Alabama schools move closer to banning paddling

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Alabama teachers are one step closer to sparing the rod after the state’s local school board members recently voted to encourage policies that prohibit corporal punishment, also known as paddling.

But does that mean they’re one step closer to spoiling the child?

Almost every leading education and child psychology association says no, and that paddling actually makes behavior problems worse.


Some experts, especially Christian educators, say it all depends on why and how it’s administered and what’s trying to be achieved.

Alabama law gives each school district the authority to decide its paddling policy, and the recent move is just a strong suggestion by the Alabama Association of School Boards to ban the practice.

Critics, including Hoover city school board member Craig Kelley, point to the fact that Alabama is only one of about 15 states that allow paddling. That fact prompted Kelley to introduce the resolution at the association’s annual meeting earlier this month.

Federal government data indicate that more than 100 school districts in Alabama paddled students in the 2013-2014 school year.

In fact, paddling seems quite popular in some parts of the state. Conecuh County’s school system led the list by paddling 23 percent of its students – 27 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls.

That’d probably make this guy teacher of the year in Evergreen:

Most Alabamians support discipline, maintaining well-ordered classrooms and teaching respect to the younger generation. And some of our schools are a mess (I dare you to enter “Alabama public school fight” in YouTube. You’ll be shocked).

But this is an issue where good conservatives can probably disagree.

On the one hand, we should all be bothered by a society that relies upon government employees (school teachers, administrators, etc.) to discipline its young.

That’s a parent’s responsibility.

On the other hand, many of these children don’t have solid two-parent households.

Alabama had the fourth highest percentage of single mothers in the nation according to U.S. Census data collected from 2008-2012. Mobile (which doesn’t appear to have any systems that currently allow paddling) led the number with 36-percent single mother households.

So does that make it a society’s responsibility?

Whatever the case, the decision must remain at the local level, closest to the students and moreover, closest to the parents.

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