6. PART I: POLICY SUGGESTIONS

PART I: POLICY SUGGESTIONS

 

This blog by TWP is intended to be a starting point for a honest debate about corporal punishment’s place in U.S. schools. The suggestions and opinions are only ours at TWP and may or may not be the policy of an individual school district. These suggestions and opinions come from actual educators in the field and not from an “ivory tower” perspective of a university faculty person who has never been in a school classroom.

 

POLICY SUGGESTIONS

We at TWP decided, that in order to present our suggestions in a coherent manner, to subdivide this section by the hierarchial ranks of the school district from ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD at the top to STUDENTS at the bottom. A quick glance will reveal the absence of PARENTS in our “educational chain.” This was purposeful because we at TWP feel that parents DO have a meaningful role to play- just not in the daily operation of the school classroom. That is where in loco parentis (in place of the parent) comes in. We did set up a separate section to address to parents the concerns of TWP.

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ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS: In our opinion, these elected officials should be at the top of the school system ladder because they represent the community that elected them. While beyond the scope of this blog, we also believe that it is bad policy for there to be appointed school boards- who will represent only the persons that did the appointing. As such, the elected member WILL reflect the consensus of his/her community when it comes to the role of policymaking. This is why we at TWP are adamant about school boards, preferably elected, deciding school policy- especially corporal punishment policy. However, the opposite is happening in certain parts of the U.S. where state legislatures are trampling local policy-making authority by the enactment of total bans on all corporal punishment. The viewer needs to think about this: The same people who debate tax policy, budget issues, and of course ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS are going to tell 4th grade teacher Ms.Smith how not to manage her classroom! And we do not want any “help” from Congress-those morons have f@#%&* everything else so HANDS OFF OUR SCHOOLS-y’all in D.C. have done enough damage already.

SUGGESTION 1: While states who have already banned c.p. are a lost cause, in the 22 states where it is still legal, local school boards with c.p. need to make it clear that any future state ban will mean that the state will be given ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY for operating the local schools. TWP believes that state governments will reconsider if they have to coordinate 1,000’s of school bus routes state wide- not to mention hiring/firing personnel (1000’s), cafeteria menus (10,000+) and so on…

SUGGESTION 2: On the implement and technique side, the board could follow our tips in the last blog by TWP. (See IMPLEMENTS and TECHNIQUES blog) The policies would raise some eyebrows- but eliminating bad implements and techniques, which only increase the odds of unwanted bruising, is a no-brainer. Also, school boards need to endorse a consistent policy such as DEFAULT CONSENT and back it up with additional policies that will automatically suspend misbehaving student if a parent so much as “scribbles” on the consent form. (See LEGAL ISSUES blog)

SCHOOL DIRECTOR/SUPERINTENDENT: This designation includes all central office personnel who are in a supervisory capacity but excludes staff or clerical office workers. Directors, assistant directors, coordinators and so forth all tend to work in an office setting away from the schools they administer. However educratic that may seem- it does serve a purpose. Like top generals to the President, these administrators report directly to the school board and see to it that the policies are transmitted to the principals who are over individual schools. ( In TWP’s opinion, too many educators aspire to these positions instead of the #1 job-TEACHING!)

SUGGESTION: All administrators need to remember that they are not quasi-board members. Rather, they should try to represent to the board the front-line employees (principals and teachers) and spend less time kissing a**! Case in point was a paddling by a female principal of 12 kids. She merely forgot to call a couple of parents who requested to be notified prior to c.p. They hand wrote the request on a default consent form-BUT NEVER TOLD ANYONE AT THE SCHOOL ABOUT THE “CHANGE” AFTER TURNING IN THE SCHOOL REGISTRATION PAPERWORK! In that same school year, a new director was hired- and he was quick to curry favor with his employers, the school board. End result, the lady principal was reassigned to a teaching position-all because of a paperwork snafu and a “brownosing” new director. Moral: a “knife in the back” by a central office administrator will just “kill” the morale of lower level principals and teachers.

PRINCIPAL: The most recognized position in U.S. schools besides the teacher, the principal should be considered the “Captain of the ship” and is the highest ranking administrator at a individual school. At TWP, we are of the opinion that while the principal is the overall head of the school, that does NOT mean he/she should always be the disciplinarian. Rather, TWP believes that, aside from suspension and expulsion, the classroom teacher ought to be the one to mete out most all discipline. Consider this fact: The classroom teacher knows his/her students best and they in turn know and respect (over time) their teacher. The principal does not get the opportunity to know the kids in a classroom setting- He/she is too busy managing the facility, planning schedules, and fielding the usual complaints from parents, central office, ect. This is also why some schools have assistant principals to deal with classroom issues.

