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WEB LINKS: SCHOOL CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: USA

Posed for high school yearbook c.1965

With personal comments by C. Farrell



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NOTE. In the Country files section are many links to the more serious documents concentrating on legislative/procedural aspects or the results of court cases, etc.

Links to on-line school handbooks mentioning corporal punishment are to be found on the Regulations of individual schools or school districts pages.

On THIS page the material falls broadly into one of three categories: anecdotal accounts and reminiscences, discussion of individual cases, and general opinion or debate pro or con.

Unfortunately many people who put information on the Web forget to date it. However, these items can be taken to relate to recent times except where flagged as [HISTORY].

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flag UNITED STATES

military school [HISTORY]
Message from 2002 in which an student at Chamberlain-Hunt Academy in Mississippi described the paddlings there. (As I have noted elsewhere, Chamberlain-Hunt has now stopped using CP.)

The Wolfe & Gaiman Show [HISTORY]
Fantasy writer Gene Wolfe attended Texas A&M around 1950, and says in this 2002 interview that, in his all-boys engineering college at least, any junior or senior (generally aged 20 or 21) could paddle any freshman or sophomore (18 or 19) at any time for any offense. "We were beaten all the time at Texas A&M. You had to take it -- bend down, and they whaled away at you with a big wooden paddle." This was punishment, nothing to do with fraternities or initiation ceremonies or hazing. See also this picture of a somewhat more recent (1982) punishment paddling at Texas A&M.

Paddling in School: Yes or No
An Arizona school principal explains (2010) why it is wrong for state or federal governments to ban CP in school. The matter should be left up to local districts, he believes. Curiously, he seems to think that Arizona itself has abolished the paddle, which is not the case.

Who Should Do the Paddling in School?
A follow-up post to the above by the same Arizona principal.

The Paddle in the School: Tool or Weapon - The Case of Pittsburgh Public Schools [HISTORY]
A paddling anecdote from the 1970s before CP was banned in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In memoriam: Another great educator passes [HISTORY]
About a Dean of Girls at a Florida high school in the 1960s. "Rumor has it that if a young lady eligible for the customary three swats was wearing sufficient petticoats to diminish the pain of the punishment, Miss Hooks would lift layers of underwear and, when the correct posture was assumed, the wooden paddle would fly."

Back To School - And To Paddlings? Corporal Punishment Should Not Be Banned [HISTORY]
Opinion piece from the Orlando Sentinel (1989). "More than once, I heard a student admonishing a classmate to cease his misconduct or risk a spanking by the teacher, thus acknowledging the deterrent effect of corporal punishment."

Column: Mr. Borgard v. the Board of Education [HISTORY]
An amusing story from 1980s Arizona.

When an Alabama principal said no to interracial dating, a small community was forced to confront its racist heritage [HISTORY]
Numerous school spanking references in this Rolling Stone article from 1995.

do you remember getting your butt whipped in school????
Assorted paddling reminiscences on a message board.

To Spank or Not to Spank? [HISTORY]
A southern father punishes his kids with an old paddle his aunt gave him. "She was a bus driver and back then, she could take you off the bus and paddle your behind if you weren't behaving."

Living In Asia: Corporal Punishment
An American teacher now in Korea describes getting a public paddling on stage at Junior High school back home.

Jamie Foxx: My best teacher
Oscar-winner Foxx says he went to a great school, Terrell High in Texas, where he received "swats" from an admired principal.

Saving Ryan's ...
Anecdote about a paddling narrowly avoided in third grade.

Ernie Reyes Sr. Ernie Reyes
This Taekwondo star (b.1947) of Filipino descent grew up in California, where his high school teachers would paddle him on his buttocks for falling asleep in class.


Bring Back Licks
A campaign for the restoration of CP by a Dallas teacher. See also this May 2020 news item and this follow-up.

A Collection of College Words and Customs [HISTORY]
A book published in 1856. See the entry for "Corporal punishment", which tells us that there were whippings of "ten stripes", administered openly in the Hall, at Harvard College in the 17th century.

School Violence, Punishment, and Justice
Power in Schooling Practice: The Educational Dilemmas
Pain Versus Anguish: Is There No Need For Corporal Punishment?
Three essays by Edward G. Rozycki, an educational philosopher, challenging many of the currently fashionable conventional wisdoms.

Keila's Blog: Corporal punishment
In Mississippi: Thoughts on Corporal Punishment
Two northerners go teaching in Mississippi. They have come to more or less opposite conclusions about paddling: one finds the kids are receptive to it and is prepared to assist in the process (by holding the student's hands down on the desk while the vice-principal delivers the punishment), the other thinks it is just a lazy way out.

Punishment (New URL)
Another member of the Mississippi Teacher Corps (see previous item) writes (June 2008) about using corporal punishment. He didn't use it in his first year of teaching, but in his second year he paddled about 50 students and found the effects very beneficial.

Discipline for Excellence [PDF]
Chapter from a 1984 book called "Schools in Crisis: Training for Success or Failure?". Challenges the mainstream "expert" view at some length and seeks to show that CP is in fact an effective device to correct misbehavior.

Comments on a Study of Corporal Punishment, by Doug Martin   (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
The study in question dates from 1984, and was a questionnaire sent to 324 schools. It found, even 30 years ago, that most school paddlings were done in private by an uninvolved administrator, rather than by a possibly angry teacher in the classroom. The author refers to anti-corporal punishment propagandists complaining about students with broken arms, nerve and muscle damage, and cerebral hemorrhage: "Anyone with the least shred of common sense can see that these are clearly cases of child abuse and have nothing to do with proper corporal punishment". Quite so!

