Corporal Punishment in Schools - FamilyEducation
Corporal Punishment in Schools
01/12/2008 at 08:36 AM

Would you ever grant permission for a teacher to paddle your child?

Did you know that in many school districts, it can be done WITHOUT your permission?

I am involved in this advocacy, as I live in a school district that until January of 2007, I had no opt out from corporal punishment in my district. Children were paddled for such things as being tardy to class.

Now, it is banned by policy. Do you know your district policy?

I live in Scotland where corporal punishment is banned.

I am in my 50's and when I was at school, of course it was allowed and happened a lot. Since being banned, a lot more behavioural problems are occuring in schools and we do not seem to have an answer to that apart from the usual punishments of written exercises, detentions or the last resort of exclusions or expelling the child. Although I am against corporal punishment as violence breeds violence, there doesn't seem to be too many other methods which are working.

I would not grant a teacher permission to paddle my child as I don't think it would be of any help, and I am against smacking anyway. This is not the answer, but what is?


Since the abolishment of corporal punishment there has been a noticeable increase in behavior problems. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Violence begets violence, I strongly disagree. A parent disciplining their child with a spanking is not violence. I was spanked as a child, and I rarely spank. My father was firm but fair. I was never violent as a child, or as an adult. I played football for 7 years, and wrestled for 4. All considered violent by extremists. I have never been in jail, or arrested. I drink maybe once or twice a year, but have never gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle after doing so. Why am I such a square? Because I learned at a very young age that for every poor decision I made there would be a consequence. Whether it was a spanking, a hack from a teacher, or a teacher communicating with my coaches, who would in turn work me like a dog. I had boundaries, I knew there would be punishment for poor decisions. What good does it do to yell at a kid? What good does it do to give a child detention?

Most Judges know that sending a person to jail will not reform them, but still send them to jail anyway. If judges took the same stance towards criminals, that Stephy takes regarding corporal punishment and her child, we would live in a very scary world. Why send them to prison, it won’t be of any help? Lets just give rapists community service, because jail will not reform them anyway. In all of us we have an instinct towards self preservation. It is not up to the world to reform a person. It is up to us as a society to make guidelines and when those guidelines, or laws are overstepped, we need to act upon that. A true desire to change has to come from within. What can we do as a society to trigger that desire? Its safe to say that the way we are going now is not working. I tend to revert to the old ways.

The “It wont work” attitude is one I am familiar with. I have a sister who has always used that line when I tell her, her kids need more discipline. She claims that spanking them wont work because they don’t understand, and that she will not raise them with violence in her household. Fair enough, that’s why I cant be around her kids for long, they are obnoxious. I find myself having to repeat everything I say several times because in the middle of talking she usually has to scream at one , for one reason or another. My sister called me one day and asked if I could watch her oldest while she took the other two to the doctor. I said sure bring him over. As soon as she left this kid runs in my kitchen and starts turning on the stove. The gas burners were blazing and I went in and turned them off. The stove was not child friendly , it was the kind with the knobs on the very front. I told him that the kitchen was no place to play, but if he was hungry I would make him something to eat. He laughed and went in to the living room. As soon as I sat down he ran back in the kitchen and did the same thing. I went and turned the burners off and wanted to see what he would do next. I told him to go back in the living room. Yes the same thing happened again. This time I bent down and yes, I paddled that butt. OH MY!! I don’t care. I wont have this behavior in my home. What would he do if I had to use the restroom?

As soon as he was spanked he flopped on the floor and started to hit his head on the floor. This always gets sympathy from my sister. It was nothing more than a fit. I picked him up and sat him down in a chair and told him to sit there until I told him he could get down. He got up as soon as I turned around. Guess what? He got another swat on the butt. All of a sudden this kid was in a world he could not control. I sat him down again. This time he stayed there and did not get up until I told him he could. When he calmed down he let me know that he was going to tell his mother what I had done. I said ok thats fine with me, but dont forget to tell her what you did as well, and how many times you did it. She never asked me to watch her kids anymore. He is now 19 and just a month ago I could hear him in the background calling his mother a B$#%@ and telling her to F%&@ off. I could go on, but enough for now.


