34. A REQUEST, MICHELLE RESPONDS & (MORE OF) YOUR FAQ’s

MEMO TO ALL: We at TWP have received inquires about some of the severe weather that has hit parts of the south. (Middle Alabama and Georgia) We are just fine with a few trees down in the general area where we are from -But the tornadoes did not hit our county. Also, the snowstorm just meant a couple of days off for the schoolkids.Thanks for asking though!

A REQUEST

Dear Readers: We at TWP decided, after some thought, to make a temporary change to our blog. Our original intention was to give a different perspective on the corporal punishment “debate” because there really was no debate at all. All the other sites and blogs were anti-c.p. and did not even attempt to be fair. In addition, to our dismay, the “anti’s” were saying some of the most hateful and vile things about ALL teachers who use c.p. in classroom discipline. So, TWP set out to give the “other side” on our blog -and we succeeded!

Now that our intended “fair” message is out on the net, we are going to shift some of our emphasis towards “balance” which some commentators have said TWP has lacked. But this should not be misunderstood -TWP is not going to become a “hate” site in which anti-c.p. zealots turn our blog into their own bulletin board. Rather, we want to reach out to those who have negative personal histories involving corporal punishment.

We are doing this for two reasons. First, to balance out our criticism of the militant “anti’s” with an equal condemnation of abusive c.p. in the name of “discipline.” Second, to reach out to those that were abused and let them know that we are indeed troubled by what we’ve heard. We do hope that some who have been skeptical or hostile towards TWP will take this four week period to tell us their stories about abusive c.p. While TWP do not feel that ALL c.p. is abusive, we will read what others have to say about their personal stories. Then, TWP will give weekly quotes and our feedback.

So, tell us what happened -all names will be kept confidential. It is our hope that by doing this change, the people who did suffer real abuse at the hands of educators may be helped to move forward with a “fresh start” in their lives. That should demonstrate to all our readers what we really are like: Professional educators who REALLY do care about people of all ages and want only the best for all!

Just remember, while the rule against personal anti-c.p. accounts has been lifted, the other rules still apply. We suggest readers read our first two posts TEACHERS WHO PADDLE and MISSION STATEMENT before sending TWP your comments. Our DO’s and DO NOT’s are on the first post and the principles of TWP are on the second.

 

MICHELLE RESPONDS

Hi everybody! This is the ex-Bama cheerleader here responding to some comments and questions directed towards me by the readers of TWP. I have received comments and questions ranging from marriage proposals (I kid you not!) to sympathetic (????) to strange and even chilling. Since I’m already engaged, I’ll politely dismiss the “proposals” and respond to that which passes TWP’s rules as previously discussed.

Starting out, you were anti-c.p. What caused you to change?

When I began my teaching career, I was neither pro nor anti. When a person goes through a college program for training future teachers, the last thing they think about is paddling students. That certainly was the case for me being a cheerleader, sorority officer, honor society member -just to name a few activities I took part in. Actually, for much of my college time, I thought principals took care of discipline problems exclusively. The “change” was the hardest thing I ever had to do as a teacher. I resisted changing for nearly three months before I was forced to. (See post MICHELLE GIVES HER FIRST PADDLING ) Had I not given the paddling, there would have been a 5 day suspension for the boy. I did not want him falling behind academically because he was borderline already! Still, that was the worst day of my career and the two paddling I have given since were no easier.

Why not just suspend students instead of hitting them?

I understand the deep anger some have about this issue and I still hate this part of my job! What tipped the balance for me was what I heard about the correlation between students falling behind, having to repeat a year, and the probability of their dropping out of school. In our school district, teachers cannot “socially promote” students from one grade to the next. It is well established that students who repeat grades are HIGHLY likely to drop out. (How one can correlate paddling to the drop out rate is beyond me!) As a southern teacher, I KNOW about the high dropout rate in our region -And I refuse to add to it by having my “kids” fail in school!

Did you actually get into education so you could get to hit children? Isn’t that why all of you at TWP chose teaching?

Anybody who thinks this way has never met us, does not know us, and certainly has never looked at any of our posts. Speaking for myself, I was in a work-study program in college and had a college loan that was paid off only late last year. Thats a lot of crap to go through for the lowest paid profession when I could have picked a higher paying and less stressful career path. Like the other TWP contributors, I got into teaching to make a difference and am succeeding! It is my hope that ALL of our kids graduate from high school someday…and maybe go to Alabama! (Err…Michelle dear, a few of us may differ with you on that last point!)

Did you actually “cry” when giving that first paddling?

Yes I did a little -about like Ricky did. For three months, I had not resorted to it and then one day… The incident in which a girl was pushed off a swing could have resulted in serious injury and that made the difference. It was Jenny that said to me, “Michelle, you know what this means…The paddle or a trip to the office.” That was a LONG walk for me back to my room to retrieve something I had hoped would never be used. As I swung the paddle, I actually bit my lip in order to keep my composure. Even then, I nearly “lost it” when consoling Ricky afterwards. I am so glad that there was an opportunity to have a one-on-one chat with Ricky later. And the other two paddlings were very similar for me.

Weren’t you “brainwashed” by Renee into becoming a paddler?

