Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating

10 02 2009

Did you know that chewing gum in class could be enough to get a child beaten? I remember kids getting sent to the principal’s office to be spanked when I was in school in the 1960s and always felt sorry for them. Sometimes teachers would spank the child in the classroom in front of all the other children. I hated that. I saw that and experienced that at home and it still affects me.

Human Rights Watch put out a report in 2008 entitled “A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools.” I had no idea that this was still going on in schools and the more I read of this report, the more upset I got. Here are some things I pulled from the report:

  • 223,190 students nationwide were spanked in schools during the 2006-2007 school year at least once. Administrators admit the numbers are underreported and could be twice as many as reported.
    • 49,197 of those were in Texas – about 20%
    • In Mississippi during that period, 7.5% of students were paddled – the highest percent in the country.
  • 21 states permit corporal punishment in schools.
  • The Austin (where I live) school district does not permit corporal punishment.
  • 106 countries outlaw corporal punishment in schools; the U.S. is clearly out of touch.
  • Corporal punishment in schools has a disproportionate use against African-Americans, special education students, and boys.
Paddles Used on School Children

Paddles Used on School Children

For more information, check out The Center for Effective Discipline website. They have a long list of U.S. organizations that oppose corporal punishment in schools. There are also links to many articles and resources on the effects of corporal punishment, laws, what parents can do, and more.

So what is corporal punishment? Corporal punishment in schools usually involves a wooden paddle about 15 – 18 inches long being swung against the child’s buttocks 3 – 10 times; paddles are often even made by the students in woodworking shop. I’ve read that some paddles are as big as 27 inches and some have holes drilled in them to hurt children even more. For many teachers and principals who spank children in schools, the idea is clearly to inflict maximum damage.

Paddling can be done even for rather benign things like chewing gum, being late, sleeping in class, talking back to a teacher, violating the dress code, walking on the wrong side of the hall, not turning in homework, or going to the bathroom without permission. They even reported a 16-year-old 5-months pregnant girl being paddled for being tardy.
Principals who administer the paddling have done things like turn on the loudspeaker so every class could hear it being done and patrol the hallways with a paddle, ready to strike anywhere.

Hitting a child in the place he/she goes to get an education can have the following effects on the child:

Leads to environment of humiliation, violence, and degradation

Destroys trust between the student and the school

Often leads to real physical injury such as bleeding and deep bruising

Causes children to act out, become violent, become a bully, and even drop out of school

Human Rights Watch urged President Bush to ban corporal punishment in schools, but he never took any action. That doesn’t surprise me given President Bush’s authorization of torture.

President Obama is a compassionate, caring father and abhors torture and violence. Inflicting pain and injury to a child is a form of torture, is violent, and shouldn’t happen in homes or in schools. Children should be nurtured, not violated. Join me in calling on President Obama to outlaw corporal punishment in schools. Hitting a child is never the answer.

You can contact President Obama by going to http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

UPDATE 9/27/09: The Los Angeles Times reported on 9/24/09 that spanking lowers a child’s IQ, study findings that were presented in San Diego at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma. Regular spanking creates chronic stress, leads to post-traumatic stress, and is this is thought to lower the child’s IQ. The more spanking done to the child, the more he experiences post-traumatic stress. The lead author of the study, University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus says:

It is … time for the United States to begin making the advantages of not spanking a public health and child welfare focus, and eventually enact federal no-spanking legislation.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, many people have found this post because they entered words that indicated they like seeing spanked bare bottoms. I had included a small photo showing the effects of school spankings, but have deleted it. I did not write this post to titillate; quite the opposite. I hope it angers you and disgusts  you to the point of finding out if your school system allows paddling. If it does, I hope you will take action. I would never allow my children to be in a school that allowed spanking. I find it barbaric and to work against the kind of respectfulness and safety that is needed for children to be able to actually learn.

This post has gotten the attention of teachers who love to spank and many of them are reading my post. GOOD. Maybe your eyes will be opened to what you are advocating and doing.

What I said is now being called “unfair” on a forum where teachers debate the positive (and for a few, the negative) aspects of paddling. That is beyond hypocritical considering what these teachers are doing to children. It’s unfair to report the facts and how paddling children has NEGATIVE effects on the child? Do they expect us to say “Oh, that’s okay. Go ahead and beat our children, hurt them, and damage their self-esteem. No big deal.?????”

