Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: The Lords Of Discipline Edition

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

The paddle at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. was made by students in woodshop class four years ago.

Sarah Gonzalez’ stories this week about corporal punishment in Florida schools sparked plenty of interest after they were picked up by NPR, The Huffington Post and a number of parenting and legal blogs.

ABC News posted their own story today.

If you missed any of Sarah’s coverage, check it out below.

Why Florida Schools Want The Right To Paddle Misbehaving Students

Why Florida Schools Can Paddle Students Against Parents’ Wishes

Mapping Corporal Punishment In Florida Schools

Why School Leaders Say There’s Nothing Sexual About Paddling Students

Some Florida Student Make The Paddles Used To Discipline Classmates

On to the comments!

Unknown said the stories brought back memories of working in Florida schools:

I worked in the Florida schools in the 80’s.  If anyone saw how they paddle the children they would be as Shocked as I was.  Teachers walked the halls with paddles in their hands and some have holes in the paddle for wind resistance.  An 11 year old boy was paddled so badly he needed medical attention.  He was asked to bend over and hold his ankles while the teacher paddled him 4 times.  A second grade girl (very tiny) forgot her homework and was paddled so hard her feet left the ground.
This is not the Nun hitting you with a ruler,  these are thick paddles.  These children are being hit for everything.
I was hoping this had stopped.  Someone really needs to look at this!!!

But Teketime4 approved of corporal punishment:

I love it, all schools need this policy.

Many readers asked about the dynamics of an adult spanking someone else’s child, and if there was a sexual component to corporal punishment.

Gary Regin argued that school administrators are engaging in behavior that would raise suspicion in nearly any other context:

Even if there’s no sexual intent on the part of a school administrator, how can they possibly tell if the student will process it as a sexual thing?  If there are “adult” stores out there selling paddles, that should kind of be a tip-off that there are some people who are turned on by that…I’d assume that a school might call the police if someone actually showed up soliciting this. So it’s a bit ironic that they do it to kids.

Anon wrote that school officials can not say for sure how the recipient interprets the paddling:

One of the problems of sexual abuse is that the VICTIM will not come forward, will not speak out due to embarrassment and will blame themselves and the abuser will excuse away his or her behavior. Seems like a lot of people in this world are clueless and need a lot of education on this issue.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Keep it coming.

Reader reaction is an important part of building StateImpact Florida’s education coverage. Feedback Loop will be a regular feature highlighting your questions, criticisms and comments.


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