Hitting children in school does not help them achieve academic success. Hitting children in schools is not an effective discipline tactic. Hitting children in school does not make them feel safe in school. Instead, they feel humiliated, helpless, depressed, and angry. Hitting children teaches them that it is not a legitimate way to handle conflict.
Paddling Targets Minorities, Children With Disabilities, U.S. Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Bobby Scott Say
by SARAH NETTER
June 29, 2010—
The debate on corporal punishment reached Washington today where a New York congresswoman introduced legislation to remove paddles from U.S. schools.
While the idea of taking a paddle to a student's backside may seem archaic, even barbaric, it's still a well-regarded form of discipline in some corners of the country, mostly in the South.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said she's hoping to get her bill folded into a larger education package that could be debated later this year. She told ABCNews.com that she sees corporal punishment as a school safety issue that breeds more problems than it solves.
"We know that children that are paddled end up being more aggressive," she said. "They learned that conflict is handled by striking out and hitting."
McCarthy, who was herself rapped on the knuckles in Catholic school in the 1950s, said the paddle may not leave physical scars, but the emotional toll could last for years. Her legislation, she said, piggybacks on previous federal laws outlawing hitting a child in a Head Start program or a hospital setting.
"When you see where the paddling can actually physically harm a child, those are the wounds you can see," she said.
Bill co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., who was paddled lightly in elementary school, agreed, citing studies showing higher dropout rates for students were who hit in schools.
"It teaches the child that if you don't like what's going on you resort to violence," he told ABCNews.com "What kind of message is that?"
McCarthy said she hasn't gotten public pushbacks on her effort, "but I'm sure I will."
Corporal punishment is seen by some educators as an effective way to curb growing trends of student violence and misbehavior. And new advocates for corporal punishment are making headlines with regularity.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights projections for 2006, the most current data available, more than 223,000 children got the paddle, compared with more than 3.3 million cases of suspension and more than 102,000 expulsions.