7. PART II: WHY TWP OPPOSES PADDLING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

PART II:

WHY TWP OPPOSES PADDLING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

No need to back space out of this blog- you are in the right place: TEACHERS WHO PADDLE Blog. We are sure that you are wondering if we have been taken over by the extremist site Project No Spank but all will be clear as you read the entire blog.

WHY TWP?

Lets start by understanding why TWP blog exists. We are a REFORM oriented blog site created by and for teachers who do use the paddle on occasion to enforce discipline in the classroom. The four of us: Renee(me), Wendy,Michelle, and Jenny, all are elementary teachers who discovered by chance how bad the “debate” is on corporal punishment. Actually, there is no debate at all- just name calling filth of the most vile nature such as “sadist”, “perverts”, and the worst:”rapist”! (A dear friend of mine was a real date-rape victim) So, when we set out to communicate our principles, we decided our basic beliefs could be summarized in three words :JUDICIOUS, MODERATE, and SPARING. (See Blog MISSION STATEMENT for more details on definitions)

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

We at TWP do believe there is a difference in the way elementary and secondary schools function These differences lie at the heart of why we support, with qualifications, the use of paddling in elementary schools and not secondary schools.

Single vs. Multiple Teachers: In the elementary schools, kids do not change classes on a regular schedule as in secondary school. Being with one teacher, the kids learn the teacher’s likes, dislikes, and limits as to behavior soon after school year starts. The teacher gets to know what makes each child “tick” and everything is in sync as rules and expectations are set. However, in the secondary school system, the students have 5 or 6 teachers in a regular day. The problem is that every teacher is different and manages his/her classroom differently. That is o.k. until the paddle swings. Our experience is that for some teachers, talking out may be a paddling offense and the next door teacher, only a detention slip for intentionally tripping a classmate. We at TWP feel that this disparity, which does happen far too much, causes secondary schools to fail the JUDICIOUS test that requires consistency in the application of corporal punishment. On the other hand, elementary school fits our criteria because, although not perfect, the odds of consistent and JUDICIOUS application of corporal punishment is much greater.

THE TEACHERS: If one thinks all teacher are alike- think again! While TWP respects all teachers, they are only alike as to college education and professional status. About 95% of elementary teachers are female and around 90% of secondary teachers are male. It should be an obvious point that a male teacher/coach weighing 210 pounds will do more damage with a 18″ paddle than a female teacher of 125 pounds. It is true that there can be an abusive paddling from any teacher but, all other things equal- the odds increase greatly for bruisings from men who are most of the secondary teachers. Therefore, the fact that secondary teacher paddlings have a higher probability of being abusive means they fail the MODERATE test of corporal punishment at TWP.

ALTERNATIVES: The secondary teacher normally has a number of options that elementary teachers can only wish for: Detention Hall, In-School-Suspension, and even reassignment to evening school. The elementary teacher has none of these except for afterschool detention- and only when bus schedules allow. Keep in mind that 16 to 18 year olds drive which creates better options with some older students. Elementary kids do not have that recourse and as a result, discipline must occur during the school day. In addition,the reality is that in school suspension was meant only for secondary students. The futility of placing 8,9,or 10 year olds in a room with strict silence requirements for 3 to 5 days sounds to us as just misguided. As to night school- GET REAL!- No parent is likely to agree to that set up for a young child. With all of these facts, the elementary schools get the nod over secondary schools from TWP even though the latter grades better on SPARING use of paddling with the use of the alternatives.

HOW WE WOULD DROP PADDLING IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

I. The first thing that we would eliminate is the “choice” between paddling and in school suspension. That is a false choice because some students can handle a paddling better than others. This makes both punishments, which should NEVER be a choice, totally unfair because they are administered for the same offense.

II. The next step is to create a tier system of punishments. The first would be 1 hour afterschool Detention Hall for 1st time and minor offenses: Tardies, Uniform or Dress Code violations, cell phone ringing, ect. For multi-repeat offenders- all day in school suspension ranging from one to five days, with no afterschool activities. Losing a few “big” games might drive the point home for a few pampered jocks who otherwise prefer taking “swats.” Finally, in case of serious offenses such as fighting that leads to injury or misconduct in ISS, the paddle could be used as an option in addition to the max days of ISS instead of out of school suspension. TWP thinks that the behavior of students, who prefer paddling over ISS, will show marked improvement if ISS becomes mandatory while the paddle ceases to be an ISS escape key.

III. The final step is the longer term elimination of the paddle option in place of out of school suspension. With the increasing rarity of secondary school paddling, it can be dropped with a mandatory out of school suspension as the next step after ISS. If a second out of school suspension occurs in a single year, that student must be reassigned permanently to an alternative correctional school. This should be the last step before expulsion.

So, there it is- our reasoning for the phased elimination of corporal punishment at the secondary school level. But make no mistake, TWP does support the careful application of the paddle in the elementary schools and will continue to do so as long as this blog is online. Please let us know what you think about TWP as well as what questions you may have- BUT BE RESPECTFUL!

SPECIAL NOTE: PARENTS

As we promised in PART I, this is our message to all the parents of elementary school children. Your kids are our students and we take that responsibility very seriously. The best way for educators and parents to work for the benefit of all students is by communicating with each other. This can be achieved by the following:

EARLY YEAR MEETING: By getting to know your child’s teacher early on, misunderstandings later may be avoided or minimized. All teachers wish that parents would do this and your child’s teacher will be very pleased if you come by the school for a get-to-know session. Also, the discipline beliefs of the teacher can be gaged- such as if she paddles or not and for what reasons. If you are opposed to paddling or have concerns- this early meeting is extremely important! Just remember, the typical teacher is uncomfortable with paddling and will certainly be willing to discuss your concerns in a RESPECTFUL manner.

OPT OUT/CONSENT FORMS: Since most teachers are reluctant to use the paddle, you should not have a problem with exempting your child. Do understand though that the opt out forms need to be given to the front office-not the teacher. Of course, your child’s teacher will appreciate your letting them know about the request and will seek to help out if there are questions. Do understand that the opt out concerns paddling only and the teacher will remind you that the oddds of your child being suspended greatly increase when the paddle option is eliminated because paddling almost always comes before suspension.

TEACHER’S PADDLE: If you are uncertain about paddling but do not want your child to be a candidate for suspension, it is o.k. to ask to see the paddle. Of course, you should ask in a non-confrontational tone due to the fact that teachers are sensitive to anti-c.p. criticism and, in fact, are a little embarrassed about them. When he/she shows the paddle, try not to humiliate them by gasping or other silly non-verbals because, contrary to popular myths, paddles are the least favorite classroom tool of teachers. Finally, if the paddle’s size seems too inappropriate, do not go “ballistic” on the teacher-he/she was probably given it with the room and desk. Instead, refer the teacher to our blog at TWP and offer to buy a more appropriate paddle. If the teacher refuses or cannot show it due to school policy, then turn in your signed opt-out papers to the office- the teacher will understand.

COMING NEXT: ABOUT US & FAQs

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