BackTalk: Justification for corporal punishment questioned

Physical punishment in school equivalent to child abuse

by ALEX PEREZ//Feature Editor

In today’s society, when we hear of stories that children were whipped or paddled by their principal or teacher, words or phrases such as “barbaric” or “out of line” come to mind.

Corporal punishment in the classroom is uncalled for in any circumstance. There is a moral code in humanity that draws the line for civil behavior. Paddling a child inside the schoolhouse, which is supposed to be a “safe place,” crosses that line at full throttle. 

The image that comes to mind when we think of the American school system should be something that represents creative freedom, a safe and nurturing place for children to attain their primary education to then go to college and be the people they aspire to be. It’s not a place where they should be physically reprimanded for talking too loudly, or in some cases, just happened to come in tardy to their classrooms.


According to new data from the Education Week Research Center, 109,000 children were physically punished in the 2013-2014 school year alone. That’s thousands of students who were physically hit either on the behind, hand or any other body part. The reasoning for these physical punishments is unreasonable at the least. Children all across America are getting paddled for being too loud, or being a little too energetic.

These are children we are talking about here. They will be full of energy and want to yell things, but corporal punishment should never be the answer to getting them to behave.

Understandably, there is need for punishment in the school system. But physical punishment should never be in the conversation. According to the same data from the Education Week Research Center, the teachers who are giving out these lashes are not properly trained on the level of sensitivity the child can handle, much less how to handle them at all. Apparently, students who have disabilities are not left out of this horrible practice.

Corporal punishment is imposing on a student’s civil rights and should be treated as a federal crime as child abuse. There is no difference between a stranger hitting a child at a playground for running around and a principal hitting a student for being rowdy. Just because it is in a schoolhouse does not mean it should all of a sudden be legal for child abuse to occur. Having school authorities physically punish students is an obvious sign that America has a long way to go to achieve a peaceful education system.

In 2016, we, as a society, have grown far away from many challenges in our past, and this should be one of them. Corporal punishment in the classroom is a form of child abuse and is no longer acceptable.

Unruly behavior must be punished in schools

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Staff Writer

Whether there should be corporal punishment in schools has been a major controversy in classrooms in the United States.

Corporal punishment is the act of physical punishment, such as spanking, paddling, or swatting due to troublesome behavior. According to a special report by Education Week, nearly 110,000 students nationwide have been subjected to corporal punishment, with the majority in three states: Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama. Corporal punishment is practiced in kindergarten through high school seniors.

The biggest problem found is that there are no guidelines for educators on how to safely paddle children of different sizes and ages. But you can make the judgement on how hard to spank a 5-year-old versus a freshman in high school. Advocates of corporal punishment in classrooms insist that any corporal punishment administered to a child is proper and safe. A school board will not have someone who is going to hurt a child conduct corporal punishment.


I am in favor of corporal punishment in classrooms. Being spanked, paddled, or swatted in school is better for the kid and the teacher than suspending, being put in ISS, or detention would be. Being put into detention or ISS will allow the student to miss class time and opportunities one can only receive in the classroom. Being suspended not only takes them out of school, but does not allow them to have a proper education due to poor conduct in the classroom.

Corporal punishment allows children to be punished in an appropriate way without missing class time. Having corporal punishment in schools has many benefits. For instance, you can take immediate action by sending them to the office to get swats, rather than waiting for them to be put into ISS. This also gives the student a chance to stay in line while staying in class.

Corporal punishment helps the student learn respect for not only the students and teachers around him or her, but also people around them as they advance through life. Students play on their phones or sleep, in ISS and detention, which keeps them from learning valuable lessons.

The threat of a wooden paddle in the principal’s office discourages disobedient actions by children. It has the same effect of a mother threatening to take her belt out and bust the bottom of a child. Not only that, there’s a chance that if you get in trouble at school, your parents or guardians will find out about it. Then there will be more trouble waiting for you when you get home.

There also is little or no cost connected with corporal punishment. Staff members do not have to be hired to watch students who are in detention or ISS. Swats are normally given by the principal during the school day. This minimizes work hours for teachers and anybody working after the school day to deal with after-school detention, costs, and the student’s time.

Intimidation can have a powerful effect on students. According to supporters of corporal punishment, they believe that giving swats gives students a strong motivation to stay in line.

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