Corpun file 23584
The Pittsburgh Press, 29 April 1928
Don't Paddle Kids Like They Used To
Corporal Punishment Out of Style, Says Superintendent
Davidson -- Customs in School Reflect Home Life, He Says.
By W.L. Pigue
Click to enlarge
Spare the rod and spoil the child no longer holds good in
local schools, according to William M. Davidson, superintendent
of the public schools here. Corporal punishment went out of style
when such punishment went out of the homes, he says.
Teachers still reserve the right to exert authority in the form
of physical punishment of habitually disobedient children but
they resort to that form of punishment only in rare instance,
according to Davidson.
And even when a lickin' is deemed necessary, the old-fashioned
method of "paddling" with the hand or a board is not
used. Davidson recommends that local teachers use a switch only,
and "if it must be done, do it in a dignified manner. The
child should not be punished while the teacher is in a heat of
anger or to 'get even.'
"The ways of the school are a reflection of home life in a
community. Just a few years ago the father of the family ruled
over it with austerity and severity."
In the old days, according to Davidson the son obeyed his father
and cut the wood because his old man had told him to and if he
didn't do it would give him a "tanning."
But nowadays, it's different. Davidson says. The parents have
reached an "educational age." The parents now rule in a
different way. They tell their children why they should do
certain things and explain to them the reasons for certain
necessities. "Austerity and severity" has been replaced
by instruction through love and understanding. It has been
explained to children why they should be guided by wisdom gained
from experience and training.
In rare instances the parent, even today, feels that he must
spank, paddle, switch, lick, tan or otherwise manhandle the child
just to let him know who's who. Corporal punishment is used only
in the hope of making the child realize that the world will not
tolerate a person who won't do what is right, that such a person
is subject to authority so that he can not impose on the rights
and privileges of others, according to Davidson's explanation.
The right is conceded the teacher to have charge of the students
during her classes the same as if she was mother to them.
Custom is the regulator of practically all systems found in the
schools, Davidson says. The teachers follow the customs of the
homes, explaining to the child why he should or should not do
certain things. The child, because he has been taught that he
must have an education to be the mental equal of his associates,
submits to the teacher's instruction.
The co-operation of the child with the teacher is what makes the
paddles unnecessary in modern schools. Superintendent Davidson
says he believes the day will come when corporal punishment will
be almost totally obsolete, with the rare instances more rare,
and other instances non-existent.
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