Paddling ruined a perfectly good time [HISTORY]
Letterwriter (Aug 2009) to the Arizona Republic recounts his schooling. Note: he is being satirical. It is actually a letter in favor of CP for school students.

Creed's in trouble again: Should we buy the principal a paddle?
A Florida parent would welcome the return of school CP.

MSM Misses Easy Facts in Paddling Story
A blogger is irritated by lazy, credulous mainstream press coverage of a report by Human Rights Watch about paddling in Texas and Mississippi schools, in particular the statistics purporting to show that there is an element of race prejudice in CP use.

In Defense of Spanking
US News & World Report columnist Sam Dealey finds much on which to pour scorn in the Human Rights Watch report on school paddling in the southern states.

TANAS Serving Christian Education [PDF]
Model school handbook pages from the Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools. See page 51 for their recommended discipline policy.

Should DISD revive paddling? More students suspended since it ended.
An education reporter's blog in Dallas (May 2010).

1930 - 1954: Robert J. McCandlish, Jr. and F.D. Richardson
Mentions that the principal of Madison County High School in Virginia from 1935 to 1939 gave students the choice of a paddling or writing an essay.

Bobby Tisdale, Comedian [HISTORY]
New York "alternative comedian" Tisdale says that he got paddled a lot at school in North Carolina. After being punished he had to sign the paddle.

Mike Ball thanks PACT for helping troubled youths [HISTORY]
Alabama state representative Ball moved there from California at age nine and got his first paddling at school, for which his father thanked the teacher.

Corporal punishment would aid public schools  (Alternative link)
A writer in a high school newspaper in Georgia argues that paddling should be brought back to high schools and middle schools.

Public Schools: My Answer to Their Problems!
A former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, now Director of something called "Common Sense for Today", gives his prescription for sorting out the public schools. Among other things, disobedient students would be "paddled on the rear, a place provided by a designing God for that purpose".

No Substitute for Sarah [HISTORY]   (Alternative link)
Strict teacher Sarah Couch, aged 90 and still going strong, recalls being hired to take charge of a sixth-grade class that had defeated four previous teachers. The school board asked her what she needed to work with. She said she wanted a paddle with holes drilled in it. Once she'd used this on nine boys, she had no further trouble with the class. Illustrated article reproduced from the Orange County Register.

Flak Over Corporal Punishment Obscures the Problem
This is a response to the March 2004 case in which six 9-year-old students in Indiana were paddled. One of the mothers complained that her boy had bruises on his buttocks. The author points out that this is normal, and thinks that, given the trouble he was already reportedly in before, "this particular mom has bigger problems ahead of her than her son's sore rear end".


Price takes 'Desire' to whole new level [HISTORY]
Much-paddled basketball star Hollis PriceHumble, solid foundation from Ninth Ward [HISTORY]
Stellar Guard Combo At Modesto Christian [HISTORY]
Three illustrated basketball articles from different sources. All of them are about two star university players, Hollis Price and Quannas White, who in the late 1990s both attended St Augustine, a strict all-boys Catholic high school in New Orleans, then "famous for its policy of corporal punishment". Price says "I don't know if there's any other school that still uses a paddle on you when you talk in class. I got it in class and on the court, everywhere." His "aching backside" taught him the value of discipline, he adds. (The school was later forced by the church authorities, amidst great controversy, to stop using CP despite its success -- see this Feb 2011 news item and its follows-up).
    See also this video clip giving a very brief glimpse of a paddling under way at St Augustine.
    See also the next two items.

The Aggressive Pacifist [HISTORY]
Article about a former teacher at St Augustine in New Orleans (see previous item) in the 1950s and 1960s when it was a segregated black school. He said that after a student was sent to the office for a paddling, "I have seen a marvelous clearing of the air with a simple whack on the butt".

The Majors [HISTORY]
Drum major boys at St Augustine High School Long article (Feb 2004) from New Orleans, where high school marching bands are a big thing. Mentions in passing that these cute "guys in the big hats" may be top stars of the Mardi Gras parade but the ones from St Augustine, at least (see previous two items), were at this point still liable to a paddling to keep them in line during band practice.


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Miscellaneous anecdotes about getting or giving the paddle (in no particular order): [mostly HISTORY]

