Corporal Punishment in School
The question of whether corporal punishment of children should be illegal or legal is complex and a subject of discussion. This is because some people hold corporal punishment as irreplaceable and effective way of disciplining a child hence it should be encouraged and legalized. The other group argues that human beings have the right to protection of their physical integrity. If children are human beings, they must enjoy the benefits of this law. Undoubtedly, children are human beings and therefore corporal punishment robs them their right and hence should be illegal.
This paper seeks to define what corporal punishment of children is. It gives reasons as to why corporal punishment is not effective and should not be allowed in schools.
Corporal punishment in school is defined as an intentional act of instilling pain with an aim of disciplining a student with a behavior which is perceived as unacceptable (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2002). Corporal punishment is deemed ineffective and counterproductive because of several reasons.
Top on the list of these reasons is that striking children makes them hardy and strikers. Research studies have shown that hitting children as a punishment instill a sense of aggressiveness and violence to them (Gershon, 2006). This is evidenced at later stages of growth. For instance, if a student was regularly threatened of been beaten because of doing wrong, he tends to be revengeful to his peers by hitting and this encourages violence in school and in the society as well as promoting domestic violence like wife battering.
Another reason which renders corporal punishment ineffective is that it destructs the students from learning conflict solving skills which are more human like negotiation (National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2003). Students are still destructed from learning because they are occupied by feelings of fear, hatred, anger and thoughts of revenging to the teacher. Revenging to the teacher may call for more punishment and this conflict of interest can amount to frustration. Corporal punishment inflicts fear to students thereby depriving them an opportunity of getting knowledge and abilities that will promote human handling of conflicts.
Still to be noted here is the fact that what teachers calls wrong or an acceptable is not well defined and therefore it is very possible for a teacher to deem an act wrong due to his/her own emotional instability (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2002). Further to this, the child might be responding in the best and only way he can as per his age and experience. This problem is underscored by the fact that many parents in the modern society are busy with their personal problems and worries therefore the children are left unattended. They pay little or no attention to their children who might be oppressed or lacking some basic needs. For a teacher to punish a child due to the parents ignorance is unjust and deprives our young boys and girls the opportunity to learn on their own. In this interest therefore corporal punishment is not only ineffective but also unjust
One of the facts in this matter which needs to be appreciated is that corporal punishment hurts the child and the student for this matter no matter the intention and purpose of using it. With this in mind and by judging on the principles of reason, a sound mind cannot fail to see the risks of loosing bonds between children and teachers. It is not human to love somebody who hurts you (Cryan, 1995). The spirit of togetherness and cooperation between the teacher and the student is lost and they are no longer united to achieve a common goal. Research studies have confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that students perform best in subjects taught by the teachers they love. On this basis, mutual love between the teacher and the student must exist if and only if our young boys and girls are to do well in school. Cooperation and respect between a child and the teacher is carried forward to old age and the teacher is held at esteem of having made a difference in the students live and the society at large.
Many teachers prefer corporal punishment because it was their irresponsibility or they were not given a chance to learn other positive ways of dealing with students. Research studies have shown that corporal punishment does not achieve the intended purpose and therefore if the teacher does not have other alternatives, this inhuman act can be regularly applied to students and continue to hurt them (Stewart, & Andero, 2002). Many a times, moral and ethical standards achieved through this kind of punishment are based on fear and when the student grows up they tend to resist.
Lastly, corporal punishment instills a very dangerous and inhuman message to our good students that it is normal to hurt or to mistreat somebody as long as they are young, small or less powerful than them (Strauss, & Donnelly, 2002). The students grow with that attitude of molesting their juniors or the less fortunate people than them and fearing those who are powerful instead of respecting all of them.
In conclusion therefore, corporal punishment is ineffective and unjust to students and therefore it should be done away with. It robs our good boys and girls their right of physical integrity and instills a dangerous message that it is normal to hurt and mistreat. It also builds morals on basis of fear only to resist when they mature.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2002). Policy Statement 14, Corporal Punishment in Schools. Retrieved August 3, 2010, from http://www.aacap.org/publications/policy/ps14.htm
Cryan, J. (1995). The banning of corporal punishment. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 23(3), 36-37
Gershon, T. (2002). Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review. Psychological Bulletin, 128 (4):539–579.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2003). A Report from the Advocacy Committee: Policy Statement: Corporal Punishment. Retrieved August 3, 2010, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2538456/
Stewart, A., & Andero, A. (2002). Issue of Corporal Punishment: Re-examined. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 29, 12-23.
Strauss M., Donnelly D. (2002). Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families and its Effects on Children. Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
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