Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hitting the Helpless

According to a new study by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, of the 200,000 public school students in the U.S. who are swatted, spanked, or otherwise thrashed for being assholes, a disproportionate number are kids with developmental disabilities. While most states have outlawed smacking kids around, 20 states still allow principals to pack paddles in their pockets. Researchers analyzed Department of Education data and discovered that 19% of students who received corporal punishment in the '06-'07 school year were listed as having disabilities. Only 14% of all students are reported to be in any way disabled. Data on whether corporal punishment even works to improve childhood behavior is sketchy, but it looks to be negative. Though we all know excessive paddlers are less interested in straightening kids out than they are with swatting all those succulent young bottoms. More details here. Note especially the quote from a school principal in Bastrop, Louisiana, which is only a few miles from where I live. His argument, essentially, is that we're not sure whether corporal punishment works, but it's better than nothing. Well said.