Best lessons come from discipline
Corporal Punishment at Dallas Lickin' High School
South Side students share their memories of Phinehas Hegmon
The Glory of God in the Passion of Jesus Christ
Ensworth Elementary to be dedicated today  (Alternative link)
Oral history with Mr. Aaron Morgan [PDF] (go to page 20)
Mr. Hall's 8 Ball  (Alternative link)
Beaten Down  (Alternative link) [PDF]
Elkridge Community, West Virginia
Spankings by the Principal  (Alternative link)
Jerry Grammer Remembers Mr. Gant  (Alternative link)
The Paddling  (Alternative link)
South Oak Cliff High School: Classes of 1955, 1956 and 1957 (See "Here is a Mr. Whittlesey Story" and "Swift and Deadly Justice")
And that's the way it was ... (New URL)
He leaves a legacy of caring
Quietly the best
Lew Burdette, RIP: The Fauna
Many thanks, coach Connors, for giving a lick
Recalling Webb's way
This one time, in band class ...
Medulla Elementary School Marks Its Centennial With a Week of Events
Keeping Order in the Classroom
Lime Street School held chapter of Escondido history
Memories of Hillcrest High School (see Charles Leadford, Ernie McCracken, Todd Traylor)
Craig's Corner (scroll down to Monday, September 2nd, 2002)
Graduating the Uneducated
Jonathan Tagle (New URL)
Integrating Teaching and Educational Cable to Enrich The Community, Campus & Students [PDF]
Madonna did what?!?!?!?
Trading Licks Murdoch Style
A Line in the Sand
Owner Leaves -- I Teach
Meet the Author
Betty Efird – Determined Not To Let Handicap Handicap Her
What is a Cooper?
Gunnysack Overboots to Socrates  (Alternative link)
A High School to Remember [PDF] (Go to page 24)
Spankings, Anyone?
Winter 2000 Student Summaries  (Alternative link)
HLHS 1980-1989: James "Jimmy" Miller  (Alternative link)
Will Anybody Ever Love Neal Medlyn?
Prepare For An Ugly Charge: Discrimination
Paddles With Airholes Are More Aerodynamic (scroll down to Wednesday, November 28, 2001)
Strict Discipline And High Standards Were Hallmarks of Charlie Slick
John Boitano, football coach at Garfield High
Famous Charleroi Connections (see "Fred Cox")
Colonel Edward L. "Bebo" Dodge, SMA '42
Johnson said respect among peers mutual  (Alternative link)
Foothill Memories  (Alternative link) (see "Helyn DeCamp")
Father Ryan High School - My Recollections  (Alternative link)
Old school brings memories to former student  (Alternative link)
Jackson touts positive coaches
Jack Fischer Park honors great principal, educator
Net Soup  (Alternative link) (Scroll down to "What were You Wearing in the '80s"?)
Dirty talk is not cheap, especially in the workplace
Family ties are common thread for 4 inductees
Inside my head
Mr. Guzick Recalls Days at Sunset [DOC]
The real victims
Remember Me?
Interview with Ignace Sebbio
Tight cowboy boots, high heeled (scroll down to messages headed "Tight Wranglers")
Rebel Without a Clue
Letters to Mother Burg 2000 (see message #54)
The Spanking and the Spanked in My Grade School Years
So How Many Times Did He Bust You In High School??!  (Alternative link)
Coach Nick Hyder, God's Servant  (Alternative link)
Former principal Kazuo Ikeda celebrates his 90th birthday surrounded by family
Fran Rogel
Here It is Everything You Wanted To Know About ME!!! But Why Would You Care?
Jack Agee Has a Few Stories to Tell
Hawthorne High School Cougars Feedback
Heath graduates dedicate historical marker
This is the 2000 Nesquehoning Calendar
Just Who Is This Will Holcomb Exactly?  (Alternative link)
Shawnee High School Class of 1955 - Messages From Reunion 2000
Interview With Howard Heldman
The Impossible Dream: A Parochial Education
Where Have All The Children Gone?
Running Away   (Alternative link)
Lost in Orange County: Richard Nixon and the rise and fall of a slang term for intercourse  (Alternative link)
Essays on 1971: My Experience With Corporal Punishment
Klarinet: Chaos being sold for freedom
School sure has changed since I was a student   (Alternative link)
Interview with Mel Cartwright
Interview with Rene McNally
Locate a Former Classmate: John Paul Gable  (Alternative link)
Interview with Arnold and Margaret Headley [PDF]  (Alternative link)
ED 422 My Favorite Teacher  (Alternative link)
Lesson 4: Some Bad News, and Good News (scroll down to "(4) God’s righteousness vindicates Himself" near bottom of page)


Unintended Consequences: The Impact of "Zero Tolerance" and Other Exclusionary Policies on Kentucky Students [PDF]
As its name implies, this paper (Feb 2003) is not about corporal punishment, which is mentioned only in passing as a statistic (paddlings constituted 5% of disciplinary actions in Kentucky schools in 2000-01).
    However, it is of some interest for three reasons:

1. It makes crystal clear how completely counter-productive out-of-school suspension (OSS) often is, and one argument for paddling is that it provides the student with the punishment he requires without any of the disadvantages of OSS.

2. It shows that black students receive ALL forms of punishment disproportionately to their share of the population, so, if there is a problem here at all, it certainly is not anything to do with corporal punishment per se, as anti-CP activists often try to suggest. (Unconscious racial stereotyping by teachers seems a likely reason; another possible explanation might simply be that black kids actually are, on average, naughtier than white ones. Either way, abolishing CP makes no difference.)

3. If the powers-that-be and the educational establishment can come up with such a catastrophically wrong policy as "zero tolerance", and stick with it for so long when everybody can see that it is producing ludicrous consequences, how can we have any confidence in their other policy decisions, such as decisions to abolish CP?

Paddle-Happy South
A cartoon from Alabama.

Scot-free?
A newspaper columnist in West Virginia considers what ought to have happened to four students who got only 10 days' suspension for having oral sex on the bus.


school paddleTo Spank or Not to Spank, that is the Question
Article (Nov 2006) by a Texas mother whose schoolboy son had been threatened with "swats". She interviews various school students about the rights and wrongs of paddling. Boys tended to favor it (especially since, in that particular district, parents usually were not informed), while girls mostly preferred detention to being spanked. The article is followed by a message board with hundreds of comments, most predictable, some absurd.


Teachers Who Paddle
A website in the form of a blog by a group of elementary school teachers in the south who defend their use of corporal punishment. Curiously, however, they do not favor the use of CP at secondary level. (Pretty much the opposite way round to my own views, as it happens.)

Correlation between high rates of corporal punishment in public schools and social pathologies
This so-called "research study" takes CP figures from the top ten paddling states and attempts to match them to data about such diverse matters as the murder rate, reading proficiency levels, and unmarried mothers. The paper then grudgingly concedes that a statistical correlation does not prove a causal relationship, and lamely attempts to meet this point by quoting various other documents. Some of these are purely anecdotal and others are "studies", such as those by Dr Murray Straus, which had nothing to do with school paddling but looked at the spanking of toddlers by their mothers, an entirely different subject.
    Quite aside from any other considerations, several of the "top ten" paddling states in fact have very low percentages of students paddled. In Texas, for example, the figure looks large in absolute terms, but represents less than 2% of students. How likely is it that something directly affecting at most 2% of a given population is going to have, of itself, a measurable effect on the wider society in the whole of that area? The paper concludes with the bald assertion that "corporal punishment in public schools clearly has disastrous effects on children and communities", having in fact wholly failed to demonstrate any such thing.
    For my own explanation as to why statistical juggling exercises of this sort are invariably a waste of time, see this article on my Questions and Answers page.

