Yesterday I registered Mr. Baseball for school. The usual address and info was requested along with two questions next to yes or no boxes. The first was basically a "Do you give permission for corporal punishment to be used with your child at school" and the second was "Do you give permission for your child to attend field trips". Whoa. Hold on. Corporal punishment!? I haven't heard those words for a while but I'm pretty sure that means slapping, hitting or spanking. Sure enough, the * for info on the back of the form said
* "Corporal punishment shall be limited to spanking or paddling the student".
Wait. What?! You mean you want me to give you permission to paddle my son? I was totally shocked. I put a big X through the no box, finished filling in the rest of the information and turned it in. It's taken me about 24 hours to really figure this out and think through it, but yes, corporal punishment is legal here, and yes, my son will be attending a school where it's still legal.
Maybe I'm just ignorant as can be, but I thought C.P. was illegal in the United States. Not only is it still legal in 21 states, but it was used on 49,000 student in Texas in 2008. The Center for Effective Discipline provides a wealth of information on this subject, from statistics on the number of countries banning CP, even at home (24), to sample letters for parents in writing to their district. I'm especially grateful for their guide to looking up statistics where I happily found Mr. Baseball's school with zero incidents of corporal punishment last year. Whew! I'm glad I saw that before I wrote a nasty letter to the district!
Corporal punishment in schools was banned in Ohio last year and I hope to see the same in our new state! Maybe that letter I was going to write should be directed to my new congressman, I'll let you know.
Just after I originally posted this blog, I found this timely (no pun intended) article:
Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools, Time Magazine