Monday, December 14, 2009

Child Abuse Still in Schools?

In her article entitled "Can It Still Be True: Child Abuse in Schools?", Judy Molland wonders:

What's wrong with the education system in this country? Every industrialized country in the world now prohibits school corporal punishment, except the U.S. and Australia. (In Outback regions only) Yet here, not only do twenty states permit corporal punishment in public schools, but in the 2006 - 2007 school year, 223,190 school children in the U.S. were subjected to physical punishment. And that's just the cases that were reported.

As the National Assocation of School Psychologists states, "Corporal punishment negatively affects the social, psychological, and educational development of students and contributes to the cycle of child abuse and pro-violence attitudes of youth." Shouldn't this be a no-brainer for anyone involved in education?

It's a sad statement on the U.S. that there has to be a school law banning the use of mechanical restraints, prohibiting the use of restraints that restrict breathing, and forbidding staff members to deny students water, food, clothing, or access to toilet facilities in order to control behavior. But at least we can thank Representatives Miller and McMorris, and Senator Dodd, for introducing this legislation that will begin to address this issue, by outlawing the worst cases. And then we can wonder: what do educators think they are achieving by physically abusing a child?

A school discipline policy should be designed to guarantee the safey of students and staff, create an effective learning environment, foster respect for others, and teach students how to resolve conflicts.

Corporal punishment achieves none of these goals, so why is it still around?

What do you think should be done to deal with this?

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