When you send your child off to school, you're generally not even imagining that a teacher could smack your kid. Or are you? Apparently, this still goes on to the extent that at least one school system sent home an "opt-out" form to parents, to let them choose whether or not their kids could be subjected to corporal punishment. A mother was so appalled that she sent the letter to a media outlet. According to the school system:
Parents or legal guardians who do not want corporal punishment to be administered to their child/children must inform the principal of the school on an annual basis.
I'll be honest. I had no idea this stuff was still happening and that it's so widespread. But apparently, it is.
K.J. Dell'Antonia writes in The New York Times that corporal punishment is still allowed in 19 states. And not even just allowed. Some parents actually want this for their kids.
The school that sent home the corporal punishment permission slip says that "many parents still wish for this to be done, hence the permission form."
Wow. Just. Wow.
The states that allow this form of punishment in schools are mostly in the South: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Although some counties within those states forbid it.
But the weirdest thing? Even if you sign a form saying you are opting OUT of allowing your kid to get spanked in class, it still could happen. An education reporter said that there's not much you can do against a school or teacher that spanks your kid even if you didn't check the box allowing it.
There is scant evidence that corporal punishment teaches your child to behave any better than other methods. But for me, the thing that makes this so egregious is that it would happen in front of other children in class. Spankings don't come with a lot of physical force -- and if they DID, would you want some stranger possibly injuring your child? Spankings are mostly about humiliation. And there's so many more ways to humiliate a kid than using physical force.
I'll always remember back-talking a teacher when I was about 12. His voice boomeranged off the walls as he yelled at me to get out of class and stand in the hallway. As I stood there, quite embarrassed and scared, classes began to let out, and every single kid who passed me in the hallway smirked and laughed at me. It happened decades ago and yet I remember it like yesterday. Absolutely NO physical punishment required! I didn't do much back-talking after that.
Do you believe teachers should be able to physically punish your children? Should it be allowed in schools at all?
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