There’s going to be some paddling at Three Rivers, but it has nothing to do with kayaking. Rather, the Texas school district by that name has just unanimously approved the use of corporal punishment — administered with a paddle — on misbehaving students.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports, “As part of a new policy approved by the board Tuesday, the paddle, likely to be wood [sometimes called the “Board of Education”], will be used to administer corporal punishment when a student misbehaves at school.… Three Rivers Independent School District [TRISD] trustees voted 6-0 on the motion, with one trustee absent. The policy states only a campus’ behavior coordinator or principal can administer the disciplinary measure at their discretion. Three Rivers ISD students, whose parents have provided written and verbal consent, will receive one paddling for his or her infraction when they misbehave at school.”
If the parents do not consent, their children won’t be subject to the punishment.
Texas is one of 19 states allowing in-school corporal punishment; of the 41 districts in TRISD’s Region 2, in southern Texas, 27 allowed it as of 2015 and 13 disallowed it. Prior to Tuesday, TRISD had been part of the latter group.
No doubt even some rural Texas parents won’t consent, as spanking/paddling has become a contentious issue — demagogued with poor arguments.
A common one is that paddling teaches children to use violence to solve problems; this is like saying that sending kids to their room or grounding them teaches them to use confinement of others to solve problems. Of course, every action sends some message, and note that if children learn to properly use coercive physical action (for self-defense, etc.), it’s a good thing.
Another oft-uttered criticism is that we don’t allow adults to use violence against other adults, so we shouldn’t allow its use against children. But this is a fallacy.
The adults called police use violence against other adults all the time. (That is, accepting loose use of terminology. “Violence” has a negative connotation, implying unjust physical force.)
Thus, people claiming that even parents shouldn’t be allowed to strike children aren’t opposed to coercive physical action (CPA) in principle; they just want the power stripped from parents and reserved to the state. And people claiming that teachers shouldn’t be empowered to use CPA are simply bumping that tool, which must at times be employed, up the governmental food chain to law enforcement.
Also note that if we were going to apply the rules governing adult interactions to kids, we couldn’t send a child to his room or ground him — this is a crime known as “false imprisonment” when done to adults, after all — or administer any type of punishment whatsoever (can we punish our next-door neighbor?). We also couldn’t deny kids voting rights, the opportunity to enter into contracts, and a host of other things.
This is why they’re called “children” — legally, they’re not emancipated.
Yet perhaps the most stale argument is that hitting kids teaches them to be violent, which is much like saying that crying in their presence teach them how to bawl.
Anyone who has ever dealt with infants and toddlers knows that when angry or frustrated, kids might instinctively slap the object of their displeasure. It’s also interesting that those advancing the “violence must be taught” position usually embrace the theory of evolution. Yet how does it jibe with the evolutionary principle “survival of the fittest”? After all, being able to use violence effectively allows us to defend against threats, thereby increasing survivability.
Also consider that these evolutionists claim man is merely another animal. Yet the natural world is rife with natural violence, as most every creature — insect, fish, bird, or land mammal — will resort to it when feeling angry or threatened. Nonetheless, leftists apparently believe that somehow, some way it’s unnatural for the human animal to follow this natural course.
Then there’s the matter of first cause. If man is peaceful by nature, how is it that violence first entered his world? No one could have first learned it without someone to first teach it, but no one could first teach it without having first learned it. So it follows that, in the least, it certainly wasn’t contrary to some people’s nature.
Thus, ironically, the peaceful-by-nature crew should be staunch theists. For if man wasn’t created pacific, he most certainly evolved violent.
Of course, Christians explain our nature by way of Original Sin. Whatever one believes, though, it’s clear that man doesn't have to be taught to be a barbarian.
He must be taught how not to be one.
As to this, adults and children do have something in common. When refusing to submit to just and necessary rules, when reason and cajoling have failed and coercive physical action is the only recourse, someone has to effect it. This is generally the police with adults — and now, increasingly, with children, too.
Of course, a person who has continual contact with the police is going down a dark road. The same is true of a society.