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School-Sponsored Violence Against Children: When Will We End Corporal Punishment?


School-Sponsored Violence Against Children: When Will We End Corporal Punishment?

Anthony Cody

The shocking video of an African American high school girl being violently grabbed and slammed to the ground has been seen and shared millions of times over the past few days. Most are sickened by what we see. This incident is sparking a much needed discussion over the use of police to respond to disciplinary issues within a school. Police tend to use force, and students they deal with become criminalized, setting patterns that continue into adulthood.


Corporal punishment of students in schools by teachers and other staff in schools throughout the United States is not new. It has occurred for more than half a century, or perhaps longer than that.

As someone who grew up going to school in the 1950's and 1960's, especially in elementary and Junior high school (as they called it back then), I saw plenty of teachers physically rough up students and even grab them and shove them against the wall(s), for either making too much noise, or for acting up, generally.

I even heard a story that occurred in my old hometown's middle school, back in the 1970's, about a teacher who smacked a kid for deliberately walking over his desk and squashing his lunch, and then, shortly after that, despite having been warned, knocked the heads together of two kids in his class who'd been physically fighting. The teacher was ultimately fired for that.


"This month Congresswoman Judy Chu introduced the Children’s Bill of Rights which features 22 principles meant to protect children. Chu said,
The Children’s Bill of Rights solidifies our commitment
to all of the children in our nation. It gives a comprehensive framework
that ensures children are free of abuse and neglect, have quality
education and a healthy environment."
This bill needs to have companion legislation called The Parents Bill of Responsibilities
which lists the requirements of parents to make sure their children are capable of proper behavior in a public school setting.

"In his 1995 book, “Profiles in Character,” Jeb Bush suggested that if more children were paddled in school there would be fewer school shootings. Florida, where Bush was governor, is one of the 19 states that allows paddling."

What a pile of nonsense worthy of the family from which JEB! sprang. If more parents understood the difference between education and daycare and that if their children misbehave they would be suspended from attending school until their parents met with school officials to discuss their misbehavior, the parents might be more diligent about instructing their children in proper behavior in school. Of course that won't happen because school subsidies are driven by student population and bodies at desks mean $$$ for the school district, its administration, faculty, and staff.

Corporal punishment, as well as training in proper behavior, is the responsibility the parents not teachers, administrators, or resource officers. Determining what is proper or appropriate behavior in class is the responsibility of the school staff and faculty and it should be put in writing and sent home with each student at the beginning of the school year with a sheet to be signed by the parents indicating that they understand the behavior expected from their students in order to be allowed to attend public school.
Failure to return the form within the first week of school should then be cause for suspension of a student until such form is signed by the parent and returned for the school files.


As long as we have a large portion of our society that feels perfectly satisfied with assaulting children to "punish' them for transgressions however minor, schools will perpetuate the violence. So many people applaud beating children, say it "works", and defend their attacks. If they, however, were beaten by someone their own size, they would have those individuals charged with assault with intent.


Violence is violence. There are no 2 ways about it. Striking a child is WRONG just as striking an animal or another adult is WRONG. So many of these type of teachers are bullies and they take their sick anger out this way. In a decent country, this would have been outlawed a LONG time ago. I remember the story of a woman who swore never to strike her children as she was struck as a child. But her little son got her so angry once that she told him to go outside and cut his own switch. He came back in tears and held out his hand. He said, "I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me." She knew then that violence is violence to that child.


Thank you so much for that story, it definitely reinforces the fact that violence begets violence! It made my day, knowing that there is someone else who thinks that children NEVER deserve to be hit or punched by anyone!


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If any parents whacked their kids with an instrument like a wooden paddle , they'd be up on charges and CPS would be looking into taking their children from them .


Not to worry . The cops have total legal impunity . Not only did the cops who threw the flash grenade into Baby Boo Phonesavanh's crib and burned off his face get away with it during a wrong-address SWAT raid , but a judge recently ruled that it was the BABY'S fault because he got in the way of the grenade . What an inversion of logic and morality ! What a trip through the looking glass ! Surreal doesn't begin to describe it . You couldn't make this stuff up .