Please ask President Obama and U.S. Secretary Department of Education, Arne Duncan this question:
WHEN will you TAKE ACTION to ensure EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS TREATMENT OF CHILDREN IN AMERICA'S SCHOOLS by ABOLISHING PHYSICAL (Corporal) PUNISHMENT (PADDLING with wooden boards) IN 21 STATES THAT STILL ALLOW AND PRACTICE the deliberate infliction of physical pain and suffering on schoolchildren intended to punish them without parental consent or notification with legal impunity!
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report on 8/20/08 titled "A Violent Education" that cited the latest available (2006-07) U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights statistics where schools reported disciplining over 223,000 schoolchildren by spanking, hitting or similar means for minor infractions such as chewing gum or violating school dress codes. Physical punishment of schoolchildren does not teach them appropriate behavior, but in fact, powerfully models physical assault/violence as the acceptable means of solving problems/conflict resolution.
Our family resides in the state of Tennessee and the learning environment is not safe, healthy or supportive, as my two children who attend Middle School speak of overhearing paddlings being administered to students in the halls. They tell us the names of the children who receive the paddlings (the same students are usually paddled on a regular basis) and how many blows they receive as they can hear them. Teachers show students wooden paddles with holes drilled in them which are kept in their desk drawers and use threats of physical violence to obtain obedience. Students are afraid to raise their hands to ask questions for fear of ridicule or physical punishment, which is not conducive to academic or social achievement. We have been writing to our elected government officials and Agency Leaders such as President George Bush, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Margaret Spellings, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee and U.S. Congressman John Tanner of Tennessee and Tennessee State Department and Board of Education only to receive replies that tell us "By LAW, this matter is a local issue, the responsibility of our Local School Board." We have written to our local school board's 7 elected representatives and the Superintendent/Director of our County's Schools on 3 occasions and we made a verbal/written presentation at their School Board Meeting and we have received NO RESPONSE!
It is agreed by many professional organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Teachers Association, National Parent-Teacher Association, National Association of School Counselors, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Family Physicians that Physical Punishment of Children is not necessary and is harmful to children and the learning environment. Some of the devastating negative effects on the child are fear of attending school, low self-esteem and distrust and resentment of authority figures that last a lifetime. Recent shocking news headlines in the State of Tennessee such as "E. Tenn. Principal to Plead Guilty for Student Assault," "8-Year-Old, in Trouble at School, Hospitalized after Trying to Hang Self," "Loudon Principal Investigated in alleged Paddling of 11-Year-Old," and "Marion County Sheriff's Office Investigates Case of Excessive Discipline" are evidence of the tragic consequences and negative effects of corporal punishment. This unacceptable practice jeopardizes educators careers and places tax-payer funded school district assets at risk.
Glaring testament to the efforts of concerned citizens is evidenced by the names of the following citizen founded and operated non-profit organizations, some have been working to Abolish the Unacceptable Practice of Physical (Corporal) Punishment of Children in Schools for DECADES: Tennesseans for Non Violent School Discipline, Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education, National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, The Hitting Stops Here!, People Opposed to Paddling Students. What a sad testament to America's "Culture of Violence" that after all this time and effort, little progress has been made. In 29 states, the legislatures have correctly enacted legislation to Abolish Corporal punishment of Children in Schools.
Please help us to make sure that our Elected Government Officials are AWARE of this injustice and inequality and MAKE A COMMITMENT to end Corporal Punishment in Schools. The cost of eliminating teachers' right to assault and batter schoolchildren is $0.
Thank You for making children's lives safer and more peaceful.