comes close to arguing against all sanctions which is a very minority view.

    The trouble is with social behaviour you will never ge a concensus because of people politics and the fact that its so complex.

    Some people used to point to Russia as an example of good policing becuase despite virtual starvation, theft was rare, because the consequences were so awful from their police state. ie a combination of a likehood of getting caught and severity of punishment acted as an effective deterrent.

    However some social scientists disputed this theory and said it was down to a feling of solidarity and sufferage.

    So who is right? Both? Neither? One or the other?

    Comparing states in the way you do isnt a bad idea and if the data you quote is correct I think it warrants indepndant study but it would need very careful analysis resulting in a peer reviewed paper.

    May I ask, what do your respective teacher unions say? Are there stats on exclusions rates in those states? What are the states codes on uniforms? Are the students allowed phones in all states?


    • It sounds heartless because it is heartless. I take exception the whole of your last response. There is not evidence to show corporal punishment is more effective than other forms of discipline. Arguing that it is more cost effective is just silly.
      Using your logic, it is more cost effective to simply break the fingers of a shoplifter too. It is more cost effective to break the leg of a man that runs from the police. Should we resort to that sort of thing? Of course, this brings us full- circle. Why do to a child what you are unwilling to do to an adult? I think it better to lead by example. If you want adults that hit, hit them when they are children. You might disagree, that is your right but in this case, my blog – my rules.

      By switching the premise of your argument, effectiveness as a deterrent to a cost base, that goes way beyond they initial point of the blog, in other words, if you wish to make that argument, write a blog post about it yourself, then you defend your position just as I have mine.


  6. I was probably clumsy in the way I expressed myself;

    1. Im not suggesting the cane is the only option or a panacea. It has to be part of a organised approach involving rewards and sanctions.

    2. Our best schools are highly regimented and have high standards in every area. They often flack for being old fashioned and elitest. They resisted the removal of the cane passionately and now claim their job is much harder without it and has lowered standards although those standards are still higher than the rest of the country.

    3. Sorry, when I said ‘poor’ I meant poor results/behaviour. My fault.

    4. I’m afraid that wasnt my question. You had to choose; expulsion or cane. All the other avenues had been explored. You have to make a choice. I assume you would prefer expulsion from what you said. As a child or as an adult I would prefer cane.

    5. I’m not suggesting threatening behaviour is the way to run schools. Far from it. All I know is that when it comes to learning an overly strict classroom is much better than an overly lax classroom. The UK is filled wth kids that are bitterly resentful of having their education stolen from them by rowdy kids or teachers who couldnt be bothered to control them.

    I think an atmosphere of mutual respect, calm learning, interesting and relevent teaching backed up with a good reward/sanction system is the way forward. And when students consistently dispespect that culture or abuse the rights of others the ultimate sanction of the cane is a useful tool and certainly more humane than long term exclusion.


    • I think we are closer in our views than it may appear. While we differ on the core issue of the effectiveness of corporal punishment, we do see the issues of behavior, or the lack of proper behavior, in essentially the same way.

      I will point out that I live in a state, South Carolina, that allows corporal punishment and behavior in our schools is out of control. Other states, like New York, that do not allow corporal punishment have pretty much the same issues with behavior. Given that poor behavior happens at relatively the same rate in both cases, it supports the conclusion that corporal punishment is ineffective as a means to control it.

      Assume for a minute that my conclusion is true. If corporal punishment is ineffective in controlling poor behavior, would you still support it. If so, why?


  7. Would eveyone agree with the success critrea you used?

    Also would everyone agree its a level playing field?

    ie a poor school with rowdy students is unlikely to want to get rid of the cane, but its also likely to be in the bottom of your league system.

    So I wonder if some would dispute your claim.

    By contrast in the UK all the best schools are very strict.

    But their critics say that the kids and parents are already on side so the success isnt down to the strictness.

    If you had a 10yo son would you prefer him to have 5 smacks of the cane or a permant expulsion?

    ps I would totally disagree with your creativity point. Bad behaviour dramatically limits creativity and the variety of activities the teacher can use. Good behaviour leads to hard work, satisfaction and inspiration in the teachung and learning dynamic.


    • You make is sound like the only option is the cane, almost like you are saying “beat a child or else they will turn out bad.”

      To answer your question, no not everyone will agree with my criteria and it is never a level playing field, but I don’t think everyone will ever agree on any criteria across the board.

