When two teenage girls were paddled at school by male assistant principals, some parents got angry. It wasn't over the punishment, but over the school having an educator of the opposite sex deliver the punishment. (Sept. 26)
Texas’ Springtown Independent School District, which practices corporal punishment (paddling) as a disciplinary measure, has an overall academic performance rating in the bottom 40%. Without political-correctness massaging of the data, it means that, on average, 40% of the students perform at or above the state standard, and that 60% of the students are below the standard and failing. Sarcastically, but realistically, one could conclude that paddling and the fear of punishment has intimidated 40% of the student to perform well and that it had the opposite effect on the failing 60% students.
Jada Watt and Taylor Santos are two beautiful and self-respecting young females at the Springtown High School, paddled by a male vice principal. According to their mothers, both received lasting bruises as evidence of abnormal force used by the male vice principal. A week after the paddling of her daughter Taylor, Anna Jorgenson, who opted for paddling in lieu of detention or suspension, stated, “Her butt is still bruised and I don’t think that should be considered normal.” Taylor Santos is reportedly “a good kid.” Superintendent Michael Kelley cited a lack of women administrators to carry out spanking to female students, changing the regulation to justify a male administrator executing the paddling with a female witness present. This is strikingly similar to a dictatorship from the “Department of Execution,” rather than from the Department of Education.
Nevertheless, parents are required to notify school officials in writing whether they prefer other forms of discipline to paddling. Most schools throughout the United States subscribe to the belief that discipline, a non-punitive process for students needing discipline, seeks for them to internalize good values such as empathy, respect and taking responsibility for their actions. If humans are “good” because of fear of punishment from authority figures, then we have not progress much from the stage of barbarism to the stage of civilization. Typically, we do not teach obedience and good behavior to dogs and other animals by punitive actions but by rewarding good behavior and withholding rewards for bad behavior.
More than 2000 years ago, Aristotle settled many issues we struggle with today. “I have gained this by philosophy (life’s experiences): that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law; “Law is mind without reason; “Torture to obtain the truth is to be given no credence; and “All men by nature desire knowledge.” One is not an inspiring or model human being if one pursues goodness out of an abundance of fear of punishment, rather than from inherent goodness, in spite of unrewarding consequences. Most human are inherently good. Paddling children and people in general perpetrates an uncivilized action on the recipient that is also depersonalizing, dehumanizing, invasive, and in the case of males paddling or spanking teenage females and females paddling or spanking teenage males, it has sexual connotations.
Parents in Texas need a strong dose of self-empowerment. Otherwise, parents, sooner than later, would be paddle for complaining or for failing to paddle their children. You need to put an end to the viciousness that produces generations of punishers and abusers. Who will pay for the psychotherapy that victims of paddling invariably require?
Additionally, corporal punishment and the fear from corporal punishment contradict the eight principles of learning: Readiness, Exercise, Effect, Primacy, Recency, Intensity, Freedom, and Requirement. You can obtain a copy of these principles from www.wikipedia.org. The principle of Effect states in part”…That learning is strengthen when accompanied by a pleasant or satisfying feeling and weakened when associated with an unpleasant feeling…. Experiences that produce feelings of defeat, frustration, anger, confusion, or futility are unpleasant for the student…” To paraphrase the principle of Readiness, brains learn best when they are in the mood for learning. The principle of Freedom states in part “… That things freely learned are best learned. Conversely, the further a student experiences coercion, the more difficult is for him/her to learn, assimilate and implement what is learned. Compulsion and coercion are antithetical to personal growth…”