Why is it that beating or hitting an adult is called assault and is a felony offense and beating a child is called punishment and is okay? Our animals have more rights than children do. If we beat an animal the way we beat children in schools and at home, we would be arrested. I found this statement in an article on the www.nospank.org website:

In Texas, if somebody beats your dog with a wooden board for no reason, you’d sue and win. In addition to the civil action, the perpetrator would undoubtedly face criminal charges and be punished. But in Texas if somebody beats your child with a wooden board, and the perpetrator happens to be a schoolteacher, you’d better back off and keep your mouth shut. If you try to seek a remedy in the courts on behalf of your child, it is you, the parent, who will be punished. That’s the way it is in Texas. Family pets are cherished, but children… Well, they’re a different story.

Children have rights too. They are not just objects for adults to take out their aggression and frustration on.

Even on that forum, there are teachers who call corporal punishment in schools child abuse and talk of enormous paddles being used sadistically. I am not backing down on my stand. This is child abuse plain and simple and even on that forum, some teachers say many of those who practice paddling children do it because they enjoy it. Hitting children because you enjoy it? That is truly twisted.

A reader sent me additional information that adds to the shock of what is going on in schools. Some teachers are forced out of schools for not practicing paddling. A teacher was arrested for child pornography whose main interest was spanking. A little boy allegedly shot his father and the roommate because of his 1000th spanking at school. The reader also made the important point that there are children abused at home who may very well be the ones acting out in class, putting themselves at further risk of abuse from paddling teachers and school adminstrators. I even found a site that advises teenage children on how to approach your parents to ask them to spank you and how that will bring you closer together. The more I read on this topic, the more stunned I am.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the comments below. I went to the site mentioned by a reader. A photo from that site is pictured below. For those who think the damage done to a child from paddling is only temporary, I can speak from experience and tell you that the emotional damage done to a child from being beaten like this can last a lifetime.

High School Football Player Hit for Failing Grade while Those Who Watch Know They are Next

High School Football Player Hit for Failing Grade while Those Who Watch Know They are Next

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21 responses

10 02 2009
What’s Buzzing? » Blog Archive » School Library Media Activities Monthly Blog » Blog Archive …

[…] Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating « IT DAWNED ON ME […]

10 02 2009
Catherine

That’s interesting. As a child in Michigan, I threatened to call the police on my father when he hit me so hard on the jaw that I flew across the room. It was the first time that he did it and the last! This is a tradition that has to GO!

10 02 2009
maryanncp

I had no idea this was still happening in schools in the United States. I agree that it need to stop.

10 02 2009
sheryl

There are some teachers that have a hard grip on their paddles. These elementary school teachers are on a mission to keep their paddles. Check them out at http://teacherswhopaddle.wordpress.com/
I’ll warn you now if you leave a comments that disagree with them you will probably get the same message they posted to me at the top of the page when all I have done is send info debunking their so-called facts with links to sources.
These are elementary school teachers!

15 02 2009
sheryl

The first time I came across the teacherswhopaddle blog this is what I read about: A boy being paddled for throwing airplanes including tears and begging. How they laughed about an older man who was still traumatized for his childhood paddling. How a young teacher had to be encouraged to paddle. A notice for people not to write in with stories about being negatively affected by paddling because they didn’t want to hear it. (If they haven’t scrubbed their site of these posts they will still be there or on google cache.)

My question to them has always been. Why ignore the child development professionals who say that paddling only brings negative results? And why will they not hear stories of adults who were negatively affected as children?

Their blogroll: There is a link to purchase paddles. There is a link to the site spankwithlove whose logo is a photo of a child’s buttocks with a heart around it. There is advice for teens who want to be spanked.

They make derogatory comments in their blog about Jordan Riak, founder of P-TAVE (Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education) who has the site http://nospank.net/main.htm Look at his site and then ask yourself why they write so negatively about him?

Look at these pics of children paddled at school: http://nospank.net/violatn.htm

Just last week a 9 yr old boy was paddled 3 times in one day in Bainbridge, GA. His mother took him to the emergency room and then called the police. If she had inflicted those injures she would be in jail and her son would be in state custody.

But paddling is so effective that it had to be used 3 times in one day?

There is a VERY long list of U.S. organizations who oppose corporal punishment:
http://www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=usorgs
Note all of the educational organizations.

23 02 2009
You Have the Power » Blog Archive » Straight From the Horse’S Mouth » Blog Archive » Rock, Paper, Scissors

[…] Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating « IT DAWNED ON ME […]

17 04 2009
Child Abuse Survivor » Blog Archive » Carnival Against Child Abuse April 2009

[…] Speaking of schools, in a completely unrelated context, Diane Beeler talks about Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating. […]

17 04 2009
MarjakaThriver

Thank you so much for allowing us to use this post for The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, which is up today.