Up Sass Back Creek without a paddle
A teacher in Texas seems to think it is now illegal to "apply the board of education to the rear portions of disturbing students". Where do people get these strange ideas from? She is writing in the Mineral Wells Index (May 2007), and Mineral Wells is a school district where CP was actually used at that time.

Nothing Like a Good Swat!
A teacher in California reads the big New York Times piece about CP in US schools (September 2006) and is surprised to discover that it hasn't been banned everywhere. (It is remarkable how many Americans just assume the USA is culturally and legally homogeneous.) He recalls in detail getting swats at junior high school in the 1970s.

Moyer spanked: FUMA fugitive hid in Mexico  (Alternative link)
Follow-up (Apr 2004) to a tale of cadets being "inappropriately" spanked at Fork Union Military Academy, Virginia, in the 1990s.

Banned in Kansas: Early Motion Pictures Faced Censors  (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
The 1929 movie All Quiet on the Western Front was censored when shown in Kansas, to remove a scene in which a boy is paddled by his teacher, according to this.

What CEAI has meant to me (New URL)
A teacher member of Christian Educators Association International thanks the organization for helping out when he or she was in trouble over the paddling of several boys.

School orders mom to spank son--or else
On some message board or other, an extraordinarily long conversation (30 pages when I foolishly printed it out) arising out of a news story about a boy threatened with paddling at a private Christian school. Like most of these things, the debate never really gets anywhere and most of the contributors seem to be at cross purposes.

Old cartoon of infant-school CP Handwriting: What works in the classroom? [HISTORY]
A hundred years ago schools had the necessary discipline to get children to master copperplate, according to this, but now teachers don't punish the way they used to, and bad handwriting is the result.

The Problem With Kids Today
Columnist on a 'black culture' website (August 2005) says that "kids who cannot grasp where they end and where the world begins" need "a good ass whipping", and quotes his own experience as an exemplar.

Writer produces another book about Summerfield  (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
A history of schools in a North Carolina district unearths a court case about a paddling in 1924.

Glimpses of an earlier Milwaukee: A dose of the cane [HISTORY]
An article written in the 1920s recalls schooling in the 1870s, when punishment was not with a paddle but with a rattan.

Sexual battery suspect sent suggestive e-mails  (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
A case from 2001 in which a student at a high school in Virginia in the early 1980s complained that he was disciplined on the bare buttocks with a drumstick. A drumstick sounds like a pretty feeble implement to me, but the former student described it as a "terrible beating".

Paddled by coach: Shane OnsbyParent Alert: When Teachers Cross the Line (New URL)
Paddling of Lafayette County Mississippi student discussed on national TV (New URL)
14-year-old Shane Onsby, pictured right, went on the John Walsh TV show in Nov 2002 to argue that his coach went too far when he paddled him for missing football practice. Shane whacked a punch bag in the studio to demonstrate to viewers what the paddling was like. On this third page (New URL) is a picture of what is said to be a typical Mississippi school paddle, wrapped with tape, and another photo in which Shane gamely drops his jeans to show us his sore behind. His mother professed "outrage" at the bruises, but I must say they don't look too bad to me. Also on the show, defending CP, were the paddling principal of a private school in Kentucky and a parent whose stepson, 11, has been paddled there.

The Sloan-Hendrix Greyhound, No. 64 [PDF]
Newsletter (May 2003) of a High School in Arkansas. Go to page 5. A seventh-grader warns incoming freshmen not to get in trouble because a paddling from Mr Walton "hurts bad -- just ask around".

Thera Pee
Tennessee columnist Chip Brown expresses some skepticism about the worth of psychologists and therapists, and wonders if things were not better when "the principal just busted your butt".

Solid South School Class of 1947 [HISTORY]
From Oklahoma comes a picture of Mr Hopper, who had a big thick paddle with holes drilled in it, and some of his students.

Paddling Should Not Be Allowed In Hamilton County Schools
A message board in Tennessee. A newcomer to the area is dismayed (Dec 2006) to discover that CP is allowed in local schools. This unleashes a torrent of replies from locals who argue forcefully and cogently that in their view paddling is a good thing. Almost the only dissenting voices are from professional anti-CP agitators not based in Tennessee.

Schoolmaster about to whip a small boy [HISTORY]
A drawing by Thomas Fogarty from c.1890.

Debate Over Corporal Punishment Rages
Transcript of a discussion on CNN's "Connie Chung Tonight" (Aug 2002).

Does Paddling Belong in Schools?
Another CNN debate transcript, this time from May 2001.

Corporal Punishment: Teaching Violence Through Violence
You Said It!
The first link is a column in Education World (Nov 2002) by someone who was surprised, and "disturbed", to discover CP was not illegal throughout the USA. (How on earth does such an ill-informed person get to be a regular columnist on a national education website?)
    The second includes (scroll a way down the page) some "impassioned" responses from teachers to the column, on both sides of the argument.

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
Seems hysterical and unconvincing to me. The argument is effectively rebutted in Dr Benatar's essay.

