Alabama Schools Paddle Kids With No Way For Parents To Opt-Out

Here’s an type of opt-out list we don’t often write about: Corporal punishment in schools is legal in lots of states, but if you assumed parents could always opt-out, you’d be mistaken. According to a report from WHNT in Alabama, one student was beaten until he was bruised because he failed a science test.

The kid, who says he (and his mom) reported the teacher to the local news because he wants to save other kids from being bruised, describes the incident:

“It felt like he was trying to touch the ceiling and when he came down… it felt like he was trying to smack me through the wall.”

The news station investigated and found that the teacher apparently didn’t break any laws, but that the school district handbook doesn’t specifically allow kids to be subjected to corporal punishment for purely academic offenses, such as failing a test. As for a “no paddle” list, there’s apparently no such thing in DeKalb County, Alabama.

From WHNT:

WHNT NEWS 19 called the DeKalb County Superintendent’s office more than a dozen times to ask about the rules and regulations surrounding corporal punishment. They refused to answer our questions but did say they follow Alabama state laws. We called the Alabama Department of Education and officials told WHNT NEWS 19 that corporal punishment “is authorized under the policies and guidelines developed by the local board of education.”

Melissa Lewis says nowhere in the county handbook does it state that a child can be disciplined for anything academic related. WHNT NEWS 19 also studied the handbook and learned Lewis was right. The handbook does list some violations, but academics are not one of them. Furthermore, the handbook says corporal punishment should only be administered with “moderate use of physical force” and only in order to “maintain discipline” and “enforce school rules.”

Principal Bell says all kids should always be given alternatives to paddling such as in-school suspension. But Payton says he never received that alternative. Payton said, “He just lectured us about how his dad beat him and said that’s what I am going to do to you.”

Perhaps all this could have been solved if Melissa opted to sign a “no paddle list.” Several schools across the country are giving the power back to the parents. But after doing some digging, WHNT NEWS 19 learned no such option exists in DeKalb County.

The mother in this case has filed a police report and is waiting to see if the county district attorney will press criminal charges. In the meantime, the school has sent a memo “discouraging” paddling “for the time being.”

Paddling: Parent Claims Teacher Went To The Extreme [WHNT]



Edit Your Comment

  1. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    As a child of the 1970’s, I was most definitely familiar with the “Board of Education”. Even back then (and in Texas), parents could opt out of it.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      In Texas, they are supposed to maintain a list of “opt outs”. But they don’t have to follow it, and they have immunity if they decide to hit anyway.

    • Cantras says:

      Ours had “Educator” carved into one side.
      Our parents did not opt out, and I was probably pretty close to getting it before we moved — it was the very last step before expulsion, it wasn’t used for test-failing or whatever.
      I only know of one kid who got it in the three years we were there, and he later *did* get expelled, sooo.

    • sonneillon says:
      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Paddlin’ the school canoe? Oh, you better believe that’s a paddlin’.

    • Gtmac says:

      I was also a child of the 70’s in Texas and I can tell you in my school there was no opt out list available. This practice is abhorrent and should be banned. It can have dramatically negative effects on the development of young children.

      • Beeker26 says:

        You mean like making them understand at an early age there are dire consequences for their actions? And I’m not talking about this ‘naughty stool’ shit.

        Cause the kids we have these days that were raised after it was no longer PC to spank them, yeah, they’re a great respectful bunch of youngsters.

        And I’ll just add this. We were never hit as kids. But the fear of being hit was always there. And that was more than enough to get us to straighten up when we misbehaved.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Consequences do not have to include being attacked by the people you are supposed to trust.

        • chefboyardee says:

          I’m fine with you spanking your kids. YOU spanking YOUR kids. I’m not ok with some arbitrary jackass teacher that I’ve met twice at parent teacher conferences, and didn’t get along with in the first place, ever laying their hands on my child.

          • Southern says:


            I’d even agree to coming to the school to either (monitor) or ADMINISTER the “paddling” in front of the teacher.