17 04 2009
Nancy Richards

I’m shocked! I too, went to school in the 60’s where corporal punishment was very common (and horrifying to me). I didn’t know so many schools still practiced this barbaric form of “punishment.”

Thank you for calling attention to this atrocity in schools.

18 04 2009
Kim

Wow. I had no idea that this was not 100% outlawed in all US schools. I’m literally sick to my stomach reading this post. With a daughter about to enter Kindergarten in the fall, I’m going to be darn sure this will NEVER happen to my baby. Thank you for a most informative post.

9 10 2009
GeneTinsley

what a great site and informative posts, I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

26 10 2009
Scot

I am from Canada, a rural community where everyone knows everyone. Relatives, neighbours, friends all in the same classroom. I still live here and still suffer the shame of the beatings I received in that school in 1972-73. I was 8 years old when I had a teacher who used to call me out all of the time. Only me.
It started with being sent to the corner, often. She had a temper and liked to yell. I was scared to death of her. One day instead of the usual nose to the corner up front, she decided to spank me. So she took out a chair, placed it front and center and sat down. She laid me across her lap and hit the seat of my pants many times.
Once finished I was sent to the corner. This happened I would say once in a week or twice a week or even three time in one week. It was often. The corner also included one of those portable display boards in which to hide me behind, to further disgrace me.
One time after being put over her knee I felt her fingers reach under the back of my pants and lift. She let go though and I remember the elastic snap against my skin. She proceeded as usual to spank me with her hand many times. I would say anywhere between 25-30 whacks was usual.
One day we were up walking around and she got mad and threatened us. The next one who walks behind my desk is in big trouble! Well I got pushed or funneled or crowded and ended up behind her. She screamed for everyone to get back to their seats. This meant hands folded, eyes forward and quiet.
She took out the chair and sat down. She unbuttoned my pants and opened my zipper. She made my pants lose around my hips by opening the front wide. I remember staring down and watching it happen with no control over it. I remember hoping my pants wouldn’t fall down to the floor they were so loose. She lifted up and over across her lap. She pushed my shirt all the way up to my neck and over my shoulders/over my head.
She then pulled my pants and underwear down to about just below my knees. By now the children were squirming or shuffling in their seats. I heard whispers etc. and she screamed. “The next one to make a sound will be next!!”
Not another sound as she proceeded to slap my bared bottom. I tried to hold back cries. I choked on the dry lump in my throat as my eyes filled with tears. It hurt and I pushed up against her elbow. The beating just went on and I grew too tired to fight and my hands lost their grip on the chair legs and I slipped back upside down. I couldn’t do anything but cry in a state of complete exhaustion as she continued the beating.
Finally she finished and stood me up on my feet. My pants and underwear fell to the floor. Her hands were under my armpits in order to lift me thus holding my shirt up so now I’m standing nude in front of the entire class as well. She dressed me and sent me to my seat where I cried in my folded arms. I cried because I couldn’t sit as much as the tremendous shame.
I broke that day. She broke me, and for what…walking behind her desk?!! That was the last spanking I got in her class, in front of everybody.
A while later, I dont know how long, weeks maybe, I was caught playing to rough in the playground. Pretending to be the six million dollar man. She came out in a rage and hauled me into the teachers lounge. She closed the door and took out the strap. Now Ive heard of kids getting the strap on their hands…not me. She sat down and pulled down my pants and underwear and put me across her lap. In front of a teacher witness I was beaten with that strap on my bare bottom and I blanked out!
I dont know where I went but my next memory was me standing in the hall balling my eyes out in much pain. I could not sit on the bus drive home. Didn’t my parents see the bruises at bath time. I didnt say a word to anyone. The kids did that for me. Even today I still hear people at parties saying “remember when?” They tell it like its a great story while I go crawl into my shell in humiliation. Still after all these years I suffer from extreme social anxiety. P.T.S.D., I.B.S. alcohol drugs depression. I hate authority. I have such rage and poor relationships with people. Did this woman think this would make me into a healthy happy productive member of society? And this happened in public school . Some 30 other witnesses. I cant even remember her name or face.
When I read the story above of kids sent to the office for spanking , this is what I think. Not the paddle but a spanking. I got spankings in school. I dont know of anyone else who was punished this way in school. Everyone I know of got the strap on the hands. Lucky them I WOULD GLADLY HAVE TRADED!!
Was anyone else “spanked” in school like I was? Was this legal? Am I alone?
I wasn’t even spanked at home. These were the first spankings I ever received. I got my first pants down beating in front of all the mixed class of boys and girls! Was this fair?? For what ..talking in class etc.

