In many U.S. classrooms, corporal punishment is still the school bully

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It turns out that in many parts of the United States, corporal punishment is still standard operating procedure. A joint Human Rights Watch and ACLU report finds that nearly a quarter of a million students were paddled or spanked last year. Adding insult to injury, black students and special education students received a disproportionate share of the punishment. The Takeaway explores what this says about the American school system and the culture that perpetuates these modes of discipline.
Guests: Alice Farmer, Aryeh Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch, author of a joint report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, and Evan Couzo, who taught middle school in the Mississippi Delta for three years.

Contributors:

Katherine Lanpher

Comments [1]

Dave Benfield

The Takeaway coverage of the joint HRW and ACLU report on corporal punishment in schools was excellent. This is a hot button issue and one that may well find its way into the Fall presidential election campaign.

I suggest that The Takeaway consider doing a follow-up story on the alarming statistic that special-needs students receive a disproportionate share of the corporal punishment still being administered. I would strongly and enthusiastically endorse the report's proposal for a moratorium on corporal punishment for this population.

The Takeaway anchor Adaora Udoji, veteran of Court TV, would be especially qualified to investigate whether there is any way that the schools administering corporal punishment could begin to assure "Equal Justice under Law." This is a basic requirement for a just system and there would be no way to measure and to equalize corporal punishments. Alternative punishments such as time in detention or on community service work projects are readily adjusted and equalized. I see this inherent and irremovable inequity as more than sufficient grounds for the United States to join the international community in a ban on all corporal punishment.

Aug. 21 2008 11:58 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.