A Treatise on Pedagogy for Young Teachers [HISTORY]
Reproduction of an 1884 text. Scroll a long way down to Chapter XIV. It says what I have long felt -- that "any valid arguments against corporal punishment are valid against all punishment", and there can be no government (of a school or of a state) without the possibility of punishment. Nor should CP be a last resort. "If a rude, turbulent boy can be kept in school and judiciously whipped into decent behavior, will any one say that it is not better for him, and for all concerned, than it would be to turn him into the street?"

School Violence Toleration
Walter Williams Writing in Capitalism magazine (Oct 2004), columnist Walter Williams describes student behavior now -- with one and a half million violent incidents reported per year in US public schools -- as "completely intolerable". Caning is one thing that would stop it, he says. For more of Williams's robust views, see this Aug 1999 article.

Pieces of history on display at NVUSD museum [HISTORY]
A school museum opens (Oct 2004) in Napa Valley, California, with a three-foot paddle on display.

A Closer Look at Drug and Violence Prevention Efforts in American Schools [PDF]
Report of an August 2002 survey of schools for the US Department of Education. See pages 51/52. It found anecdotal evidence that parents think CP should be administered "sooner, harder, and more often", and that most paddlings were the student's own choice over other punishments.

Police probe alleged hazing (17 September 1996) [HISTORY]
Authorities investigate alleged hazing (18 September 1996)
4 players go to court to prevent more penalties in alleged hazing (25 September 1996)
Accused football players return to team (26 September 1996)
Schools careful with initiation rites (29 September 1996)
Suit by 4 Perryton football players dropped (8 October 1996)
Perryton coaches reprimanded (10 October 1996)
2 students plead no contest, 2 plead not guilty in hazing case (30 October 1996)
Jury clears coaches of wrongdoing (12 January 1997)
Trial date set in hazing incident (22 January 1997)
Trial of 2 Perryton teens accused in incident delayed (18 March 1997)
Teen hazing trial opens in Perryton (28 May 1997)
Teen acquitted in hazing case (29 May 1997)
Teen acquitted of assault in hazing (30 May 1997)
Paddled at age 17: football star Jason Pshigoda Reports from the Amarillo Globe about the long-drawn-out saga of a football hazing incident at Perryton High School in Texas and its aftermath. Our interest is not in the hazing itself but the punishment for it. Twelve boys were accused of assaulting another player and disciplined immediately by the school. Details of this discipline only became public later, when the four most senior accused students -- all 17-year-old local football stars, including Jason Pshigoda (shown above right in a picture taken three years later)  (Alternative link) -- brought a lawsuit against being, in effect, suspended from playing football on the grounds that they had already been punished, and testified that they had been given the choice of suspension or corporal punishment. All had opted for the paddling and taken 3 licks from Principal Doug Burke (pictured below right) later the same day. According to a later report, all 12 students had in fact been paddled.
Paddling principal Doug Burke playing golf in 1999    Note that none of them was complaining about the paddling. What they were complaining about was being punished twice.
    Incidentally, two years after this affair, Perryton High actually stepped up its use of paddling in a new tardy policy, which proved successful in reducing the number of tardies - see this Nov 1998 news item and this Apr 1999 follow-up. It makes one wonder about the proportionality aspect -- if you get a choice of suspension or three licks just for a sixth tardy, was the identical punishment of Jason and his chums really enough for beating up a freshman? Ought not the principal to have given these big guys at least six of the best?


Ramblings of a Single Mom
A woman "somewhere in the Bible belt" not only goes to school to spank her son, but takes her own paddle with her.

Greg Jones 1973Hawthorne Talk Feedback page 452 [HISTORY]
Part of a huge alumni site for Hawthorn High School in California. Several paddling recollections here. Greg Jones (pictured), class of 1973, says he missed out on the paddle but did get a swat with a tennis shoe on his wet rear end by one of the coaches. It "hurt like hell" but he thinks he deserved it.


Project NoSpank
Extensive collection of negative propaganda articles, news stories and references. Quite a few of these are indeed about corporal punishment but, despite the site's narrow title, the subjects covered also include generalized physical abuse and even extend to things like people being killed or raped by abusive institutions or guardians, infanticide, and the rights and wrongs of school uniform, all of which -- it is implied -- are somehow linked to CP. For instance, of 24 cases mentioned on the site's "Hall of Shame" page, which lists institutions of which it particularly disapproves, only a couple actually have to do with corporal punishment. Slamming a child against the wall or rubbing its face in vomit are already offenses against existing laws, and always have been. They have nothing to do with corporal punishment, and in my view it is absurd, and intellectually dishonest, to imply that they are even part of the same subject. The NoSpank site also includes a page full of pictures of paddled bottoms showing bruises of varying degrees of severity. These pictures are heralded as "deeply disturbing", but most of them seem quite mild to me. When did it suddenly become the case that a few transient bruises are deemed to be the end of the world? Kids get bruised all the time, just playing around, or they did in my day.

Traditional methods of raising kids work best
A columnist on the far-right WorldNetDaily website argues for the return of the "Board of Education".

Eliminating Modern Firearms
Writer remembers getting three hard whacks with a paddle at elementary school, which taught him never again to throw rocks at people. His attempt to link this to the gun control argument isn't very convincing, however.

Posed spanking picThe paddle's infinite sting [HISTORY]
A professor of journalism recalls his 1956 school paddling in Ohio. Illustrated with this rather irrelevant old photo (posed) of a young boy being spanked.



And furthermore ... [HISTORY]
Reactions by Salon.com readers to the above piece. One of them remarks that it is sad to see a man in his 50s still fretting bitterly over something that happened to him in first grade. Most kids get over it, he says, and he thinks paddling was the only thing that kept his own classroom from resembling a zoo.

School days [HISTORY]
History piece about rural New Mexico, at a time when most inhabitants spoke Spanish. Kids doing so at school got "a slap with a ruler" because they were supposed to speak only English. According to this, the Valencia county school board officially approved of corporal punishment from the early 1920s.