            After all, in school it usually wasn’t the paddling itself that correct the (mis)behavior , but the absolute embarassment of BEING paddled that usually caused us to correct our ways. I was paddled maybe twice in 1st-8th grade (they were stopping the practice in my school just around the time I went into the 9th grade), and I can tell you that the only thing those paddlings hurt was my pride.. and walking down the hall after class and just imagining whether everyone is looking at you and laughing on the inside was a lot more shameful than the paddling itself. :)

            Now paddling hard enough to bruise, that’s too much of course.. But (many) parents today seem to oppose even brusing their childs EGO.. and IMO that’s where a lot of problems that we’re seeing with an “Entitlement” society is coming from the past few years.

        • AI says:

          Next time you’re late for work let me know and I’ll punch you in the face so that you learn the consequences of your actions.

          • trentblase says:

            DIRE consequences. Because in the real world, if you mess up a report, your boss doesn’t fire you, he shoots you in the head.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          It’s all fine and dandy until you get a shitty, power hungry teacher who comes across a kid she doesn’t like and spanks her for no reason. My 2nd grade teacher hated me and spanked me every time she could find an excuse. I never had trouble before that year, or after. I was a good kid who was mistreated.

          I used to spank my kid when she was younger (she is 8 now) and it really worked with her. But I don’t want other people spanking her.

        • graytotoro says:

          It’s always that 10% that makes the other 90% look bad.

        • VeganPixels says:

          I looked at the Wiki map of nations where physical assault of children is illegal in schools and illegal in homes, as well. Your theory kinda falls apart outside the US border.

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      That is the best name ever for a paddle.

    • alexwade says:

      I was spanked in kindergarten. That was 1982. It was the paddle with holes in it. Those hurt, but it did work because I never bite anybody again. But not as bad as my grandma’s tiny belt. That was like a whip. I never told my parents I was spanked, I was too embarrassed.

    • spamtasticus says:

      If they did that to my kid I would not opt out I would “paddle” the teacher until his fingers could no longer function.

  2. blinky says:

    Call the DCFS. That’ll put the fear of deity into them.

  3. AstroPig7 says:

    I’m fine with corporal punishment on its own, but only in moderation and only with parental consent. Leaving bruises is abusive, and being punished in this way for failing a test is absurd.

    • Cameraman says:

      Agreed. Corporal punishment is SOMETIMES necessary BY THE PARENT. Leaving bruises is child abuse.

    • JonathanR says:

      Well before we call it absurd lets see if he fails another test…

    • Alisha Gray says:

      It’s only ok to abuse kids with parental consent?

      • Firethorn says:

        Within certain constraints, certain development levels, and for certain problems, corporal punishment is the quickest, easiest way to fix certain behavior issues.

        It shouldn’t be *frequent*, and certainly not to the point of bruising, but I think it should remain as essentially the ‘nuclear’ option.

        • obits3 says:

          And that’s why we launch nuclear weapons every month… jk

        • Ben says:

          That’s not true. You might want to get caught up on the current research from the past few decades. Unless you’re trying to stop your kid from putting themselves in IMMEDIATE danger (like about to touch an electrical socket), non-beating forms of discipline have always been shown to be more effective in the short and long terms.

          • jasonq says:

            Spanking isn’t beating. Bit of a difference. If I smack my kid on the ass with an open hand, not leaving a bruise or lasting mark, it’s a spanking. If I double up my fist and punch him, that’s a beating.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              French vanilla ice cream is fundamentally different from regular vanilla ice cream.

              • RvLeshrac says:

                No, but vanilla ice cream with shards of glass is fundamentally different from vanilla ice cream.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  Hitting is hitting is violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

                  • Ben says:

                    Exactly. That people still think spanking is not hitting is disturbing. Probably because they were hit themselves as kids, so they think it’s normal or acceptable.

                  • 12345678nine says:

                    Oh please. It’s a very easy way to teach a child that his actions are wrong. I am only down for “spankings” when a kid is very young, and having a nice talk on the reasons his actions were wrong is not really going to work, because he does not yet understand. Of course it would be more like a little smack on the behind, or a smack on the hand. My gosh it’s not abuse.
                    At a certain age though, I don’t think a spanking will do any good. Hopefully a good talk about right and wrong with help any kid with a conscience.

