Corporal Punishment Returns to Public School

corporal punishment

By Amanda Warren

Corporal punishment is generally thought to be a degrading form of public punishment intended to inflict harm or pain on another. The term is most associated with the public school system as its presence lingered there for some time after it became a more controversial practice. One reason it’s viewed as barbaric is because it is often associated with slave trade and servitude; undeserved and lacking accountability.

Although technically there are states that still have laws allowing corporal punishment, the practice was banned or phased out mainly in the 1990s but already becoming unpopular before that. A lot of you reading this will recall some of those punishments such as spanking, getting paddled, whipped with a belt or cord, or getting knuckles wrapped with sharp-edged rulers. Some people recall teachers pinching with sharp nails or rolling skin between fingers; in rare cases more unusual forms of injury such as being made to kneel down on bottle caps. Some people laugh about those days where parents assumed the child had earned those stripes and may add to them upon discovering the teachers’ punishments.

Some people miss those days. But what I’m about to share with you has nothing to do with the art of disciplining or character-building. Nor is it about toughening or strengthening children to face responsibilities of an adult world. No – the return of this mutated form of corporal punishment is about breaking things down…

Imagine your child coming home with a swollen face for a week, head injuries, brain damage, chemical burns, irregular heartbeat, serious bruising, becoming comatose, requiring full-time care… And these injuries aren’t caused by a mere waif-like marm or a dweebish guy on a power trip – but a ‘roided up, weight-lifting brute ready for war.

Instead of an adult stepping in to help, the behavior is allowed to continue for some time with all sorts of excuses. It’s like a ticking time bomb floating in the hallways, arms folded in the lunchroom, glaring at your children when they walk off the bus.

Have you figured out the very real form of corporal punishment that is burgeoning in the modern school system?

It’s indeed coming from School Resource Officers. Officers sent from police departments to work in the school system. SROs have been found to use Tasers, pepper-spray, baton beatings, kicks and chokeholds as a form of discipline on students in grade-school through high-school.

According to Mother Jones:

Using news reports, the Huffington Post identified at least 25 students in 13 states recently who sought medical attention after getting tased, peppersprayed, or shot with a stun gun by school resource officers.

The US Justice Department spent $876 million to fund nearly 7,000 school resource officers nationwide after Columbine, and another $67 million following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Last March, the US Department of Education reported that 92,000 students were subject to school-related arrests in the 2011-2012 academic year, the first time the agency collected and published such data.

Mother Jones highlighted a few cases that included a chokehold with brain injury, a 16-year-old who was beaten by an SRO with a baton 18 times including in the head and neck, Taser-induced brain injury which necessitated full-time care, and one incident where an officer shot a student to death. The officer involved in the chokehold had already pushed and punched a 13-year-old in the face, knocking the kid to the floor, whom he believed had cut in line in the cafeteria. He not only charged the student for menacing and resisting arrest, he himself was never disciplined for physical abuse on a minor. The 16-year-old he choked unconscious was left untreated and in handcuffs all day. Students say they witnessed more abuses.

As for other individual cases of Tasering students, it would be futile to list and link to each and every one – it’s better to do a Google search if you are curious how often it happens. Tasers have caused over 500 U.S. deaths and are now considered less-than-lethal weapons – why are any weapons turned on students especially given “zero tolerance“? SRO advocates flip out at removing Tasers saying it would compel officers to use harmful force with their hands – does anyone else see what’s wrong with that statement?

Indeed, Huffington Post has been tracking both cases of SRO Tasering and chemical aerosol use on students in recent years. Visit their interactive maps to take a closer look at each incident.

In one incident, they write:

In 2011, a 17-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed by a school resource officer at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, after getting in a dispute with her principal. Following the incident, the girl — later identified in a lawsuit by her initials, “B.D.” — was taken outside to get air, but she never received medical attention or an opportunity to wash her face or change her contaminated clothes. Her eyes were swollen for days, and she had welts on her face for over a week.

