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Corporal Punishment

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Infliction of deliberate pain as a retributive measure for an offence committed within an educational setting is archaic and absurd. However, this vice remains widely implored in most American families and schools. It is no wonder that corporal punishment has spurred controversy among psychological and child development experts. Although there is a general consensus that deem corporal punishment as an effective way of getting children to respond immediately, child abuse researchers have cautioned that the nature of the practice can escalate to physical abuse.

It would be imperative to establish a clear cut between punishment and abuse in order to draw a critical conclusion. An attempt of retribution should not transform children into delinquent or aggressive creatures. An act of punishment should be geared towards instilling good moral conduct as opposed to demanding compliance. Children do not learn what is good or wrong in the process of corporal punishment. Secondly, the child is bound not to comply to proper moral conduct in absence of the administer. This transforms the child into a cunning object. This way, corporal punishment is observed to impact negatively on a child’s behavior. Some experts disagree on the existence of the link between corporal punishment and child behavior, but the conclusion is quite evident when analyzing child behavior. Precisely, it is reasonable to disagree.            

Various studies have confirmed corporal punishment to have considerable influence in the behavior of a child. However, it would be indispensable to bear in mind the fact that the influence may be constructive towards the development of the child. Then again, different administrators execute the practice differently. Some adapt the practice unwisely and use it excessively. This depends on how frequent the administrators implore the practice, the extent of being emotional “weight” and coupling the punishment with other forms of punishment. Therefore, it would be pointless to draw conclusions without evaluating such indispensable factors. To begin with, we should identify the impact corporal punishment poses on the child.

First, it influences the child to develop negative expectations. The child has a very high tendency of developing low self-esteem and poor self-control. Secondly, there is a strong belief that those subjected to corporal punishment come out “stronger.” In essence, it shapes the child to be a frequent victim. Thirdly, it interferes with the emotional maturity of the young person and thus influences learning ability. This is even critical since its effects on sensory and emotional development influence the intellectual ability of the child. It also deprives the capacity to relate to the child, the consequences of specific moral conduct or behavior. Instead, it makes the child feel abandoned and sad. This provokes the child to view the administrators as a threat. This negative view of administrators may in turn create a rift between the administrator and the child. More often than not, communication between the administrator and the child is affected. This would even spur a child’s desire to run away from school or home. It provides space for the growth of anger within the child. Such a punishment creates children who feel socially disintegrated from the society. These children with low self-esteem and cruelty may execute the vice on their peers. Children who are used to corporal punishment rarely comply with the regulations of the institution and constantly infringe the rules. In some instances, corporal punishment may result to accidental physical injuries to the child (Save the Child, 2012). Although the injuries may be healed, a child is left nursing scars that remind them of that fateful act.

In America, flogging of children and even the beating of wives is considered unmanly, cruel, and unpopular. The sight of children with lacerated backs and wives with swollen faces has excited pity within the public domain rather than the admiration of the savaged husbands or brutal parents. However, some administrators have protested against such kindness. They believe in the use whips, ferule, and flogging. It is imperative to note that some domestic brutalities are savagery and championed out of ignorance is beyond doubt. Such measures do not accord to moral and societal norms. It is observed that in the current society cruelty and violence have not been embraced as instrumentalities of civilization. The society finds strength in kindness. It also becomes even clearer to realize that the world grows better each day and the approach in executing punishment has evolved in as much way. Corporal punishment is not fit for such a society. The growth of humanitarian activities has forced most democratic states to abandon the practice. In the current society, non-violent penalties are often implored when conducting punishment. Most institutions have developed positive, non-violent methods to instill discipline among children. The trend towards the decline of corporal punishment is encouraging (Kennedy, 2012).

On 7 April 2011, a 32-year-old mother in Florida, Tenika Jones, sued his 5-year-old son’s principal for paddling him (Nies, 2012). Tenika claimed that the principal paddled the 5 year old severely to trigger an asthma attack on the child. They had to take a trip to the emergency room to save the life of the child. Later on the child could not catch sleep as he experienced nightmares and had sustained welts on the buttocks. This is an epitome of the harm corporal punishment would evoke in learning institutions. This controversial method of discipline is however adapted in most schools. In the United States, 19 states have allowed, by law, the practice of spanking in schools. This implicates much harm to the children learning within such institutions. Spanking is usually conducted with a fiberglass or wooden paddle. This can expose the child to accidental physical injuries. Ironically, most accredited Teacher’s College in the United States opposes the use of corporal punishment. However, Tenika has sued for the law to ban such controversial methods of punishment. The trend has developed to abandon corporal punishment and adapt non-violent methods of discipline. Such punishment could include natural and logic consequence or even withdrawing privileges from the children.

