Leave the pad­dle out of ed­u­ca­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

Re: Michelle Malkin’s Com­men­tary piece in the Sept. 1 edi­tion ti­tled “Left­ists’ Abu Ghraib-like take on U.S. schools” (page 37), I find my­self in the highly un­usual po­si­tion of hav­ing to dis­agree with Michelle Malkin on class­room dis­ci­pline. Hav­ing taught in a wide va­ri­ety of pub­lic, parochial, and pri­vate mid­dle and high schools for over two decades, and be­ing a prod­uct of the pub­lic school sys­tem, I com­pletely agree that cor­po­ral pu­n­ish­ment has no place in pub­lic schools for sev­eral rea­sons.

As ed­u­ca­tors, we should not need to do that if the par­ents are do­ing their job re­spon­si­bly, whether that in­volves spank­ing or not. More­over, I can make a much greater and longer last­ing im­pres­sion with words. Phys­i­cal pain works when that is all the child can un­der­stand, in the pre­ver­bal stages. We tend to in­ter­nal­ize the hurt­ful words, even the false ones, and they con­tinue to smart. The on-tar­get words hurt worse and, we hope, make enough of an im­pres­sion to change be­hav­iors.

On a more ba­sic, more lib­er­tar­ian level, I want no chil­dren to be­lieve that any­one has a right to lay vi­o­lent hands on them and abuse them sim­ply be­cause they have a gov­ern­ment job. This sets a ter­ri­ble prece­dent for their adult lives and leads to things like the IRS, the DEA, and the ATF.

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