Between 2006 and 2014, SROs directly sprayed at least 199 students in Birmingham with chemicals, according to the lawsuit. Up to 1,000 kids were exposed to pepper spray indirectly during those incidents, the Southern Poverty Law Center estimates.

Any reports found on such incidents only represent a fraction of possible abuse cases. As you might imagine, no reporting system exists to track the use of less-than-lethal weapons on students as a form of discipline.

Only Tennessee offers training specifically for officers in schools, but Birmingham is said to be getting some remediation soon. Sometimes the officers are indicted or let go, sometimes they continue injuring until action is taken, and sometimes they must be caught on film kicking, pushing and tripping teenage girls before anyone will believe it actually happened.

One wonders if teachers are feeling more powerless in the face of rapid public school changes including the brute force presence of SROs. They may be compelled to report on parents for suspicions of abuse or ferret out bullying, but look the other way and carry on when an officer bullies a student. More and more, they are fading from their roles as more authority figures like CPS step in to “raise a village.” More like a gulag.

Why don’t more people talk about this abominable form of child abuse – has American been intimidated into Stockholm Syndrome?

Amanda Warren writes for Activist Post – see her recent articles HERE

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33 Comments on "Corporal Punishment Returns to Public School"

  1. I grew up in a southern school where a paddle was used as punishment and it worked very well . there was no problems with behavior and bullshit going on, I fully support the use of a paddle in the schools and if we were not such a mamby pamby bunch of bleeding hearts it would be brought back into use and much of the intolerable actions of our youth in schools would stop and maybe they would learn what they are in class to learn

    • RJ O'Guillory | October 7, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Reply

      …your comments indicate you are an uninformed, soulless individual who has no idea how to properly raise a human being. The word “discipline” means to “teach”, and is not the same as…”punishment”…which is what violence towards a child becomes the second you raise your hand or abusive voice to a child. It is the parent’s job to teach the child how to behave properly, through the use of analogy, stories that the child can relate to, and an inseparable measure of love in the communication of the alternative behavior you want the child to display. The consistent use of the “teaching technique” will produce a well behaved, respectful child who knows how to think on their own, and make better decisions than those pre-disposed to violent, emotional reactions. If you doubt my POV, just look around at all the Americans who need booze, sugar, weed or other mind-altering methods for trying to stay sane. People who beat, yell, spank or abuse their children are simply uninformed, talentless parents who’s only skill was the intercourse it took to create the child. As far as raising the child, people mistake… “fear”….with…”motivation or inspiration”, and they think that by making their kids afraid of them, they will learn to make good decisions. In reality, the kid learns how to avoid the punishment, hide their behaviors…and resent the heck out of their parents as they age beyond the parent’s ability to influence them any longer.
      RJ OGuillory

      • Ex-Marine dad treated all the kids like boots, with predictable results. When the boys grew up to be too big beat up, he started keeping a lot of guns. He knew that we would do to him what he would of done to anyone beating him. The grim joke was on him. We just left him, sitting alone and forgotten in a hospital sitting in a puddle of piss trying to remember his own name. Kids have long memories.

        • RJ O'Guillory | October 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Reply

          …yes…the day my Dad died, I was 22 or so, and I went to work like all other days. My sister called me in the am, to tell me he was having another heart attack and they thought he was dead…I fell back asleep. When I got to work everyone wondered why I was there, but I couldn’t find a reason to not be there. I didn’t speak to my Mother for the last 35 years of her life…and I’m working very hard to get my childhood memoir converted to film, so I hope to see all that idiocy on display, and a much more informed public regarding child-rearing afterwards.
          RJ O’Guillory

          • I’m sorry. That’s very sad; but I’m glad you’ve been trying to use it for good.

