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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Bigger Picture: Corporal punishment not just creepy, it’s wrong.

Video provided by Fox News

In the early days of our country’s history it was not uncommon for children to be slapped on the wrists by a teacher for bad behavior. Sometimes children would receive multiple hits per day, or arguably worse, they would be humiliated by being sent to the corner with the “dunce’s cap.” How foreign, right?

Not so much–I came across an article the other day titled, “Texas school district to reconsider corporal punishment policy after complaint.” The article discussed the “paddling” (a form of spanking with a wooden paddle) of a 96-pound high school sophomore by a male administrator. The mother of the young girl was not upset she was paddled, but rather that she was paddled and bruised by a man.

Yes, a young girl getting spanked with a paddle by an older man is creepy, but why would getting spanked by a woman be acceptable? Why are parents okay with their children getting abused? Why are we still allowing this? Why is this not a bigger deal?

I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that the reason this issue is not a bigger deal is because 19 states have legalized corporal punishment in schools. The number left me stunned. Being from Illinois, where any type of corporal punishment is prohibited, I was clueless to the fact that there was abuse still going on inside the classroom. We’ve made it past women’s rights movements, slavery and domestic violence laws, but we have yet to stop the abuse of innocent children…seems a bit ridiculous, if you ask me.

According to an article done by TIME Magazine, corporal punishment cases have included “hitting children with a belt, ruler or set of rulers taped together; pinching, slapping or striking very young children, grabbing children around the arm, neck or elsewhere with enough force to bruise, and dragging children across the floor.”

The article also revealed that children with disabilities were more likely to receive corporal punishment. Red flag, anyone?

Supporters of corporal punishment in schools argue that it is a good alternative to punishing children because it is quick to administer and cost efficient.

However, I find it hard to believe that they cannot come up with a less painful alternative. Have these 19 states ever heard of a “time out” or a visit to the principles office? How about a call home to mom and dad, or an after-school detention? The violence these children are exposed to is sending the message that violence is the answer, when it in fact is not.

Seeing as Marquette has a large diversity of students from all over the country, I thought it would be interesting to question people from one of the 19 states that have legalized corporal punishment. However, it seems those students questioned were just as disturbed by the news.

“I haven’t had any experience with corporal punishment throughout my schooling,” said Johanna Anderson, a junior in the Diederich College of Communications. “In fact, I didn’t even know it was still legal! “Although not many things about Arizona politics surprise me anymore.”

Whatever Arizona’s politics may or may not be, they remain on the list of having legalized corporal punishment in public school districts. Their laws may have stricter boundaries then in Texas, but the point of the matter is that it is still allowed.

Here’s the bigger picture: Our country is over 200 years old, and since our birth we have made tremendous progress. But no matter how much progress has been made, it’s hard to believe we still live in a “free land” when there are children being paddled on their rear-ends by educators. Children are innocent. Nothing they do is ever that terrible. Historically and socially, this practice no longer makes sense, so what will it take for this to stop?

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