          • physics2010 says:

            As long as you’re not in the U.S. you should probably just let the kid touch the outlet. It’s very shocking, but its rare that anyone dies from that shock. And you only do it once either way.

        • GameHen says:

          Also…never use corporal punishment in a flash of anger. That’s one thing that my parents made sure of…we’d get sent to our room and then after they cooled down, they’d come spank us. It made a clear line that spanking is a consequence of our actions, not an outlet for their anger.

          We make sure the practice the same methods with our own kids. It’s one of many tools in the bag reserved for severe cases of poor behavior such as intentional actions that can harm others or blantant disrespect (i.e. lying). And certainly never for academic performance..WTF!

          • trentblase says:

            If you have to do it, this is the way. I don’t have kids yet so I haven’t made a final decision, but people who hurt other people to make themselves FEEL better are just abusers.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              I’m actually not convinced a decent, rational person can hit a loved one with the intent to cause pain, if they aren’t feeling angry. Otherwise it’s like you’re saying that a loving parent can feel totally loving toward a child and yet raise their hand to them and hurt them. It doesn’t compute.

              • dangermike says:

                Just playing devil’s advocate for a moment here… Would you have your children vaccinated? Vaccines hurt. And any injections can have fatal consequences. But that little bit of pain and that little bit of danger is a calculated effort that will be far outweighed by the long term effects of such actions. Similarly, teaching that negative actions have miserable consequences can go a long way toward teaching the discipline necessary to be as successful as possible in life, and conversely, neglecting to teach appropriate discipline may result in far greater pain just as failing to obtain a vaccine could lead to debilitating diseases.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  Vaccines are not given to children in order to punish them, and they do not involve violence.

                  You don’t have to be cruel to your children to teach them that actions have consequences. Discipline is more than hitting. You don’t hit adults people you love and respect; do you also love and respect your children?

              • trentblase says:

                I know I could hit my kid without anger, but I’m not saying I would or that it’s necessarily the best parenting approach (like I said, I’m not a parent so I’ve done no research). However, if I was convinced by science that a certain aged child was best served by being given a painful but non-permanent spanking, without risk of long-term psychological or physical harm, I could do it. I would NOT like it, but I would do what I thought was best.

        • shepd says:

          Within certain constraints, certain development levels, and for certain problems, corporal punishment is the quickest, easiest way to fix make children fearful of certain behavior issues.


      • AstroPig7 says:

        Wait, what now? I said corporal punishment is abusive if it leaves bruises. (There are other scenarios, such as psychological terror, in which it could be abusive, but they’re irrelevant to this article.) Non-abusive corporal punishment should be performed with parental consent, if only because modern parents are sue-happy.

        • trentblase says:

          Yeah, wait until someone smacks your kid around and see if you aren’t “sue happy”

          • AstroPig7 says:

            So were children not smacked around until 10 or 20 years ago? Why do we only recently hear about parents suing over trivial crap? It could be because of the proliferation of media in the past two decades, but it could also be because we once understood that not everything required a lawsuit.

            • trentblase says:

              Sure, children were smacked around in the past. They were also made to work in factories. Appealing to the way things were holds no weight with me. Try deciding whether children should be beaten from first principles.

              • AstroPig7 says:

                We’re talking about different levels of punishment. Bruising is beating. However, I was referring to parents who will even sue over physical contact, and I don’t mean sexually inappropriate contact. Punishment of any kind seems to drive some parents batty, but thankfully they appear to be in the minority.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I believe in spanking, but it should never be done in such a way as to leave a child with any lasting injury. When I was spanked as a child, it never hurt the next day. That, in my eyes, is abuse.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Yeah. That’ll make him like science. What bullshit.

      • squirrel says:

        Absolutely, he failed the following questions:

        1. How old is the Earth:
        A: 4000 years
        B: 4-5 Billion Years

        2. How long did the Earth take to form?
        A: One week
        B: Millions of years

        3. Evolution is:
        A: A fallacy. Every organism that exists was existing when the earth was created in Genesis
        B: The theory that organisms adapt and modify themselves to the environment

        Some smartass picked “B” for the answers.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Did you not read what I wrote, or were you trying for irony by making an irrelevant statement about learning and punishment being irrelevant to each other?