          • RJ O'Guillory | October 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm |

            ..thanks…you either have to lose the anger and find something productive to do with it…or it will take over your life and hold it hostage. I was never willing to give up my happiness or sense of fulfillment for people lacking in character and ethics. I find humor in almost all aspects of life…(my book is hilarious). I’ve lived all over the world, seen a lot of places, received a personal tour of Air Force One, survived driving off a 200 foot cliff at 70mph while in a post-seizure-fugue-state that I recall none of…and after discovering at the age of 49 that I’d been epileptic my whole life, and my parents just ignored it. When you have had the great experiences in life that I have been able to achieve…you grow a great deal…which is what life is all about. I’ve had a lot of fun. Regards…RJ

          • Wonderful…I’m glad to know this! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, seems to be your philosophy. Very good!

          • RJ O'Guillory | October 8, 2015 at 3:57 pm |

            …last I heard…we only get one ride on this little blue ball…I decided a long time ago that I was not going to allow anyone or anything…(as much as life allows)…I wasn’t letting anyone steal my joy….or define my life for me.

    • Punishment itself is a completely wrongheaded idea. No one has the right to punish anyone. And anyone who thinks punishment is a moral right or duty does not have a mindset capable of making correct decisions or choices.

      This is exactly why such harsh treatment was begun by psychopaths with power who wanted to damage and destroy the innate goodness in human beings. Unfortunately, they had a lot of success with that in the past, but it’s time now to see the errors in that approach and the truth that there is no good in it whatsoever.

    • Try it in public, you’ll be arrested for assault. Try hitting your neighbor or his dog with a wooden paddle, why is it ok for adults entrusted with our children’s education and safety to hit them with wooden boards? It’s unacceptable violence that induces fear, causes injuries, educator arrests and federal civil rights lawsuits NOT COVERED by school district liability insurance because the act of violence is DELIBERATE. TN, Morgan Co. Schools was sued for $1.7 Million by Parents for excessive paddling of kindergarten student twice in one day, the assistant principal was arrested, the child was injured and traumatized, for what? To teach that violence is acceptable? See SCHOOL PADDLING BLOG dot com and decide if you want school employees hitting your child with an old wooden board that was probably made in someone’s garage and has been used for decades. Think, the people who cut your hair have to be trained, tested and certified, yet there is no training or safety standards to hit children with wooden boards in schools causing injuries and trauma to children.

    • You are emotionally dissociative and extremely aggressive. These traits are very common in those who were beaten as children. You seek to blame and disrespect the child and you also have that in common with those who are beaten in their childhoods. It is the majority of damaged and frightened individuals like you who has brought the US to where it now is: an islamochristian, childbeating police theocracy unable to pay its bills.

  2. Discipline is the PARENTS responsibility. If the child misbehaves & teacher can’t handle it the parent should be called not the police. As far as school officials paddling kids ; don’t you dare unless you want assault charges. Same goes for cops.
    Back in the 60s our principle threatened to do this to me for something he THOUGHT I had done [smoking] & my mother told him on the phone he would be arrested if he did. I grew up fine & never got in any trouble nor have I ever smoked a cigarette. By the way he was blowing smoke in my face during the interrogation.
    I had similar confrontations with overzealous school officials wanting to inflict physical punishment for minor infractions [like defending themselves] or refusing to protect my [ straight A ]children in the 90s & always prevailed in protecting my kids. If I were raising kids today I would have to home school I’m afraid. Too many downsides in the public school system.

    • The smoking story is funny. I don’t understand why it was ever necessary for school staff to do the whipping. I just feel like they would take their aggression out on kids. It even happened in the Little House on the Prairie books with Almonzo Wilder. And in the movie How Green Was My Valley

      • Parents who hit children always do it out of anger and it takes anger to set aside empathy. If not for that loss of empathy then people would be appalled at what they are doing. This is why when someone who is not emotionally connected to the abuse, aka the spanking, is so upset upon witnessing such sick acts of violence.

