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?
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?