As the crime rate in our country grows, teaching our children right from wrong is one of the most important tasks facing educators. At some point or another, this task will require some sort of disciplinary action. In years past, schools used corporal punishment to discipline children. Connie Paige reports that, According to U.S.
Department of Education statistics, more than 600,000students were struck by teachers in public schools in 1990. Studies show that in todays society, corporal punishment does more harm than good here in the United States.
Many states have recognized the problems associated with corporal punishment and have begun to phase it out of their system. Still, many states especially those in the South, hold on to this outdated form of discipline. Research, coupled with the opinions of most health care professionals, indicate that there is a problem. Corporal punishment is not an effective form of discipline in schools.
One of the major complaints against corporal punishment is that many educators misuse it. Discrimination is a key problem in the use of corporal punishment. According to Kreck, Research has shown that boys are hit more often than girls; disabled students are hit more often than students who aren’t handicapped. Minority kids are hit more often than Anglo students. In fact, black children are three times likely to be paddled than white children (Paige, 26). Corporal punishment can also be implemented to an abusive level.
There is a fine line between corporal punishment and abuse. No one can agree on when corporal punishment begins to become abuse (Pride, 8). All states have rules that are supposed to regulate corporal punishment but in many cases these rules are easy to get around. For example, most laws require that a witness oversee the spanking. The witness is usually another teacher or faculty member, often with the same viewpoint as the disciplining teacher (Hagen). Obviously this taking sides can lead to an unfair situation for the child.
Another factor in the misuse of corporal punishment is that it is, or shall we say should be, a violation of the childs rights. According to Carol Kreck, most states have laws forbidding the hitting of animas, prisoners, soldiers, and mental patients. It is astonishing that our children dont share these same rights.
Secondly, corporal punishment teaches the wrong lesson. According to Dr. Gil Simon, a Sacramento pediatrician, spanking teaches children that violence solves problems and stimulates more bad behavior (Perkins).
Children who are spanked also learn that hitting is an acceptable form of expressing anger (Haynes, 65). One might wonder if this might be the root of the violence problem in our society. If it is not the root, it is definitely an underlying factor. In recognition of this, many national organizations oppose corporal punishment. According to Kreck, these include The American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Education Association, The National Parent-Teacher Association, The American Bar Association, The American Medical Association, The Easter Seals Society, The National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, as well as many unnamed others. Dr.
Irwin Hyman, Director of The National Center for the Study of Corporal Punishment and Alternatives adds to the argument against corporal punishment by stating that, Hitting merely suppresses behavior. It gets results in the short run, but doesn’t teach morality. It only teaches fear (Perkins).
Corporal punishment is also damaging to children. Since all children are different, it is impossible for an educator to know how hard to hit a particular child. A spanking that is thought to be beneficial could actually be abusive.
Bruising, hitting in the back, and hitting the legs can easily occur when spanking children. Corporal punishment can also have profound psychological effects on children. Children generally concentrate on the spanking and not the reason for that spanking (Haynes, 65). Many health professionals agree that spanking does not work and usually worsens the childs behavior (Perkins).
Corporal punishment is also emotionally damaging to children. According to an article in USA Today, spanking humiliates children (Pride, 8).
This humiliation could lead to problems like low self-esteem and hatred for authority, which can be detrimental to a childs success in growing to adulthood. Also, spanking often generates feelings .