  3. Randje K Randje | October 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Reply

    Well…its another one of those gray areas to me. Not the violence aspect, as that obviously has no place in education, but owing to the mutant condition of humanity and the mutated systems we necessarily create, engender mutant reactions to mutant behavioral issues, and so on. Many of these are emotionally dysfunctional students–often from violent upbringings, and often bringing violent behavior into the schools–which creates a witch’s brew of fear & overreaction that compounds an endless array of neurotic reactions & counter-measures.The fundamental problem is the SOCIAL CONTEXT in which this facsimile of a learning institution operates, and this never brought under scrutiny. But by far the most important argument against sanctioning violence in schools is the presence of predatory and twisted people who harbor an internal urge to commit physical harm to weaker individuals. Such people exist in alarming numbers in American culture (for confirmation just go to youtube and watch random videos of police interacting with the general public) and are often drawn to professions that will enable them to express the psychosis. I was subjected to corporal punishment on several occasions as a child, in several schools (public and private), and we students knew well the teachers who relished the prospect of misbehavior so they could express their particular penchant.

    • Don’t forget many of those unbalanced individuals are on steroids or head meds themselves. My kids have seen a teacher meltdown standing on the desk screaming at the kids.
      At the other end of the spectrum my sister in law, with a masters in education, has had students that were so bad that she marched them down to the principle’s office and refused to let them back in her class period.
      I ran the equestrian program for 300 young girls in a Girl Scout summer camp in 1999 & 2000. 50% of the kids were on head meds & antihistamines. This made for a VERY dangerous scenario in group lessons. Because of medical HIPPA I was not allowed to know what they were taking so I threatened to walk unless they gave them their meds AFTER the riding lessons. The difference was night & day. We had a safe& fun summer & the kids declared it the best camp ever.

  4. No one should beat children, not the parents or the school officials. It is a crime against God. Violence only causes more violence and that is the state in which we find ourselves now in America, even without the phony psyop shootings designed to overturn the 2nd amendment.

    • No one mentioned a beating…..only a paddling. It is called discipline.

      • It’s called savagery. To a child it’s the same thing. To God it’s even worse. Discipline is setting an example. Your generation is just plain wrong. Look at all the proven damage spanking and beating both have done. If you didn’t make the child then you shouldn’t break the child. It’s not a rite of passage to abuse a helpless child just because your parents did it to you. You will see later when the karma comes back and you will remember this post.

        • I believe a closer and more realistic view of this gods thoughts would show clearly that it set the example. Viewing the writings in that holy book shows a lot worse decreed by said god.

          Also attaching such a strong word as “savagery” to the concept of discipline is quite hypocritical when measured against the bibles ideas.

        • You are the one calling it savagery. If you have had the misfortune of being beaten I suggest you get help for that. Yes, I agree that does happen. It is wrong and should not happen. But what I am talking about and what most people mean is Discipline. If you were not a Classroom Teacher as i was for 30 years you do not know my experiences with children. Don’t infer than I am a brute or a child or person beater. I do not know what Karma is but I do know about the lessons of our Good Lord. I wish nothing but good things. All of a sudden punishment of children is wrong in the 20th Century and beyond? Because you say that it is does not mean it is.

  5. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and we had a Paddle at School and it was used. Usually in those times if you got paddled at school the next day the Parents showed up and Paddled you again in front of the class. That does not include the one you got at home for having gotten paddled in the first place. Parents are the cause of a lot of what ills Society today. The “Don’t touch My Kid Philosophy” has not served them well but they will never admit it. How do I know this? Those parents are my children and a lot of others children out there. They were raised strict but you can’t fight the Cultural Marxism that has been going on for awhile. At the same time those same kids that my children are not showing discipline to are well behaved when they visit their Grandparents or they will find themselves outside of the house and off the property. No Cultural Marxism at Grand Paws House.

    • RJ O'Guillory | October 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Reply

      …you simply wanted compliant slaves or potted plants for children…you never really wanted to invest your time or attention in raising them properly. You never really wanted to direct the effort necessary to teach them how to make good decisions. Or, you are incapable of either making good decisions, or teaching others how to do so…therefore you endorse the beating of a small creature that doesn’t know the difference in acceptable behavior, and only has an animal such as yourself to follow as an example. What a waste of human flesh you turned out to be.
      RJ O’Guillory

  6. Those people who wear their abuse as a badge of honor are the ones whose abuse has done even more damage than the others. They can’t even recognize or admit that they’ve been abused.

