Paddling doesn’t teach a child anything except how to use force to get your way. That’s the exact wrong message to send to our students, who should be encouraged to control their emotions and use their brains to get past challenges. Worst of all is the bizarre twist of paddling students not just for misbehavior but for bad grades. What if a student has a learning disability or simply can’t grasp a difficult subject? Paddling in public schools is simply wrong. It needs to end now, not later.
In 31 states and more than 100 foreign countries, spanking in schools has gone the way of cassette tapes, pay phones and Kodachrome. But, as USA TODAY reported recently, 19 states across the USA, mainly in the South, still permit corporal punishment — typically swats on the backside of a student with a wooden paddle.
That’s not just unnecessary. It’s a bad idea.
Among the unconscionable problems with corporal punishment: Racial discrimination. The U.S. Education Department found that African-American students are twice as likely to be spanked as their peers of other races, USA Today reported. In North Carolina, Native Americans represent 2 percent of the student population yet make up 35 percent of those physically punished, The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded years ago that spanking harms learning and self-image, the paper reported.