      I wonder what the very best UK schools, which are very strict, do for punishment? How do they handle discipline differently than the schools that are poor performers?

      As far and funding goes, that is a separate issue. You cannot generalize that because a student is poor, the behavior will be bad. I certainly hope you are not suggesting that it is necessary to cane poor kids and not rich kids.

      In regard to a hypothetical 10-year old son, I would expect the school to get involved before the need of punishment to that level, either level, but they do not get to cane my kid. If I have that sort of behavior issue going on where the choice is my child take a beating or be expelled from school, I will seek professional help to address it, not leave it to the school.

      I will point out to you that it is not only bad behavior that sniffles creativity, so does a teacher that threatens. That sniffles not only the targeted child but the class as a whole. It seems to me like you want to install corporal punishment and wash your hands of the situation. I want to solve the behavior problem before it rises to the level of requiring physical pain to address.


  8. The UK banned the cane in 1981/2 and saw a significant drop in behaviour and standards since.

    A recent public poll saw 80+ % in favour if its re introduction in the UK

    However an older poll within the teaching profession pitched it much lower. I cant recall the figure, I will try and find the links in due course.

    I myself am not to keen on the state superseeding the parent but admit there are times when it has to. I certainly have no sympathy with parents who argue with schools who try and punish their children for wrong doing. Thats lunacy and all too common.

    I would have thought that if corporal punishment is still allowed in the USA there were some vague kind of guidance and training.

    In my view, it you dont want an increase in violence and lowering of standards then retain all your disciplinary measures. Once students get the idea they have ‘rights’ it becomes 10 times harder to modify poor behaviour wich in the long run is bad for them and society in general.

    Recently we had a case of a nice teacher with an impeccible record who had been wound up all year by abusive student behaviour who just flipped and nearly killed a student when the student shouted ‘fuck off’ in his face. It was frong page news here 2 weeks ago. This is normal behaviour now for students. It wasnt 30 years ago.


    • Here is the US we have 20 of our 50 states that allow corporal punishment. It must be remembered that here, we not only have our federal government but sovereign state governments too. This system has it benefits as well as it problems to say the least.

      What that does for us though is give up 50 differing school systems to look at regarding policy. Our best performing states have lower problems with behavior and no top performing system allows corporal punishment.

      While it is true that some systems here that do not allow it have huge issues with behavior, the fact that our best schools do not and disallow corporal punishment lends itself to the ineffectiveness of the practice.

      I do not question that schools need tools to deal with students that act out. My point is here in the US, we have proof that corporal punishment does not solve the problem. The answer is elsewhere. It would be easy to install some overbearing military-style system that prevents issues but the result is systems like that stifle creativity.

      You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube. Simply returning to a system of corporal punishment assumes society has not changed. We know it has and the tools to deal with behavior must change too. I support action to correct this problem, I simply point out that corporal punishment will not solve it. Trust me, I live in a state that allows it, and we have more violence in our schools than ever. This state also has one of the poorest graduation rates in the county. Corporal punishment does nothing to address these issues.


  9. OK, lets rewind a few years. If my daughter did that (as a child) to a neighbours cat (and after repeated warnings), I would smack her in front of the neighbour. No problem. But would I want my neighbour doing that to my daughter? Nah, in honesty no. They would not know what prior warnings had been given anyway and whilst a strong verbal recrimination would be fine I would be unhappy with them smacking unless I had given prior permission.

    I think only those in authority (like schools) or parents shoud do that. Not some stranger.

    I think the point about the football coach is highly important, As a child grows, responsibilites and rights evolve too. So do pragmatic solutions. There was little point me spanking my 6ft tall 15yo son. BUT I could take his music away or his allowance or whatever. I could bargain with him. You cant do that stuff with a 3y old but, if required, you can apply manual force.

    A football coach can limit wages, take you off the team or sack you. He doesnt need coercion. (and as you say he would lose teeth)

    So it isnt an ethical question of why cane a kid not an adult, its about practicality.

    A smack on my daughters hand would caused her to immedialty cease her actions and caused deterrent.

    Smack some guys hand in a pub and you have a full on fight. So it doesnt work.

    But is corporal punishmant ethically ok agaisnt adults? Well yes, otherwise ALL punishment is unethical full stop.