  7. LAUSD and other California school districts were sued by the ACLU to stop punishment of students for defiance. The ACLU prevailed. Luckily I retired as a teacher before this decision was rendered. My former colleagues still working describe classroom scenes worthy of bedlam. One handed out the final exam to his students only to be told “We’re not doing f—king exam. Shut the f— up.” Under the present protocol his only recourse was to “counsel” the young scholars. Policies like the preceding and Common Core are producing a generation of dysfunctional ignoramuses easily controlled by the Super-Orwellian Police state operated by our parasitic, genocidal rulers.

  8. kennyalligood | October 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Reply

    I would think that if these parents were to stop and recognize what public schooling really is the decision for home schooling would be fundamental. Bullying, drugs, gangs, indoctrination and violence just to name a few. After recognizing that school is only an institution to mold children into mindless automatons that are compliant to any statist command and agenda it would be easy for another alternative to be sought and followed. But our society had made it hard for a family to survive and it all boils down to where the priorities lie I suppose.

  9. US Education Paradox: Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters HIT CHILDREN with wooden boards to Punish with IMMUNITY 2008 Human Rights Watch and ACLU Report “A Violent Education” Fear, Pain and Sexual Undertones to Punish Children in Public Schools. Federal Bill #HR2268 Sponsored by Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings to Abolish Corporal Punishment of Children in America’s Public Schools is Languishing in Congress NOW for the 4th time. See 3 minute Documentary Movie Trailer “The Board of Education” by Jared Abrams on YouTube

  10. I do not understand why people use the word discipline when describing child abuse. You can not discipline another person, you can punish them and abuse them but only they can discipline them self. It is child abuse to hit a child, pure and simple.

    • I agree that strangers have NO right to touch a child in such a manner.
      I did not allow it when mine were in school.
      Frankly, I was the LAST parent they wanted to see coming if one of mine were in need of their version of “discipline” .
      I was very clear. You are to call ME if there is a problem. That is my job as their Mother.
      My children were never disciplined nor punished on someone elses say so.

      I talked with my kids & led by example.
      I treated them with love & respect & expected the same.
      There were times (rare) that talking did not work. Nor did grounding.
      When it reached that point I sent them to the willow tree . They were to bring back a useable switch.
      They did.

      They were taught responsibility , self respect & respect for others.
      To take pride in the things they did.
      I encouraged them in all things.
      To think on their feet.

      My kids were never corrected in anger or in front of other people.
      They always knew & understood the reason for what ever the discipline was.
      Never sent them to bed without supper either. I never understood that one either.
      Treat your kids like miniature people with thoughts & feelings & they will grow to be good men & women.
      Mine did.
      I am very pleased with their choices in life & I not only love my kids, I LIKE who they have become.
      Can you tell I am a proud mom?
      God said as the twig is bent so shall it grow.
      I tended my garden responsibly.

  11. Being that you quickly made your Mind up about me…I can do the very same thing…… ya go. Bye Now.

  12. Child abuse is illegal. If a security officer abuses a child, others have every right to intervene and if necessary, prevent any further abuse by violence if required.

  13. The US is an Islamochristian, childbeating, police theocracy where the rule of law has given way to prejudice, superstition and brutality. Massive and public abuse of the child by police and others whose duty is to protect the child is not surprising.

  14. This was very common in public school. In my small elementary and middle school the teachers frequently used paddling or kneeling punishments. A few of the female teachers used the kneeling punishment on me. To me it was worse than a paddling. If a student misbehaved or was distracting the class. This was the category that I fell into lol. I remember that I had to kneel with my hands on top of my head with my nose touching the chalkboard. Another situation was for recess having to kneel on concrete facing the wall. This definitely taught me a lesson due to embarrassment!

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