27 10 2009
scot

Hi Diane, I see you wrote that children back in the 60’s were sent to the Principal’s office to be spanked . You also wrote that you witnessed children spanked in the classroom as well.
Are you saying that I am not alone. Other children were spanked like I was. Was the teacher or principal actually aloud to pull down a kids pants back then?
In my mind ….”spanking” ..is something that we got at home. I am the only person that I know of, other than the friend I witnessed, that were spanked this way in school. Did other children actually endure this same particular form of corporal punishment at school. I always felt different, like I was from mars or something because I was the only on who suffered this form of punishment. Are you saying I’m not alone? Were they actually aloud to pull our pants down?

19 06 2010
Wade Ditty

I’ve tried to create a weblog compatible to Teachers Who Paddle. I’m calling it Teachers Who Paddle Exposed. My goal is for it to appear right beside the teachers who paddle on the internet. You can give your opinion on this weblog and it will not be erased. The weblog is up and running but it will not appear on the internet when I goggle it. Does anybody know how to fix it?
Thanks,
Rev. Wade Ditty, Minister, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Weblog: teacherswhopaddleexposed.wordpress.com/
My email address: wadeditty@hotmail.com

8 07 2010
Wade Ditty

Diane, thank you for your response to the post I left on your weblog. We got it going. We have a weblog entitled Teachers Who Paddle Exposed. I work with a college student in California named Jestin, Samson. He’s director of this really dynamic group SAFEPASS, Student Alliance For Education in Peaceful American Schools. He puts the post up every week. The problem is it appears perfectly where he is. Where I am in Iowa, it appears choppy on the screen. Would you look it up and see how it appears where you are? Also would you contribute to our weblog? You can write an article and say anything you want to the Teachers Who Paddle. It will appear on the internet for all to read. I will send it to them, and they may some bad things about you. You can email me at wadeditty@hotmail.com.
Peace,
Rev. Wade Ditty, minister, Presbyterian Church (USA)

8 07 2010
Wade Ditty

Good, don’t be afraid of those women. Will you write a blog for our website? You can tell those women anything you want. We have something in common. I grew up in the South too, Alabama, but I graduated high school five years after you did. Thanks for your help.

Peace,
Wade

8 07 2010
Wade Ditty

I agree totally with you.

Peace,
Wade

8 07 2010
Wade Ditty

You’re a very good writer. Think about and let me know.

Peace,
Wade

29 08 2010
Alice

Gee. I mean I never would have thought of that. How awful! I fortunately never have expirenced that before, and i never hope too. I personally think it is evil, and I would try to stand my guard. note I said try.

22 10 2010
Matt

I thought this kind of punishment had pretty much been banished in this country. I attended school, however, in a time and place where it was very common. As a typical, overactive adolescent boy, I was of course often far more interested in girls and sports than what i should have been doing in school, and therefore was often on the receiving end of many paddlings. In addition, I was a 240 lb lineman on the football team and the vice principal was my position coach, so I got some swats that made it hard to sit down for a couple of days. Probably the worst, however, was the fact that the coaches would paddle us on the bare butt in front of our teammates for minor infractions like poor grades or being late for practice. Their theory was that we were supposed to be leaders and role models and had to be held up to a higher standard than other kids. My response, even then, was why were we then being treated like small children? Especially since they used us (it was 1970) to break up school protests that were organized by other student groups against things like various school rules and Vietnam.

14 04 2015
L goldberg

Ive been suffering from adhd my whole life. Back in the 50’s and 60’s the belief was girls couldnt get that learning disorder. My parents, going through a divorce, my father put me in a private school to avoid the new busing/integration policies. I now believe he picked this school because of their paddling policies for academic missteps. For five years i endured the threat of humiliation and pain if i missed one spelling word or math problem. I sustained 5 public paddlings in my dress bent over in front of my horrible classmates. I was fat, had braces and glasses and if the classroom wasnt bad enough the playground was worse.
When “recess” came i would be ambushed and had my face shoved in garbage…because i was a pig, of course!
I’ve spent years in therapy and fought feelings of worthlessness for 50 years.
Do not paddle anyone! It is assault to the body and the psyche. And getting over the PTSD is nearly impossible. I know i’ve tried.

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