The ALCU posted this article from Slate, and the headline immediately caught my attention. The title is Black, Male, and Disabled Children Bear the Brunt of Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools.
I read the title several times and finally I opened the article, because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading.
According to a recent data analysis from the Society for Research in Child Development, black children, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately subjected to corporal punishment, usually with a wooden paddle or a teacher’s hand.
Are you being serious right now?
Children as young as preschool students get struck, spanked, and otherwise physically punished for all manner of conduct violations in schools, sometimes for trivial transgressions like using a cell phone or failing to complete a homework assignment. Students with disabilities, who are over 50 percent more likely to experience corporal punishment than nondisabled students in two-thirds of Alabama school districts, are often physically disciplined for behaviors that are directly related to their disabilities. A 2009 report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union described cases of “students with Tourette syndrome being punished for exhibiting involuntary tics and students with autism being punished for repetitive behaviors such as rocking.”
Are you really being serious right now?
Can we just back up a minute? Everything I have just read is terrible. Absolutely horrible. But there is a giant elephant in the room that I feel the article is completely skating over.
It is still legal to hit kids in schools? In 2016, not 1855? IT IS STILL LEGAL TO HIT KIDS IN SCHOOLS?! You’re telling me that there is a legal way for a strange, unrelated adult to put their hands on your child’s ass and cause them physical harm?
The post continues
In a 2003 position paper, the Society for Adolescent Medicine reported thousands of students have required medical treatment for hematomas, abrasions, whiplash, and fat hemorrhage as a result of school officials’ physical discipline.
The SRCD’s new analysis notes that states that have banned corporal punishment in schools have not seen a rise in juvenile crime
Yea no shit Captain Obvious! You’re telling me that, in 2016, people are still trying to make the argument that not allowing strange adults to beat your kids with a wooden weapon will make them more likely to commit crime?!
I had to look at the legality of this across the world. Have I just been living in a bubble of good schools, and my peers around me have been getting beaten by their teachers with me being none the wiser?
I came across this handy infographics on Wikipedia, which confirmed my suspicions.
Guys, even Russia has banned corporal punishment in schools, and they’re not exactly known for having liberal pushover governments. According to Wikipedia, even the United Arab Emirates have banned corporal punishment in schools.
I’ve posted before about the cultural differences between the US and Italy when it comes to corporal punishment in general, but this goes beyond the pale. Please, catch up to the rest of the world and end this madness.
Of course if I had known that this was still going on in the US, I would have expected that black male and disabled students would be unfairly targeted. Just like they are the most likely to die at the hands of the police, it is unsurprising that they are also more targeted in schools as well. However, unlike police violence, this problem is a very easy one to solve.
Just ban corporal punishment in schools. For everyone.