We are always finding stories about rouge principals who take it upon themselves to shock kids with electric pens or put pit them against each other in cage fights, but this week we became aware of a bigger, institutionalized kind of crazy: corporal punishment.
Turns out some administrators in the USA still think that beating kids is a good form of punishment. To be fair, we thought all of this went away with bell bottoms, but actually it's still legal in 21 states to beat kids in school! Who knew?!
We couldn't find any research to support the use of corporal punishment in schools, on the contrary -- we found heaps of studies talking about the detrimental effects: increased violence, increased dropout rates and social withdrawal to name a few.
We wanted to be sure we weren't the only ones who thought this was just a touch 15th century chic, so we dug around. What we found was that sure enough, every major professional organization that has something to do with children, behavior, health, etc. was opposed to corporal punishment.
Don't worry, we'll name drop -- how about: The United Nations, The American Psychological Association, The American Pediatrics Association, The National Parent Teachers Association (PTA), The Catholic Church, Human Rights Watch, The ACLU, and hundreds more.
So why then, do educators hit? We spoke with Dr. Kenneth Adams, Dean of the School of Education at Edinboro University of PA, and he told us:
"It appears that those who were on the receiving end of corporal punishment are more likely to endorse its use. Managing a school and leading change requires approaches that embrace actual research as opposed to seat of the pants 'it was good enough for me' philosophy. When I encounter someone who says that beatings actually helped make them the person they are today, I ask...'can you imagine how much better a person you would be if you weren't beaten?'"Let's be clear, if you have to resort to hitting a child to correct their behavior - you aren't capable of being a teacher / principal. The truth is, there are other school districts tougher than yours, with kids from worse families, where they are having better success than your school without hitting the kids. Join the good fight, and help end corporal punishment!
The mission of DetentionSlip has always been to increase awareness of the issues facing our students, and we can't think of a better one to expose than corporal punishment. As such, we are going to be rolling out the "Heavy Hitter of the Weak" award, for administrators who go above and beyond the call of duty to hit their students. Send anonymous nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org