(HA HA HA) No way! I’m way too independent for that…as my future hubby would testify to. The situation was serious and I knew Ricky was going to be suspended if our principal was involved. Ricky was a marginal student and I knew the risk of falling behind and what that might lead to. (See previous response on “suspensions”) All of my idealistic notions were wiped away -and it still hurts me to this day. But I also feel that I made the right decision. Ricky was fine and admitted later that the paddling itself “wasn’t that bad.”

The young boy you spotted one night in front of the school -Was he one of your students? How did he react to you?

I’ll take it that you are referring to the boy I saw while driving home one evening from aerobics class. Both his parents thought the other was picking him up from school. (They are divorced) The boy was one of my students but that is secondary -I would have stopped and called his mom anyway! Actually, it might have been better had he NOT been one of mine because I was still wearing my aerobics outfit! Since we had to wait 15 minutes for his mom to arrive and that it was chilly as the late September sun was setting, I invited Adam to sit in my car. All Adam could talk about for a week was my outfit! Oh well!

What made you decide to be a teacher?

I always enjoyed school and admired my teachers. I wanted to be like them so I chose education as my college major. I actually started out as a Secondary English major but my advisor bluntly told me, “Go with Elementary Education -I’m afraid the older students will NOT take you seriously and it will be much more difficult.” I’m glad that I took the advice and have never looked back since.

How strict are you as a classroom teacher?

(Giggle) Not too, I don’t think! But as the teacher, I still have to be the “adult in charge” of the class -its my job! Kids will be kids but things are pretty routine in my room with a normal amount of ruckus. When some kids act up, I tamp down with firm admonishments when need be. I am probably more like a substitute mom to my students than anything else.

 

(MORE OF) YOUR FAQ’s

Does TWP plan to compare the suspension rates of paddling and non-paddling states?

Yes and in fact, our next post will have a Fact Check on this topic. So, keep a lookout!

What was the reason for mentioning the Brown v. Board of Education decision overturning segregation? Does TWP support segregation of schools?

TWP’s only reason for mentioning the famous case was to contrast how America changed in the 20th century -FOR THE BETTER! We at TWP are glad that segregation was outlawed over 50 years ago because the U.S.A. is a better country having changed.

What is TWP’s position on the paddling incident in Arkansas involving a “Nancy” in a t.v. program “The Principal’s Office?”

TWP does not favor the paddling of secondary school students and the idea of a male educator paddling a female student is also a very bad idea. Our reasoning for the latter is that such only gives more ammo to the anti-c.p. zealots. TWP is planning a commentary on this soon.

How is the food safety in your school with the contamination problem connected with that peanut butter factory?

Thanks for asking. Our county’s school food supplies are just fine -the vending machines suppliers had the peanut butter snacks removed last year. But Jenny was p.o.ed about the whole debacle because she LOVES peanut butter snacks. Jenny is a “crackshot” on the rifle range (I have heard!) so those *#@% who “poisoned” the peanut butter food products had better look out!

Do y’all travel much or are you homebodies?

We have all traveled quite a bit although it is harder with small children. (Thank goodness for grandparents!) I’ve been as far away as Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. Jenny travels to go scuba diving in places like Cozumel, Aruba, and Virgin Islands. Wendy has traveled Europe several times -but not this year with baby on the way! Michelle (surf-sailing hobbyist) and her hubby-to-be are planning their honeymoon for Hawaii sometime this summer. Hey, when the school year ends, teachers want to “play” too!

How can “armageddon” occur just three years after a national c.p. ban as TWP predicts? Isn’t that a liitle extreme?

What is extreme to us is the minimal reading comprehension displayed by some readers! This question refers to the post THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF A NATIONAL C.P. BAN which TWP wrote last year. First, the three year period in our post is between the passage of the ban and the mythic court case Roberts v. Smith. In our story-post, the case concerned only one school district and the pro-suspension/expulsion decision. Second, remember that all schools have limited suspension/expulsion policies already. Our worst case scenario was that the “paddling” schools would refuse to be lax in school discipline after the ban – the next “options” being used instead. Third, if you re-read the story-post, the big problems of a large (10% to 20%) portion of the U.S. population w/o a formal education becomes a disaster about 20 years later -not in three years. Finally, TWP believes that the growth of mass suspension/expulsion will NOT result in less $$$$ for school districts. Quite the contrary: Student enrollment definitions can be “redefined” by state law. MORAL: You can “ban” something but the consequences are another matter!

Have any of the TWP contributors ever been paddled in school? Have you ever paddled girls?

As to school c.p., none of us behaved poorly enough to warrant that. The reason is simple: What would have been in store for us at home was much worse! Speaking for myself (Renee), my school librarian mom had a 18″ leather strap and promised me, “If I hear any ‘bad behavior’ reports, you’ll wish you’d been paddled!” My momma was a woman of her word and the only two times that I mouthed off to my elementary teachers -I got it but GOOD! There was NO third time. As to paddling girls, the answer is NO -but in a couple of instances, girls have been warned and “put on notice.” However, it has been TWP’s experience that misbehavior by girls is much more rare although the rules are the same for both.

 

COMING NEXT: TWP FACT CHECK #3,

EDITORIAL: A “NANCY” PROPOSAL,

&

“WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP!”

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