Spare the Rod?

School officials in Temple, Texas have brought back the paddle and, according to residents, the kids are acting more appropriately in school because they’re afraid of it. (See story here ) I haven’t yet decided how I feel about this. Should corporal punishment have its place in schools? I look at the school where I teach, and I’m thinking, Nope. Not gonna work. My school has low test scores, the students are from low-income homes, and a lot of them are hit or beaten at home, so that’s not much of a threat anymore. In fact, for kids like my students, it can have the opposite effect. The kid stops trusting you because you said this place (school) was safe, yet here you are, doing the exact same thing everyone else does to him – hurting him. However, it might work for Temple, Texas.
I checked out the Temple Independent School District’s website, and it told me a lot. Temple is home to a few award-winning schools and their test scores often rank above state and national averages. In short, they have good kids and good parental involvement (which is usually a sign of good parents). These are the kind of kids who don’t get in trouble much anyway, so corporal punishment is a threat, not a reality. This is apparent when you learn that they’ve only doled out this punishment once since enacting the policy.

So…will I use corporal punishment in my home? I still haven’t decided how I feel about spanking my own child. Corporal punishment was definitely a factor in my childhood, but I can’t say that it made me a better person or prevented me from doing bad things. At best, it made me better at lying and hiding the things I had done (sorry, it’s the truth). I read parenting books and watch shows like “Supernanny,” and I see how discipline can be successful without resorting to hitting. However, if there is truly a serious offense, is spanking the way to go? I just don’t know. Squirmy is only seven weeks old, so hopefully I have some time before Mr. Rachel and I have to make this decision.

What are your thoughts?  Do you use corporal punishment in your home?  How is that working out for you?  If you don’t, why not?

(Image found: http://pix.epodunk.com/locatorMaps/tx/TX_27120.gif)

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