Keeping up with Mrs. Jones: Award-winning principal earns respect from students, teachers  (Alternative link)
Report from an elementary school in Georgia where the principal has both a paddle and a strap in her office.

Taking discipline a bit too far
A columnist in Alabama laments the decline of order in schools and thinks they should go back to how they were when he was a student.

Paddled for being late: Jennifer WashingtonCrimson Chronicle: Why Should You Be Punctual To Class?
In the magazine of a Mississippi high school, student Jennifer Washington (pictured) writes, from personal experience, that a very good reason for being on time is to avoid the paddling that at her school is automatic for tardy students.



1999-2000 Corporal Punishment in Tennessee Public Schools
Paddling statistics for each district in TN.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child? [PDF] The New Jersey State Bar Foundation reminds us that NJ banned CP in public schools as long ago as 1867.

Re: My Paddling Statistics for 02-03 school year  (Alternative link)
An Alabama teacher kept a record of his or her paddlings of students in 9th through 12th grade.

Aliens Investigate the Culture of Crockett Middle School
See essay by Marshall, viewing this Texas school cafeteria through the eyes of a visitor from another planet. One of the larger humans always carried a paddle, which he applies to the rear end of defiant smaller humans.

Corporal punishment  (Alternative link)
Advice from the American Association of Christian Schools to its members.

When a life-changing spanking might have helped!  (Alternative link)
Mother and father disagree with each other when the school asks them for permission to paddle their sixth-grader.

Diversity in Christian Schools [PDF]
Article (summer 2001) in Education Next of the Hoover Institution. Christian Schools are far from being all the same, apparently.

State lauds SAD 35 special education program [HISTORY]
Quotes a teacher in 1776. The older boys were "lawless" and she had to "resort to corporal punishment" to maintain order.

Schools Still Debate Use of Paddling: Corporal Punishment in Schools Sparks Debate Over How to Discipline Students
ABC News item from July 2001.

St James students in 1957 The Rise and Fall of St James School, or "Good Intentions Gone Awry", Part I [HISTORY]
Part II: School is Open
Part III: School is Out
Fascinating story of a weird private school for boys in Connecticut in the 1950s and 1960s. English-style formal school uniforms with short trousers and long socks were compulsory, and corporal punishment was rife. It makes an old 1950s-era Brit like me feel quite nostalgic.

Lee County School Board Meeting May 23, 2000   (Alternative link)
Lee County School Board Meeting June 20, 2000   (Alternative link)
Lee County School Board Meeting July 18, 2000   (Alternative link)
A Florida school board discusses abolishing corporal punishment.

Kennett High School Alumni Association [HISTORY]   (Alternative link)
A school bus driver recalls paddling a misbehaving student.

Rev. Paul Bernard Smith, legendary Principal of Holy Angels School [HISTORY]
At his Chicago black Catholic school in the 1970s, he adopted a "ketchup bottle" approach to discipline: "when all else fails, hit it on the bottom".

How I Joined Teach for America - and Got Sued for $20 Million
Very depressing piece about the dire state of public education in Washington DC. This novice teacher says he ended up being accused of "corporal punishment" just for touching a student with a guiding hand.

Modie Risher: Educator keeps his eyes on the prize [HISTORY]
A legendary school football coach. "If a kid jumps offside during practice, he'll bend over so a teammate can paddle him on the behind."

What Really Happened to the Class of '99 [HISTORY]
Long article (Feb 1999) from the Texas Observer describing the controversial goings-on at Joaquin High School, East Texas, including a lot of paddling (see also the item immediately below).

Eyes on Joaquin Independent School District   (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
In 1998 the Texas Civil Rights Project accused this school of, among other things, excessive corporal punishment. The authors do not oppose paddling per se but claim the school principal uses it "with absurd frequency and for strange reasons". Some students report getting as many as 15 swats in a single day. Over 20 students at once have been seen lining up outside the principal's office awaiting their swats. I thought that was pretty normal for Texas -- and why not? -- but the Civil Rights Project sternly disapproves. NOTE: the report itself seems no longer to be on line, but this page is a form you can use to order it by post at $20.

Notes From Another Planet
This piece is on the "Nospank" website, but interesting as a piece of socio-cultural commentary, if you ignore its tiresome knee-jerk anti-CP assertions. The writer was brought up in what was then Rhodesia, and familiar with the idea of school corporal punishment there and in the UK. He describes -- with rather more style and humor than anti-spankers can usually muster -- his difficulty in coming to terms with the belated discovery that it is also prevalent in parts of North America. He is rather perceptive on the USA's image in the minds of people who have spent their lives drowning under a deluge of American popular culture (i.e. practically everyone in the world) but who have never actually been there (me, for instance). He raises precisely the question I have always wondered about -- how is it that there have never been any allusions in the US culture (films, TV, comics, etc.) to mainstream high school CP in modern times, in stark contrast to, for example, the equivalents in the UK, which -- until well into the 1980s -- never failed to bring the subject up at every opportunity? Why this conspiracy of silence by Hollywood and the other media? Are they this misleading about other aspects of American life, too?

Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools A-G [HISTORY] [PDF]
Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools H-O [HISTORY] [PDF]
Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools P-Z [HISTORY] [PDF]
Look for historical paddling anecdotes under Akron, Old Columbia School, Champ School, Lake Bruce School, Country School Millark, and Prairie Grove.

OKGenWeb: Life of a pioneer woman [HISTORY]
1937 testimony of a woman who around 1890 had been a teacher in a log hut school on an Indian reservation, where CP was given with a hickory switch.

