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Twentytwo US States Allow Corporal Punishment in School

The cynical, systemic avoidance of responsibility with regard to the welfare of children in the United States is nowhere better illustrated than in the practice of corporal punishment in schools.? The U.S Department of Education declared school corporal punishment is a matter for the states to decide. This is a win for the states.

Let us systematically rescind corporal punishment.? In the twenty-two (22) states which permit corporal punishment, departments of education say it's a matter for local school districts to decide. This is a win for the districts.

Let us systematically rescind corporal punishment in school.? School districts where corporal punishment is practiced say their policy reflects the will of the community expressed through their elected school boards. This is a win for the community. Let us systematically rescind corporal punishment in school.

? When school children are injured by corporal punishment, no one seems to have a strategy to address the problem. Instead, the parties engage in a well-practiced ritual of circular buck-passing which leaves the school administration essentially a law unto themselves and children unprotected. Let us not allow this type blind attitude harm another child. Let us systematically rescind corporal punishment in schools in your state, in your district in your community.Corporal punishment causes emotional as well as physical damage, which can not be resolved through traditional talk therapy. Healing emotional damage from corporal punishment needs to specifically focus on the aftereffects of physical violence.

If left unhealed the emotional damage continues to plague the person for a lifetime. Hitting, paddling, smacking, whacking, bopping, or any form of physical assault against a child is violence, because the act violates the child's sacred body boundaries.Furthermore, when a parent or other authority figure, whom the child is totally dependent on, uses corporal punishment, the child is betrayed in the worst way possible. "I love you, therefore, I hit you," is hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy because love and hitting (hurting) can not co-exist simultaneously.

It is hypocrisy because the same act against an adult is considered assault and battery and the perpetrator is subject to arrest and possibly a jail sentence. Why then, when so much is at stake, do we assault our children when we protect adults from the same violent act? The answer is quite simple, but too lengthy to include in this article.Dr. Frank Putnam of the National Institute of Mental Health and Dr. Martin Teicher of Harvard Medical School studied 170 girls, 6-15 years old?half had experienced corporal punishment, half had not?for seven years.

The girls who experienced corporal punishment had symptoms such as abnormally high stress hormones, which can kill neurons in brain areas crucial for thinking and memory, and high levels of an antibody that weakens the immune system.Teicher completed a series of brain studies on 402 children and adults, many of whom experienced corporal punishment. His findings revealed that corporal punishment creates arrested growth of the left hemisphere of the brain which can hamper development of language and logic and arrested growth of the right hemisphere of the brain (the site for emotions) at an abnormally early age.The AMA and APA ignore these studies. Why do the AMA and APA ignore these studies and other noted researchers' work?for example: Judith Herman, M.

D? The answer lies within the denial theory?if we don't believe it, it can't hurt us. The irony is "Facts do no cease to exist because they are ignored," and the tragic results follow.The tragic results are:.? Children whose parents or other authority figures use corporal punishment to correct unacceptable behavior show more antisocial behavior over a long period of time, regardless of race and socioeconomic status, and regardless of whether the mother provides cognitive stimulation and emotional support (Gunnoe & Mariner, 1997; Kazdin, 1987; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989; Straus, Sugarman, & Giles-Sims, 1997).

? Adults who were hit as children are more likely to be depressed or violent themselves (Berkowitz, 1993; Strassberg, Dodge, Pettit, & Bates, 1994; Straus, 1994; Straus & Gelles, 1990; Straus & Kantor, 1992).? The more a child is hit, the more likely the child, when an adult, will hit his or her children, spouse, or friends (Julian & McKenry, 1993; Straus, 1991; Straus, 1994; Straus & Gelles, 1990; Straus & Kantor, 1992; Widom, 1989; Wolfe, 1987).? Corporal punishment increases the probability of children assaulting the parent in retaliation, when they are older (Brezina, 1998).

? Corporal punishment sends a message that violence is a viable option for solving problems (Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980; Straus, Sugarman, & Giles-Sims, 1997).? Corporal punishment is degrading, contributes to feelings of helplessness and humiliation, robs a child of self-worth and self-respect, and can lead to withdrawal, aggression, mental and physical dysfunctions (Sternberg et al., 1993; Straus, 1994).? Corporal punishment destroys trust between parent and child, and increases the risk of child abuse; as a discipline measure, it simply does not decrease children's aggressive or delinquent behaviors (Straus, 1994).? Children who are spanked regularly are more likely over time to cheat or lie, be disobedient at school, bully others, and show less remorse for wrongdoing (Straus, Sugarman, & Giles-Sims, 1997).? Corporal punishment adversely affects children's cognitive development.

Children who are spanked perform poorly on school tasks compared to other children (Straus & Mathur, 1995; Straus & Paschall, 1998).Resources:.-Berkowitz, L. (1993). Aggression: Its causes, consequences, and control. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

-Bitensky, S. H. (1998). Spare the rod, embrace our humanity: Toward a new legal regime prohibiting corporal punishment of children. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, 31(2), 354-391.-Brezina, T.

(1998). Adolescent-to-parent violence as an adaptation to family strain: An empirical examination. Manuscript submitted for publication.-Cohen, C.

