School Boards in most states
can still authorize corporal punishment for their
students. The use of corporal punishment with Native
American students is self-defeating and improper.
A parent may exercise their judgment in using corporal
punishment outside of the schools. That is the parent’s
prerogative. No adult should ever exert corporal
punishment on a child that is not his/her own. First,
corporal punishment often violates cultural norms.
Native Americans treat their children as little
young adults from an early age. Second, some students
come from homes where alcohol is a factor and face
lives of violence there. Thirdly, the development
of conscious does not require the rod, there are
more enlightened ways to punish children other than
brute force. When the school program is exciting
and the classroom instruction stimulating, withdrawal
from the classroom may be the worst type of punishment.
Fourth, in our litigious society, corporal punishment
can result in criminal action and civil suits against
the schools. Finally, under the concept of unconditional
love discussed earlier, our children should never
ever be harmed in any way. Corporal punishment breeds
contempt and hatred for the punisher, results in
a continuing chain of violence as each person on
the chain strikes someone else, shows children that
the schools do not respect their bodies, and creates
an atmosphere of fear. Burn the paddles and find
a better way to discipline our children.
It is always better to keep a child in school than
to suspend him/her. If students start the school
day with a good physical workout, many discipline
problems would disappear.
Some alternatives to suspension are: a time-out
corner in the classroom, a time-out room in the
office, a talk with the principal, a call to the
parent, a time-out during recess, writing lines,
writing an apology, talking to the school counselor,
a home visit by the principal, a switch to another
classroom, early to bed at home (worked out with
parents), and lack of participation is school events.
Discipline is not only punishment but constant praise
and rewards and recognition for good work and effort.
Suspensions often result in students creating problems
for their community. Our children need to be in
school. The principal needs to always support the
teacher in discipline. There needs to be agreement
ahead of time as to the type of discipline to be
Principals and teachers have the duty to report
all types of abuse directed against children, whether
it is physical, sexual, or mental or emotional.
All teachers should be trained in reporting abuse
and dealing with suspected cases of abuse and neglect.
Students should be involved in child abuse prevention
training so that they know when they are being touched
in a bad way. Children should taught that there
are “no more secrets” when it comes
to abuse and that when they report it to an adult,
it will be treated seriously and action taken.Beginning
in late March, our schools sometimes become a place
where children are hurt. Teachers tempers wear out,
Spring fever hits, children may get a little more
out of hand and do not respond to the usual classroom
discipline. Schools need to offer teachers training
in self-control, principals need to relieve overworked
teachers occasionally when they need to calm down,
and the school climate needs to be perfectly clear:
At this school, children are never hurt by teachers.
There are no exceptions to reporting abuse. If a
child is slapped in the face, it gets reported.
What schools can and should do is to try to alleviate
conditions in which hitting students can happen,
offering any type of support that teachers need
to make it through each day without resorting to
hitting students. The vast majority of our teachers
would never hit a child, but it does happen and
it must stop.