Suspending and expelling children from educational opportunity: Time to reevaluate zero tolerance policies [PDF] [HISTORY]
Article in the American University Law Review. See Chapter A1, "Disciplinary methods from the 1960s to the 1990s", at page 1043-4, where the claim is made that CP started losing its effectiveness when in the 1960s it began to be administered in the principal's office rather than in front of the class.

When words are ot [sic] enough  (Alternative link)
Article in an Indiana high school magazine calling for the restoration of paddling in schools. "ISS is not a punishment as much as a goal for some offenders."

The Rise & Fall and the Resurrection: The Autobiography of Glen Caulkins [HISTORY]
This is a former drug dealer and gangster who has now "got religion". See Chapter One for a reference to parental spanking, and Chapter Four for details of getting swats in the coach's office at junior high school in 1960s California.

West Virginia Mat Thoughts [HISTORY]
A Dr Bill Welker, writing on a school wrestling website, says he deserved all the paddlings he got at school and finds that the practice was extremely effective when judiciously administered.

Rootsweb - Caddo County Oklahoma [HISTORY]
What is one to make of a teacher who in 1940 wrote in his school yearbook, "My hobbies are softball and paddling kids"?

Corporal Punishment In Schools?  (Alternative link) [HISTORY]
A northern teen thinks (1997) that bringing back corporal punishment would be a jolly good idea. She believed then that paddling was making a comeback in southern schools, which is indeed what some of the press were saying around the middle of the 1990s, but the statistical returns don't bear it out.

School Board Minutes 8 January 2002 [PDF]
Corporal Punishment in All Schools  (Alternative link)
Board Letter - January 11, 2002   (Alternative link)
Internal School Board documentation connected with the abolition of paddling in Nashville TN, which took effect in February 2002. The second document gives the number of paddlings, and the number of students paddled, for every school in the district, for an unstated reference period, presumably a year. 65% of paddlings were in elementary schools. In high schools, strangely, there were none at all.

HES 50: Clinical Exercise Science
Summary of a study course at Furman University. Under "Academic integrity", it says "Students found guilty of academic dishonesty will be caned" -- a curious little joke in what otherwise appears to be an entirely serious document. Other study course pages from this particular tutor say the same thing. Since this is South Carolina, it might be a veiled reference to the 1856 Sumner affair.

Experts: Spanking Harms Children, Especially Girls
Takes seriously the near-pornographic "first-person account" of a senior schoolgirl's alleged 1984 paddling in Florida as described in "Rape: Lesson 1" on the NoSpank website, which more detached observers tend to think is a rather obvious fake. Apart from that, who are the "experts" quoted here? Round up the usual suspects: Nadine Block, Irwin Hyman, Murray Straus, Jordan Riak ....

Paddle: A Reaction
Essay by some unidentified person in response to the above-mentioned "NoSpank" article "Rape: Lesson 1", pointing out that "it's hard to imagine two male school administrators being able to count on living out their fantasies of frequently paddling unwilling girls in miniskirts".

Teaching by The Book: Classical education alternative from Idaho spreading to Christian schools nationwide
Article (November 1999) about some unusual Christian schools which teach Latin and "keep discipline problems nearly nonexistent" through the use of corporal punishment. The paddlings at one such school are described.

Lowest achieving Ohio schools quickest with the paddle
The Center for Effective Discipline -- yet another anti-CP outfit -- claims that the figures show most of the paddling in Ohio takes place in the worst schools.

"Boston Public" confronts issue of sexually motivated paddling in high school
Comments (from an anti-spanking point of view) on what sounds to have been a more than usually ludicrous TV soap opera episode which, bizarrely, depicted classroom CP taking place in Massachusetts, supposedly in the present day, even though that state outlawed it as long ago as 1971. What's interesting about this is that, as I have discussed elsewhere, it is weirdly rare for US mainstream popular culture to even allude to the existence of school paddling in modern times.

Protestant Fundamentalism and Support of Corporal Punishment
Summary of research into the tendency of conservative Christians to support CP in schools (and also in the home). Comes to the rather obvious conclusion that such people are not likely to be swayed by rational arguments in favor of abolishing the paddle.

Corporal Punishment, bring it back
Essay by a high school student in Virginia.

detail from painting The Caning [HISTORY]
Painting by Norman Rockwell of a Tom-Sawyer-style 19th-century classroom switching.



Larry Hays [HISTORY]
Profile of Texas Tech's head baseball coach. Recounts being on the receiving end of paddlings in 1960.


Policy Statement on Corporal Punishment in Schools, August 2000
Summary of the anti-paddling position taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


A Study of the Effectiveness of a Saturday School in Reducing Suspension, Expulsion, and Corporal Punishment [PDF] [HISTORY]
1991 experiment at a Tennessee school with historically high levels of corporal punishment. I can see why Saturday school is better than suspension or expulsion but I don't understand why it should be taken as read that it is also better than paddling, which is a great deal quicker and cheaper.

118,701 reasons not to enroll your child in a Texas school
The "NoSpank" website reproduces what purports to be correspondence with a mother who says she recently moved to Texas from New York and was shocked when her daughter got paddled, a practice of which she claims never to have heard. She seems to think that, just because corporal punishment has been abolished in New York, it shouldn't be allowed anywhere else. Surely she ought to have made it her business to find out what Texas was like before moving there.

Victory Church under fire [HISTORY]
1994 story about a church in North Dakota, accused of being a cult. It ran a school with a policy of regular spankings.

The Child-Beating Mandate of George W. Bush
Compares the electoral college map in the previous Presidential election with the map of states which still paddle, and finds that there is some correlation between school CP and Republican support - but I thought we knew that already.

Platform of the Green Party of Minnesota (New URL)
As you might guess, the Greens oppose the use of physical punishment.

