Corporal Punishmentshould students be punished physically in educational institutes?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

About a year ago, I saw a reality show, probably on TLC, that followed principals around during the day at middle schools and high schools.  Specifically, they showed how these principals handled discipline issues with students.  It was interesting to see how different principals in different parts of the country handled similar situations.  In Texas, it was interesting to see a principal who had a paddle.  The students who received detention on Saturday mornings could opt out of the weekend detainment by getting whacked on the rear!  However many times they got hit determined how many minutes or hours were subtracted from the detention.  (It was a big wooden, heavy-looking sucker, too!) Most of the boys took the paddle.  A few girls took the paddle, but more girls took detention after seeing how tough to take the paddle actually was. 

As humorous as this was for me to watch, I don't remember them ever discussing the question if the paddle helped to lower the amount of disciplinary incidents the principal had to deal with.  Did the paddle help in reducing the number or problems, I bet not.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see research on that?  Maybe I'll check out ERIC on this topic and get back to this later.  Highly interesting, but in a sue-happy society, I don't think it would fly.  If I heard that someone beat my kid with or without his consent, I'd be yelling down their office door within seconds. :)

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that depends on what you mean by physical punishment.  I would never agree with children being hit or spanked.  I do not think school is the place for this type of discipline (if there is a place for it at all).  In general, corporal punishment is ineffective and cruel. 

There is another side to physical punishment though.  When I was in school, the punishment was sometimes physical if the 'crime' was physical.  For instance, the boy who rolled the front tree with toilet paper had to stay after school and clean it up.  A kid who wrote on their desk or stuck gum under it would have to stay after school and clean up what they had done.  As a teacher, we were not permitted to assign this type of discipline.  I really felt if a student made a mess they should be the one to clean it up.  It helped them understand why they shouldn't do that and appreciate what it takes to fix things.  I did not think that sitting in detention for 15 minutes was an appropriate punishment for coloring someone's locker with sharpie.  It took the teachers as least 30 minutes to scrub it clean again.  Some physical punishments are appropriate, but hitting or spanking is never acceptable.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The school in which I taught that had by far the best disciplined students also employed corporal punishment. It was always an option for the student and never forced--they always had the choice of paddling vs. some form of detention. Believe it or not, at least 75% of the students chose paddling, since parents were not informed of paddlings, but students had to take detention forms home to be signed. The kids knew that they would get in even more trouble with their parents (I should point out that this was in the 1980s) if they chose detention. The kids made their choice, and there was little complaining about it. Today's students have far less self-control or awareness for the need for an orderly classroom, and far too many parents do not back up the school when discipline is administered, choosing to side with their children no matter the severity of the misdeed. Obviously, those days are long gone, and--as you can see by the opinions of the other posts--corporal punishment is considered a barbaric practice today.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If a school has appropriate boundaries in place and enforces those boundaries consistently and effectively, I see no need for corporal punishment in any educational setting.

Even while working with juvenile delinquents in a wilderness setting (where we were trained in restraints and taught when and how to use them), my particular location prided itself on how long it could go without performing any physical restraints.  The fact is, behavior can be controlled with the right kind of boundaries, and the consistent enforcement of those boundaries.

For most, this means catching things when they are very small, being nit picky about cleanliness and orderliness, and following a very rigid schedule.  When students feel emotionally and physically safe, are not taken by the element of surprise, and understand the consequences for inappropriate behavior, they will very rarely act out in a way that would require putting hands on them.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a recipient of corporal punishment myself as a young student, and now a long-time educator, I would argue in the strongest possible terms against corporal punishment in schools. First, in my opinion, it doesn't work. Second, it doesn't teach students anything other than to behave to avoid getting spanked, a very low stage of moral development. Third, it borders on assault, and as a parent, I'm not entrusting teachers with that much authority in any case. Finally, it creates an inappropriate relationship between student and teacher, one that gets in the way of the kinds of  learning that needs to be going on in our classrooms. As #6 said, with a reasonable behavior policy enforced by teachers and supported by administrators, schools can cut down on behavior problems without having to resort to physical intimidation, which is what corporal punishment amounts to.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Those students of the 1980s were, indeed, more respectful as #6 points out.  However, whether it was because of the paddling is doubtful as the other consequences were more dire.  Should there be corporal punishment in schools? No.  Sometimes, there is a sadistic teacher who goes too far as some of us know.  And, since it is practically illegal in America now for parents even to do anything, why should members of the faculty have the right to strike students?

Once again, schools are being asked to do what parents should do.  Being paddled by a parent is usually not going to be an act of cruelty as the parent does love the child.  At any rate, parents need to "step up to the plate" and discipline their children so that this burden does not fall upon the teacher.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have serious issues with any type physical punishment, regardless of where or by whom it is administered. Corporal punishment only teaches a child that the way to respond to anger or a perceived wrong is with violence. It also engenders resentment and emotional harm that will not dissipate soon, if at all. There are more appropriate ways to correct a student--the purpose of any type reprimand, I hope--without getting physical.

This of course does not come close to addressing the problem of unduly severe punishment which could easily be construed as an assault. Additionally, it is difficult to separate anger from punishment in situations such as this; at least in the mind of the punished. 

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to all the reasons mentioned above, another reason to try to avoid physical punishment in schools these days is simply the risk of being sued. I'm old enough to remember the days when students were very much aware of the prospect of paddling with a large paddle with holes in it (to help it move more swiftly through the air). No one wanted to deal with that paddle. But those days are long gone.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, I do not think this is ever appropriate.  I agree with the previous post and I also think that when it comes to such drastic measures as striking a child it should be up to the parents to decide what will happen to their child.  I would not want to allow some teacher whose judgement I might or might not trust to decide whether to strike my child.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to say no, corporal punishment does not have a place in schools. I would have a very hard time with another adult placing their hands on my children. While I know that some schools offer this, I am completely against the idea.

fraserross7 | Student

um peter jack john

fraserross7 | Student
Corporal Punishment

should students be punished physically in educational institutes?

yes if the punishment is too a severe level of insulance

senioreeto | Student

it does not impose any good psychological effect on student's mind but minor punishments are necessary to some extent in order to discipline a child.