Paddling is being introduced into a Georgia school even though evidence proves corporal punishment is harmful and racist
An east Georgia public charter school is planning on bringing back paddling as a form of disciplining students–and a third of the parents have signed a permission form consenting to the action.
“In this school, we take discipline very seriously,” said Jody Boulineau, Superintendent of the Hephzibah, Georgia, school system. “There was a time where corporal punishment was kind of the norm in school and you didn’t have the problems that you have.”
So far, the school reports that about 100 forms have been returned to the school by parents, and about 30 of them are allowing paddling.
“I’ve heard, “Great, it’s about time, we’re so glad that this is happening again, they should’ve never taken it out of schools,’ all the way to ‘Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe you are doing that’,” Boulineau said.
The school said that children will only be paddled after a third offense and that no more than three paddle strikes will take place. Children whose parents do not consent to the paddling policy may face up to five days of suspension from school in lieu of corporal punishment.
Writer and journalist Nicole Cliffe was quick to point out on Twitter that even though corporal punishment is still legal in 19 states, it is racist and ineffective – it doesn’t help test scores or discipline issues at all.
If you don’t already know, the states that still allow paddling in public schools wind up with exactly the stark racial discrepancies in who gets hit and who gets a Stern Warning that you might expect. https://t.co/Jwat0Fzwsg
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 9, 2018
The stats are very stark and very depressing and mirror the way this shakes out for the death penalty, and there is a weird group of old dudes who love talking about how it’s what The Kids Today Need and it’s gross and weird.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 9, 2018
NOT TO MENTION, there are plenty of kids who know damn well their parents can’t afford for them to get suspended bc they can’t miss work to watch them, and they wind up picking swats instead, and oh boy, that isn’t something that sits right with me.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 9, 2018
There are loads of schools that paddle, and they are not magically bastions of discipline and calm, nor do they have fantastic test scores v schools that don’t. We don’t need government employees hitting kids on your tax dime.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 9, 2018
It’s absolutely legal in nineteen states, this is not some tiny fraction of the country.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 9, 2018
I really promise this is my last tweet on the matter, but think about the kids with ADHD, autism, etc, diagnosed and undiagnosed, who wind up getting physically punished by their schools for behaviors that they have no control over!— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) September 10, 2018
The information that Cliffe shared has been confirmed in studies.
A report that was published this spring in Tennessee found that corporal punishment is disproportionally used on students with disabilities, and that in the 2012-2013 school year, 2,000 students with disabilities were physically punished at school.
People responded to Cliffe’s thread by sharing their own stories about corporal punishment–and these statements reinforce the idea that corporal punishment and paddling is harmful.
I grew up being paddled at a few schools in south Louisiana. I remember one principal even drilled holes in his paddle. 😪 One time i got paddled because my shorts were considered "too short." a grown ass man paddling a young girl for shorts being too short? gross.— dragon age fan account (@mulder_w_fox) September 9, 2018
So 30 years ago, I got paddled in school (south Louisiana), no consent form needed. 22 years ago, I got a consent form asking if they could paddle my youngest and I said no. Today if my kids’ principal even asked, I’d pull them from the school.— Grammaticus Finch (@briankspears) September 10, 2018
Several studies have found that harsh physical punishments don’t improve test scores or academic performance, while states that ban such punishments have kids with higher test scores. Also: students who were physically punished in school report higher rates of future anger, fear, and depression. This study also found that even students who are not paddled are emotionally affected by their environment.
It’s not “controversial punishment.” It’s abuse.