Just when I thought parents couldn't get any lazier, I hear this one. A Catholic high school in New Orleans finally decided to stop the decades-old practice of corporal punishment in school. About time, right?
St. Augustine High School was the lone holdout among parochial schools in the U.S., all of which had given up the paddle by last year, but they finally threw that sucker away five months ago. If that were my kid's school, I'd be baking the administrators a cake and throwing my own little Mardi Gras.
But St. Augustine parents have had a bizarre reaction. They're begging the school to bring back the paddles! Literally, 600 people showed up at a meeting to debate an 18-inch-long paddle being used on the behinds of teenage children. Any guesses on the reason? How about sheer laziness?
Initially I found it puzzling that parents would be showing up in droves to say, "Please, please, hit my kids! Beat 'em and good!" Even if they ARE pro-spanking, we're not talking about being allowed to hit your own kids, but allowing their teachers and administrators to do it.
And I got even more confused when I looked at examples of why the paddle was used at St. Augustine to begin with. Kids were beaten on the behind for minor infractions "such as being late for class or not having your uniform correct." An incorrect uniform was grounds for physical violence? And it was standard practice to paddle entire groups of students for the infraction of one. So one teen screws up, and all his buddies are subjected to physical violence? It sounds like a torture chamber.
As a country, we've seen what happens when school officials have that kind of power over our kids. The punishments did not fit the crimes, and things got dangerous. Now less than half of the states in the nation allow for corporal punishment in schools (yes, that includes Louisiana).
But here's what they've learned at St. Augustine since the paddles started gathering dust. Discipline issues have crept up at the school. And that's meant increased "parental intervention, Saturday detentions, suspension, and expulsions."
There it is folks: the reason the parents are so darn upset that the paddles are gone. Because until five months ago, they didn't have to deal with their bratty teenagers. The school whooped 'em good, and that was the end of it.
Now parents have to actually drop what they're doing and go up to the school for meetings. They have to find ways to get their kids to and from Saturday detention. They have to find a way to keep them out of trouble when they're home all day, suspended for screwing up. Maybe if they took over disciplining their kids at home, not depending on the school to do it, they wouldn't have these problems.
What do you think? Is it a school's place to use corporal punishment?
Image via rachelkramerbussel.com/Flickr