My son is starting pre-K this week and last night we had our “meet the teacher” night. He will be attending school in the Putnam City District as a transfer, because the district we live in doesn’t have pre-K.
Last night, as I’m reading through Putnam City’s Elementary School Handbook for 2010-11, I notice an entry under “conduct” called “corporal punishment.” I’m expecting the entry to say something to the effect of “we don’t tolerate it, allow it, use it” … something along those lines. But it says something very different. It says:
“The district recognizes corporal punishment as a means of discipline.”
I have to say, I’m shocked. As an Oklahoma “transplant” from Connecticut (where corporal punishment is banned), I did not expect that this was a means of discipline in any school district, in any state, but sure enough it is. And not just small-town rural districts. We’re talking one of the biggest districts in the state.
I’m not necessarily upset about my son being subjected to corporal punishment, because I don’t believe it’s readily used on prekindergarteners. But what about other elementary school-age children? Is this an effective and appropriate form of discipline for children while they are in school? Or is this something that should be reserved for parents to use, in the privacy of their own home?
In the handbook it says it “shall be used only as a last resort and only after other reasonable corrective measures have been used without success.” And to be fair, they do consult with parents first. But as a parent of a young child, I find it hard to believe that schools can’t take other action when it comes to a “last resort.” There are many more states and school districts that don’t find the need to use physical force on students. Why should this one?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please e-mail me or comment below.