We all do whatever works for us personally at home and if that works for you singledad, that's great.
Being an Early Years Practitioner, I could not advocate spanking. I know I am probably going to sound sanctimonious, but even so, I didn't spank and I have four wonderful grown-up children who are leading busy and fulfilling lives. Even my youngest child who having ADHD and Asperger's syndrome was very challenging. He is 18 now and doing very well at college learning car repair. He loves it. 
We don't spank children at work either, but have very few incidences where it would be required anyway. We let the children dictate their own learning as long as it is safe to do so, so they don't feel thwarted very often. We use very gentle methods, and children at the age of 2 upwards can understand more than they are given credit for if you explain in the right way. I think if all nurseries and pre-schools worked in the same way,. a great foundation would be built for children's learning. 
As I said , parents are responsible for disciplining their children as they see fit, and we all have our own methods, and opinions. 


I think the key to deciding if a spanking would be appropriate is to check a couple of questions.  First, am I spanking because I am angry?  Spanking that results from anger  focuses the child's attention on the anger, not the misbehavior.  Second, does the situation merit a strong response?  Putting self or others in danger certainly merits a very strong response. 

    My third question is the one that removes corporal punishment from the venue of school or daycare,  (or non-custodial uncles) and places it firmly in the home.  Is my relationship with the child one of full stewardship?  That would mean I had moral, legal, and financial responsibility for damage the child caused.  There is no place for spanking anywhere but the home.

    I do think that some kids are looking for somebody who is tougher than them.  Think how terrifying  it would be to be 10 years old, and to be the strongest, toughest person that you had on your side.  Because of this, there are lots of kids who find a person that might be labeled as abusive, and have great regard for that person.  It does increase their feeling of safety, to know that there is at least one person, a resource for them, who might be able to help them when they need somebody tough on their side.  SinglDad might be that person, for his nephew. 


I was disciplined by paddling in school and yes, I would consent to it if it were an option in my child's district.


It seems that Stephy and I can respectfully agree to disagree. But Gail , you seem to want attack me on a personal level. As to your questions about corporal punishment and whether it is appropriate. First of all lets remember that these three questions you ask, are your questions. They are guidelines that were created in your head. As to the first two questions, I was not angry, the child did get the message. The second question you asked was “Does the situation merit a strong response? You went on to give examples of putting self or others in danger. If you don’t believe a child who is comfortable playing with a gas stove is dangerous, I wouldn’t want to be your neighbor.

Your third question was quite interesting. In fact interesting enough to give me a bit of a chuckle. You ask if the relationship is one of full stewardship, you then go on to specify me as a “Non-custodial uncle”. If you had just asked the third question first it would have excluded me, in your mind.

As you pointed out I am not the child’s parent, if I were I can assure you he would not have acted in the manner he did. As I stated these “guidelines” you use are yours. In almost all states I looked at, the laws state that corporal punishment can be used reasonably as a means of controlling a child UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION. The states I checked went on to give examples of teachers, parents, parents under law, a person acting “In loco parentis”, and any responsible person acting in care of or the safety of the child. In fact no state I looked at specified that it had to be a parent. As I said, the guidelines you use are yours. When I did spank my nephew, I may not have been within your guidelines, but I was well within the confines of the law.

Your last paragraph, where you attempt to label me as abusive is exactly what I would expect from you.


I think corporal punishment should be done only at home. I personally would not trust a teacher or anybody else I don't really know to spank my child. There have been too many cases of abuse because teachers turned a paddling into more of a beating. Corporal punishment is not banned at my child's school, but it cannot be used without the parent's permission.

In our school district we have to sign a paper outlining our choices before every school year. We can choose from 3 options: 1. No paddling period, for any reason 2. Permission for paddling as the school principal sees fit with a list of infractions that may result in a paddling 3. A parent must be contacted before any decision to paddle is made. Parent is given all the information, has a chance to talk with everyone involved and then decide whether or not to consent to having the child paddled. I do not want the school to paddle my children, I do not paddle my children so I would never give some else permission to do it.

Wow, I didn't know corporal punishment was still in use in today's society. I figured parents would have protested a long time ago on this issue. What part of the U.S. is or was this type of discipline strategy taking place?