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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, 2013

Spanking kids in school: Why do we still do it?  

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Why are we still hitting students?
Why are we still hitting students?

By Maureen Downey

On Sunday, MyAJC.com will report on one of the most polarizing questions in child rearing -- to spank or not.

The question has been settled in the 97 Georgia's school districts that still allow spanking and other forms of corporal punishment. Georgia is among 19 states, mostly in the South, that empower educators to hit students.

I’ve witnessed a few of the legislative debates on proposed bans on corporal punishment in schools, and proponents always maintain, “I was whupped, and it did me good.”

Former Gov. Zell Miller once proclaimed that his mother threatened any whipping at school would be followed by one at home.

Some folks contend that our schools fell apart when they eliminated paddling and prayer. (If it were that simple….)

There is no evidence that paddling produces better students. However, there’s evidence that spanked children are more violent, display more antisocial behaviors and have higher incidences of depression and substance abuse.

Schools don’t have to whack misbehaving kids. Suspend them. Call the parents. Send them to the office. Send them home.

My concern is not parents spanking their own kids, although there are persuasive reasons not to do so. My concern is schools whacking kids. It can lead to lawsuits. It teaches kids all the wrong things, including using violence to assert authority.

In the news story -- you can read the full piece on MyAJC.com Sunday -- proponents counter that paddling is effective and changes student behavior quickly

 State data analyzed by the AJC shows there were 16,433 instances of corporal punishment at Georgia schools in the last school year. While that's a decline from earlier years, it still works out to about 45 paddlings per day.

Isn’t that 45 too many?

Maureen Downey

About Maureen Downey

Maureen Downey is a longtime reporter for the AJC where she has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy for 12 years.

Connect with Maureen Downey on:FacebookTwitter

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