Physically Hit Students for Misbehaving in the Classroom – No

Could you imagine driving to work, getting stuck in traffic due to an accident on the highway that you could not drive around, and getting spanked on the bottom when you arrive twenty minutes late? How would you react, and how long would your boss still have a job afterwards? When we treat our children with different standards than we treat other adults, we do so with their best interests at heart, not in an adherence to punishment for not following the rules of etiquette. When parents are not allowed, under the law, to spank their children, why should educators be allowed? Why should the education system allow teachers and principals to “hit” students if they are misbehaving in class?

On July 20th, 2009, Ohio became the 30th State to ban corporal punishment in the United States. It is already banned in Canada, and many other countries do not allow kids to be hit as well. However, it does go on, and there must be a limit to what an educator can do in punishing kids for “misbehaving”, a very loose word, with many different meanings, if ever there was one. If the student was violent, the teacher should call the police and lay criminal charges. If drugs, alcohol or tobacco were in use, discretion should be used, and parents called. If the parents seem nonchalant about it, then possibly involve the police, or even the children’s aid society. But spanking, caning or hitting a student with a ruler? Never.

In 1903, still in a time of defining morals, and some 50 years before women were even allowed to vote, sailors, military men and peasants were spared corporal punishment in favor of fines, termination of employment, reduced salary or other such penalties. If the actions were considered criminal in nature, the police were called, and no forceful means of restraining the malcontent would be cause for criminal charges against the person doing the holding. As long as there was not unreasonable force used. And with our kids, any force by an adult is unreasonable.

And yet, for more than 100 years after this law was made in the United States, we still have over 20 States that allow corporal punishment on our children in their schools, where bullying is outlawed and our kids are supposed to feel safe. Does this make sense? Does it make sense that educators are allowed to hit out kids, but we are not? And, if a teacher hits a child for “misbehaving”, and we can not when they do something really bad in front of us, what message are we sending the children? That teachers are more responsible for the moral upbringing than their parents are. And just think about the embarrassment factor, how the other students in the “hit” student’s class will cajole and make jokes about the kid.

Whatever happened to sitting in the corner with a “Dunce” hat on?

It is never alright to hit a child, under any circumstances, especially if the person doing the hitting is employed by the government to teach our kids. That same government that made it illegal for parents to hit their own children, at that. If we allow this, are we not teaching our children that hitting is allowed under minor circumstances? What happens, then, when there are disagreements in the playground during recess? We would be teaching our kids that hitting is alright, as long as the person being hit did, or said, something that you did not like.

Corporal punishment, or the ability of educators to physically hit students for misbehaving in the classroom, has been outlawed for some time now in many States, Provinces in Canada, and in many other countries. However, it still goes on in many schools, even if in many cases the hitting is geared more towards the child’s ego than their bottoms or hands. No manner of physical punishment can be allowed in our schools, as we are not leaving our kids with grandparents that we trust with our kids, we are leaving them with a school, entrusting their welfare to the school’s employees. When our kids are in school, they are left there to learn about academia, not manners, which is the parent’s responsibility.

When a teacher, principal or guidance counsellor hits one of our children, a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator, the principal, school, school board, State and Federal educational brain trusts, and even the Federal Government can be filed. It is against the law in 30 of the States in the USA to strike a child under 16 for any reason, so it most definitely should not be tolerated in a school by teachers or principals. If a child were to come home and say that he was spanked on the bottom, or slapped on the wrist with a ruler for talking back to a teacher, their parent would be in that teacher’s face within minutes, baseball bat in hand, asking if he was ready for his corporal punishment. Of course, the parent would be arrested for assault, and maybe even intent to injure, and the teacher who spanked the child would go free. Sound fair, or just?

When a student does something wrong, teachers and principles should take the unruly student aside, and call their parents to come into the school and pick them up, even if they swore at a teacher, or were in a fight. Depending upon the severity of the outburst, or even the crime committed by the student (misbehaving in class? Please!), maybe a one day to one week suspension, or 5 to 10 days of detention, or whatever the school board has in it’s rule books for such unruly behaviour to be punished.

But hitting a child for “misbehaving in class”? Not in this day and age, where lawyers rule whenever someone gets hurt by someone else’s premeditated actions. Any teacher or principal who hits a student, not in self defense (there are some very big, very violent kids out there!), should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, both criminal and civil. And just maybe, if it does happen, the money won from the lawsuit would be in the form or free post-secondary education. At the school of the kid’s choice, at that. Now, do you think any kids would be hit under those rules?