Corporal Punishment in School
Spanking at School Poll Results  (Alternative link)
Someone opposed to corporal punishment recalls vivid memories of being paddled. The article includes an online poll on "would you support CP at your child's school?"

Old Myers Street School [HISTORY]
Reminiscences about a school in Brooklyn, not the famous Brooklyn but one in North Carolina, at the end of the 19th century. Boys were sent out to a meadow to cut switches.

Retention Schedule for Records of Public School Districts
States that the official records of corporal punishment and other school discipline in Texas need be kept only as long as "administratively valuable". This seems a pity. I think all such data should be kept for posterity so that researchers like me can study them in many years' time when they need no longer be regarded as confidential.

3 strikes, chain gangs, work camps, death penalty [HISTORY]  (Alternative link)
Newspaper columnist considers (November 1996) the burgeoning crime problem in Hawaii. Part of his solution is the return of corporal punishment to schools.

The System Supports Recidivism  (Alternative link)
The "Public Defender" (a lawyer who acts for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer) in Lake County, Illinois, has a whole list of gripes against the criminal justice system and thinks parents and teachers ought to be protected from child abuse lawsuits for reasonable corporal punishment.

Children in a Changing Society   (Alternative link)
University of Alabama's School of Education on why they disapprove of school corporal punishment. This kind of tract always seems to quote the same few sources. What if the sources turn out to be wrong?

Old Act, New Venue: Michael Wetton opens school for boys [HISTORY]
Anti-CP brigade having a go at one Michael Wetton, quoting several newspaper articles of cases where he got into some trouble over bare-bottom paddlings (of girls as well as boys) in Arizona. In the latest development he had turned up in the UK and founded a new boys' school advertising a "firm disciplined atmosphere". But meanwhile corporal punishment had been banned in UK private schools anyway.

Corporal Punishment to Children's Hands: A Statement by Medical Authorities as to the Risks
Brief but pompous document in which a whole string of professors of this and that explain why the hands are a dangerous part of the body to punish physically. Quite so! That's why students should always be whacked on their bottoms. I think most of us knew that already.

Congress Street School, 1870-1880 [HISTORY]
Defeat and Trouble 1890-1900
Success and Failure 1910-1920
Three chapters of a history of Tucson school district in Arizona. At Congress Street, "discipline was stern" and parents judged teachers according to how soundly the students were whipped. The second extract quotes an example of a whipping recorded in the Discipline Book even though, it says, corporal punishment was at that time contrary to a territorial law. The third reports that this law was repealed in 1912 and quotes the rules for corporal punishment introduced at that time.

Kona police probe school's discipline [HISTORY]  (Alternative link)
Item from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (29 May 1996) about complaints of harsh discipline in a school in Hawaii, a state which bans corporal punishment.

Jim Yates' Contemplation Room  (Alternative link)
Jim, a US black activist, thinks the black community is doomed unless it gets back to paddling its youth. Scroll a long way down to the section headed "3/16/97".

The Influence of Corporal Punishment on Crime
This anti-CP rant has some interesting statistics, from which dubious cause-and-effect non sequitur conclusions are drawn, needless to say.

For school paddling [HISTORY]
Letter from a doctor in the Southwest Times Record challenging the idea that school corporal punishment generates violence.

Letter to President Clinton: Civil Rights of Schoolchildren
Anti-paddling propaganda stunt -- not of course in fact a matter for the federal administration.

The Paradigm Behind the Curtain
Theoretical stuff from Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.

Meet Darby Bump
A website for teens considers the constitutionality of school paddling.

Report Card: Historically Black Boarding Schools Reviving Tradition [HISTORY]   (Alternative link)
1995 article about a resurgence of black boarding schools. They have strict discipline policies including paddlings, it says.

Ban Corporal Punishment
A humanist website regurgitates all the familiar arguments.

Districts Jump at Chance for Waivers to Rules [HISTORY]
Education Week article (September 1995). Some Illinois schools applied to be exempted from state law banning cp .......

Flaws in Law: School Waivers Burden Illinois Legislature [HISTORY]  (Alternative link)
........ without success. Schools' requests to derogate from the state paddling ban are refused.

School Violence Prevention: Strategies to Keep Schools Safe (New URL)
Long paper (Jan 1998) from the Reason Foundation points out that school violence is nothing new, very difficult to measure, and does not lend itself to simplistic, one-size-fits-all answers. Schools vary a lot, but there is no hard evidence that "zero tolerance", or any recent return to a more punitive approach, actually work. Because of the constraints on public schools, private schools may be better placed to experiment and find innovative solutions. See Section B.4 on corporal punishment. Where public schools are concerned, it is suggested that the "parental right" to paddle should not be claimed by a school without the parents' explicit consent. In private schools, on the other hand, the authors think that if parents want CP they should be able to have it.
    The paper also states that teachers at the Malcolm X Academy in Detroit, a public "Afrocentric" school, are free to spank unruly students. This information must be very out-of-date, because Michigan abolished CP in 1989.

People Opposed to Paddling Students (POPS)
As if there were not enough US anti-paddling organizations already, here is yet another one, based in Texas.

School Violence, by John Hood
1994 article from a right-wing think tank. "Extending civil-rights protection to unruly students has created an unworkable, and sometimes absurd, situation in public schools." The author has little time for due process, multiculturalism, boosting student self-esteem, and other currently fashionable nostrums, all of which represent a departure from common sense, in his view. Background interest only -- there is nothing specifically about CP.

See also:

Corporal punishment in US schools - Illustrated overview, with even more links

Current handbooks of schools where CP is used

Video clips

Pictures of paddles

Paddling in US schools in Topics A to Z


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