SUGGESTION 1:Rather than adding an assistant principal, the classroom teacher needs to take charge as a complete authority figure because the kids, in turn, will respect the teacher more. Otherwise, we feel that the teacher comes off looking weaker when he/she has to send the unruly child to the principal for discipline- especially c.p. This does not preclude the principal from giving a paddling but the kids should not see the principal as just Mr./Ms. Paddle.

SUGGESTION 2: A policy addition/change that the principal can make, with the board’s o.k., is of the witness to c.p. With the problem of lawsuits and teacher/principal-as-witness creditability issues, the perfect solution can be found only at TWP! That is the use of the school nurse, as a health care professional, as a witness to all paddlings. As non-educators, they will definitely be seen as impartial in any legal testimony. In the role of nurse, the nurse could privately check the student after the paddling and document by camera that there were no bruises. If child later shows up badly beaten in a lawsuit- the nurse just shows her photos and someone other than the teacher is in BIG trouble. (TWP thinks that this happens a lot more than is reported.)

TEACHER: We have subdivided this section into 2 parts: Tenured and Untenured.

Tenured: Those teachers with civil-service like job security should be the ones to push for the changes that we at TWP have outlined. Start with a small group like all the 4th and 5th grade teachers who work togather at recess or planning periods. We believe that most teachers will at least consider our ideas. That is a start and other teachers can be gradually brought into the fold. Of course, the one or two holdouts (principals or teachers) are another problem and only if everyone else is on board should an ultimatum be given: Follow our example (such as lighter paddles) or you are on your own as to c.p., witnesses, litigation, ect. This must not be a threat but rather just a promise of “no business as usual” and that might convince the remnants.

Nontenured: This is almost always a 1st or 2nd year teacher who can be terminated w/o cause. As such, they must never be used as witnesses by their bosses (principals). Of course, new teachers can only “suggest” changes to paddling implements and techniques. HINT: Nontenured teachers should not hide their status in any legal matter-who knows, a court of law might order that tenure be given immediately in return for truthful and complete testimony by a 1 or2 year teacher!

STUDENTS: We at TWP understand the ackward feelings of a school student to this blog-which is written by and for educators who use corporal punishment as a part of classroom discipline. Our reason for this subsection is two-fold: To reduce the incidences of paddling (We dislike giving them as much as you do receiving them!) and to show that we educators are not just a bunch of ogres intent only on inflicting pain and suffering. We think the tips below will serve you, our students, well in the new school year.

ATTITUDE: The best way to start the year is with a positive attitude- and the worst, with a negative one. Think about it- if you had the teacher’s job over 25+/- students, which ones would start on the wrong foot? The bad attitude kids of course- and teachers dread those the most! A positive start on day one is a great way to encourage the teacher’s positive perception of you-TRY IT!

YOUR FRIENDS: It has been said that “bad company” invities bad consequences. If you hang out with the class “clowns” in back of the room- do yourself a favor and move. Teachers zero in on persons who have reputations, usually well earned, from the previous year. Also to be avoided are classmates who put down teachers and principals in general- those are the social misfits and do not have your interests at heart. Finally, those extremist anti-paddling web sites should be a no-go since, like the social misfits, they exist only to stir up ill feelings between teachers and their students. Just stay away from negative influences-who needs it anyway!

RULES: All rules are for the efficient operation of the school and classroom. If you have a problem with tardy bells, school uniforms, or class routines- go ahead and ask about modifications but regardless, do not defy the rules just because you do not “like” them. Part of growing up is doing things that you may not enjoy- thats life.

TEACHER FRIENDSHIP: If you have a favorite former teacher that you can talk to one on one- that can be beneficial. Remember that all teachers do confide to each other- so DO NOT tear down your new teacher as mean or unfair. If you are having a hard time with your new teacher, your “teacher friend” MAY let you know that the new teacher has personal issues (sick child/spouse or death in family) or just the new school year assertiveness that all teachers are known for. Just be patient and give the new teacher time to know you. WARNING: Do not expect your “teacher friend” to bail you out of trouble- so behave yourself!

WHEN IN TROUBLE: If you are in touble for something in which you were caught “red handed”, the first thing is to own up to what you did. Forget the excuses, alibis, or “everyone else…” because teachers have heard it all before. A contrite persona will result in less severe consequences than a rebellious front- every time. Lastly, if you have been warned repeatedly about a paddling “the next time” and the paddle comes out- just remember-you put yourself in that position and the teacher is doing what he/she dislikes the most. With a submissive resignation, the paddling may be lighter than otherwise-the teacher wants to teach you-not paddle you!

 

COMING NEXT-PART II:

WHY TWP IS OPPOSED TO PADDLING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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