There are myriad reasons that oppose the efficacy of the application of corporal punishment in educational institutions. As mentioned earlier, accredited Colleges within the United States do not conform to the practice. This questions the need for its application by the teachers who were trained in such institutions. It is mindful to admit that the practice has no place in the education system of the children. Even in the military, prisons, and mental institutions corporate punishment is not allowed. Researchers have confirmed that children prone to suicide, depression, and low self-esteem are those exposed to abuse or brutal beatings. Corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure does not form part of the education curriculum. Therefore, educators at every level are aware that corporal punishment should not be employed in the learning process (Kennedy, 2012). There are effective ways to punish a child rather than deliberate infliction of pain. Administrators should strive to come up with better ways of enforcing discipline without necessarily inflicting physical pain to the child. The solution is to come up with a code of discipline that forbids unacceptable conducts. The aspects of remediation and retraining are fundamental. Such considerations would destroy the line of abuse.

Private schools provide an edge in dealing with discipline as stipulated in honor codes and spelt out results for infraction coupled with contract laws. This puts any administrator who breaches the contract laws to be liable for suspension or even expulsion from the school. The administrator thus has no recourse and is forced to abide by the terms of the employment contract (Kennedy, 2012). This is an epitome of an effective non-violent strategy implored to impart and uphold discipline. Public schools should follow suit of such liberal measures to enforce discipline within learning institutions.

Corporal punishment has its history in the past. At some point, proponents of corporal punishment defined it as what they experienced in their childhood days and what they do to their children. Evidently, the practice is an old tradition. In 1977, the U.S Supreme Court legalized spanking or paddling explicitly in schools that had outlawed the practices (Farrell, 2007). Although it is evident that the incidences of corporal punishment have considerably declined, the practice is still employed in public schools. Some of the past attempts to legally abolish corporal punishment failed. Such an incidence has occurred repeatedly in Wyoming, Missouri, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas. A legislative attempt to re-introduce a bill in 2007 on corporal punishment was defeated. However, in 2007 laws that granted parents the right to exempt their children from corporal punishment were introduced in Texas and North California. Despite the laws being experimental in the urban schools, unlike the schools within the districts, the laws have greatly influenced the adaption of non-violent methods of enforcing discipline among students. For a state dubbed “world capital of paddling,” Texas had a pursued a relevant step in the fight against corporal punishment.

It is astonishing that corporal punishment is still embraced by some administrators within educational institutions. Experts have observed educators who have difficulty in maintaining order in their classrooms to resort to corporal punishment to achieve control of such classrooms. Some administrators perceive it as an efficient method to administer discipline to the child because it is easy to conduct. A teacher once pointed out that corporal punishment is cost-effective, free and does not require one to be organized. All you need is a paddle (Stephey, 2009). The teacher’s remarks are almost hilarious yet it stipulates the encumbrances experienced by such educators in their pursuit to adapt to non-violent methods of enforcing discipline to the children. Evidently, financial or logistical constraints have emerged as obstacles to enforce other methods of discipline.

The aftermath has had serious effects on the children. Serious medical consequences have been documented by the Society for Adolescent Medicine. These physical injuries are speculated to have been inflicted in the process of administering corporal punishment (Stephey, 2009). Medical experts point out the effects of corporal punishment to be fatal towards the development of the child. It can amount to both physical and emotional injuries. Some of the medical problems associated with corporal punishment include whiplash damage, hemorrhage or extensive blood clotting.

In conclusion, it would be imperative to ban corporal punishment in educational institutions and juvenile correction facilities. Despite the legal paradox experienced among various states, every state should work towards enacting legislations that would forbid corporal punishment. In fact, a national ban should be imposed on the practice by the federal and state lawmakers. It would be equally fundamental to stage national campaigns to raise public awareness among parents and educators on the consequences of corporal punishment (Save the Child, 2012). If the corporal punishment continues against the acceptance of the public and parents, there may be problems in knowing how to punish children. This may result to very expensive lawsuits that may not solve the problem of indiscipline in society.

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