P. (1984). Freedom from corporal punishment: One of the human rights of children. New York Law School Human Rights Annual, Volume II, Part 1.-Durrant, J. E.

, & Olsen, G. M. (1997). Parenting and public policy: Contextualizing the Swedish corporal punishment ban. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 19, 443-461.

-EPOCH-USA. (1999a). Legal reforms: Corporal punishment of children in the family as reported by EPOCH-Worldwide.

[On-line]. Available: www.StopHitting.org.-EPOCH-USA.

(1999b). U.S. progress in ending physical punishment of children in schools, institutions, foster care, day care and families. [On-line]. Available: www.

StopHitting.org.-Gelles, R. J., & Edfeldt, A.W.

(1986). Violence toward children in the United States and Sweden. Child Abuse and Neglect, 10, 501-510 Greven, P.

(1991). Spare the child: The religious roots of punishment and the psychological impact of physical abuse. New York: Knopf.-Gunnoe, M. I.

, & Mariner, C. L. (1997). Toward a developmental-contextual model of the effects of parental spanking on children's aggression. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 151, 768-775.

-Haeuser, A. (1992). Swedish parents don't spank. Mothering, 63, 42-49. Hyman, I. A.

(1995). Corporal punishment, psychological maltreatment, violence, and punitiveness in America: Research, advocacy and public policy. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 4, 113-130.-Herman, Judith, M.D. Trauma and Recovery (Basic Books: 1991; second edition, 1997).

-Hyman, I. A. (1997). The case against spanking. San Francisco: Jossey-Boss.

Julian, T. W., & McKenry, P.

C. (1993). Mediators of male violence toward female intimates. Journal of Family Violence, 8, 39-56.

-Kadushin, A., & Martin, J. A. (1981). Child abuse: An interactional event.

New York: Columbia University Press.-Kazdin, A. E. (1987). Treatment of antisocial behavior in children: Current status and future directions.

Psychological Bulletin, 102(2), 187-203.-Kirchner, J. T. (1998). Childhood spanking and increased antisocial behavior. American Family Physician, 57(4), 798.

-Myles, B. S., & Simpson, R.

L. (1998). Aggression and violence by school age children and youth: Understanding the aggression cycle and prevention/intervention strategies.

Intervention in School and Clinic, 33(5), 250-262.-Patterson, G. R.

, DeBaryshe, B. D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior.

American Psychologist, 44(2), 329-335. Pete, S. (1998). To smack or not to smack? Should the law prohibit South African parents from imposing corporal punishment on their children? South African Journal of Human Rights, 14, 431-460.

-Rohner, R. P., & Cournoyer, D. E.

(1994). Universal and cultural specifics in children's perceptions of parental acceptance and rejection: Evidence from factor analyses within eight societies worldwide. Cross Cultural Research, 28, 371-383.

-Sternberg, K. J., Lamb, M. E., Greenbaum, C.

D., Dawud, S., Cortes, R. M.

, Krispin, O., & Lorey, F. (1993). Effect of domestic violence on children's behavior problems and depression. Developmental Psychology, 29, 44-52.

-Strassberg, Z., Dodge, K. A.

, Pettit, G. S., & Bates, J. E. (1994).

-Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 445-461.-Straus, M. A.

(1991). Discipline and deviance: Physical punishment of children and violence and other crimes in adulthood. Social Problems, 38, 133-154.-Straus, M.

A. (1994). Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families. San Francisco: New Lexington Press.-Straus, M. A.

, & Gelles, R. J. (Eds.). (1990). Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families.

New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions.-Straus, M. A., Gelles, R.

J., & Steinmetz, S. K. (1980). Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family.

Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.-Straus, M. A., & Kantor, K. G.

(1992). Corporal punishment by parents of adolescents: A risk factor in the epidemiology of depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, child abuse and wife beating. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Family Research Laboratory.-Straus, M. A., & Mathur, A.

K. (1995, April). Corporal punishment and children's academic achievement.

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Society, San Francisco.-Straus, M. A., & Paschall, M. J. (1998).

Corporal punishment by mothers and child's cognitive development: A longitudinal study. Paper presented at the 14th world conference of sociology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Durham, NH: Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire. Straus, M. A.

, Sugarman, D. B., & Giles-Sims (1997). Corporal punishment by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior of children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 155, 761-767.-Straus, M.

A., & Yodanis, C. L. (1994). Physical abuse.

-In M. A. Straus (Ed.), Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families (pp. 81-98).

San Francisco: New Lexington Press.-Turner, H. A., & Finkelhor, D.

(1996). Corporal punishment as a stressor among youth. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 155-166.-UNICEF. (1997, June).

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. [On-line]. Available: www.unicef.

org/crc/conven.htm.-Weiss, B., Dodge, K. A.

, Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G.

S. (1992). Some consequences of early harsh discipline: Child aggression and a maladaptive social information processing style. Child Development, 63, 1321-1335.-Widom, C. S.

(1989). The cycle of violence. Science, 244, 160-166.-Wolfe, D. A.

(1987). Child abuse: Implications for child development and psychopathology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

.Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, "If I'd Only Known.Sexual Abuse in or Out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention, is noted for her pioneering work in Verbal, Physical, Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. http://www.gen-assist.


By: Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD


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