    You could punch me in the mouth and thats violent and abuses my rights. You could also coax me into a room, lock the door and leave me to die of starvation. Which is more violent? In the latter you didnt lay a finger on me.

    When a policman uses tear gas or electricity to break up disruption, extreme pain is experienced. Sometimes its required. Its civilisation.

    Jess


    • OK Jess,

      Now at least I understand your position. I just see it differently. While you appear to support spanking for children under a certain age by people in authority, I do not. And let’s be honest, we are not talking about a little smack on the hand. We are talking about a whipping with a paddle.

      Parental corporal punishment tends to be administered on the spot. Of course there is always the “wait until your father gets home” variety but even that sort happens in the privacy of the home.

      What age do you cut it off? Twelve… fifteen? Should it be left to the school? Absolutely not. You speak of rights and responsibilities. Every parent has the right to expect their child to receive an education. Every parent has the responsibility to discipline their own children too. That is not something exported to government officials. First off, what training do teachers receive in administering punishment? I’m not sure how it is in merry old England these days but here in the states most teachers are teaching a classroom full of kids before they reach 23 years of age and do not have children of their own. Hardly the example of life’s experience to administer such punishment.

      This is not even dealing with the parent that does not wish their child whipped. Does the government trump their authority? That is a dangerous president to set.

      With regard to being locked in a room, I do not see one form of violence any more tolerable than another. In my opinion we have to much violence in our daily lives without having it institutionalized in the school system


  10. Allow me to reverse the question: My 3 year old grandaughter cannot speak English very well. She didnt heed her mothers repeated warning to not pull the cats tail.

    Until she got a smack from her loving mum. She hasnt done it since.

    Is it ok for my daughter to do that to her 3 yr old daughter?


    • The answer is yes it is OK, now let me ask you one. Say it was the neighbor’s cat, someone that your daughter does not know. Is it OK them them to give your 3-year old granddaughter a smack? You will notice I left off the “loving” part. That is where I draw the line.

      You cannot be saying the government should have the same authority over a child as a parent does. Certainly, without the parental love, corporal punishment is only administered through brute force. I don’t see football coaches treating goalies this way, that might have something to do with the fact the coach would be missing some teeth. Now, please answer my question, if you feel it is OK to cane a child, why not cane an adult?


      • Another quick point, I put out in another blog post (http://wp.me/pmSGR-7Z) that corporal punishment is solely in realm of parental authority.


  11. I would have to disagree. The comparisons above are so flawed they are beyond parody.

    If you dont want a driving ban dont drive dangerously. If you dont want the cane dont break a rule which is designed to protect someone elses rights.

    Nobody HAS to speed, chew gum, interrupt lessons, hit anyone, abuse anyone, arrive late, show disrespect, hurt another human.

    So if you dont like the ‘time’ dont do the ‘crime’. Students generally are too immature and selfish to heed proportional and measured justice. You also have to consider the fact that students are crowded together in an artifical social situation that requires rules to be loaded in such a way to make the dynamics workable.

    When you get to 18 expectations change, and this is sustainable because most people over the age of 18 dont make paper aeroplanes, squeeze chewing gum under a table or making fart sounds behind a teachers/lecturers back.

    Think twice before you ban the cane. The UK did it and look what happened to them.


    • While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I don’t think I will take your limited scope of thinking into account. In your world there is something magic about reaching 18. While I don’t know how many 18-year old “adults” you have been around lately, I doubt is many. They may not make paper airplanes but they do abuse gum and make all sort of noises behind all sorts of backs.

      Furthermore, the metaphor was simply for illustration purposes, I would of thought that obvious too. The one thing you do not address is why you feel that the cane is not appropriate for adults as well as children. Tell me, why it OK to beat a child but not an adult?


  12. I like your reference to a growing morality in our country that has led to spouses, employees, neighbors and even neighbors’ dogs getting protection from physical harm. It’s time to extend that protectionb to kids. Thanks for all you do to make the world safer and more peaceful for children. Thanks for linking to http://www.stophitting.org in this blog.


    • Thank you Nadine,

      It is beyond me why we even need to point this out. One would think we would put our children first. Maybe that is the problem, people only think about their own children and to hell with everyone else’s.


  13. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Benton. Michael Benton said: Second Blog for the day: http://wp.me/pmSGR-8U http://bit.ly/cmu063 […]



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