    • Griking says:

      I’m ok with it as well though I don’t agree with a school being allowed to hit a student because of their grades. Behavior yes, grades no.

  4. Snowblind says:

    So, Johnny, did you learn anything about Newtons laws of motion?

    • goodpete says:

      See kids, when a 1kg paddle traveling at 30km/h impacts a 50kg student who is stationary, the student will be accelerated to slightly less than .6km/h, with the remainder of the energy being converted into sound, heat, and litigation…

  5. Cameraman says:

    Allow me to be the first to be an ITG and say that if you touch my kid, I’ll be spending the weekend in jail and you will spend the rest of your life terrified of doorknobs.

    • maddypilar says:

      That’ll teach your kid that violence is wrong!

      • Cameraman says:

        It’s not my intention to teach my kid that violence is wrong. It’s my intention to teach him that Daddy always has his back.

        Signed, a parent who was regularly beaten by teachers in parochial school and has… anger issues…

        • Mama Mayhem says:

          If someone laid a hand on my child, I would turn into a mama bear so fast, their heads would spin. I may be petite, but I used to skate roller derby so I can be scary.

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          I agree with you. And based on your picture there, even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t mess with your kid. You look friendly enough, but you also look like you could end me.

          • Cameraman says:

            LOL. That’s my author photo. I contribute to security industry magazines every once in a blue moon, and as a field level guy it’s career-enhancing to look as scary as possible. I’m rather friendlier IRL.

        • NumberSix says:

          I agree 100%.

        • GeekChicCanuck says:

          My dad was sort of like you only sneakier. The one time a teacher struck me (in grade two) I hit her back – apparently quite hard. Got sent to the principal’s office, they were going to suspend me. They bring my dad in and the conversation goes something like this:

          DAD: Did you hit your teacher?

          ME: Yes. Hard.

          DAD: Why?

          ME: She hit me.

          DAD: Why did she do that?

          ME: She said I was moving too slow and wasting time.

          DAD [to the principal]: Is her version of events correct?

          PRINCIPAL: Yes.

          DAD: You tell all your teachers and staff that if anyone EVER touches her again, she will hit them back again. HARD.

          PRINCIPAL: Excuse me?

          DAD: You do not have my permission or approval to do this and if you think that you are teaching her anything other than how to be violent herself – you’re an idiot.

          PRINCIPAL: ….

          DAD [to me]: You have the right to fight back when someone else hits you. Adult or not. Is that clear?

          ME: Yes.

          I was back in school the next day… with a different teacher. ;)

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            I know someone is going to say it’s inconsistent for you to take the principal to task for teaching your daughter violence while telling her to strike back. I want you to know that I understand perfectly. Self-defense is not the same as using force and pain to coerce weaker people to follow arbitrary rules and obey unjust authority. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. No teacher legitimately uses violence to teach.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              Why the heck did I read that as you and your daughter? Sorry, I’m getting tired. I was up at 3 this morning trying to pre-jet-lag myself before a trip overseas.

              I commend your dad for what he did, and I thank you for relating your story.

            • TuxedoCartman says:

              Thank you! I was trying to find the words to say just that. Now, I can just link to your comment. 100% agreement.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Thank you.

        • the_wiggle says:

          Daddy (& Mommy, hell the whole family) are supposed have the kid’s back. Wish more actually did.

      • poctob says:

        Are you trying to tell me if someone beats your kid until he is bruised in front of you, you are not going to resort to violence?
        Obviously this school district doesn’t seen to care about teaching your child that the violence is wrong either.
        I completely agree with Cameraman, if any adult lays a finger on my kid, I’ll make sure that they’ll remember him and his dad for the rest of their life.

        • Me - now with more humidity says:

          Yep. You touch my kid and you have to choices when you get to jail: you can either be know as the punk-a$$-b!tch who beat up a little kid and then beat up the 50-year-old father who came to the kid’s defense, or you can be the punk-a$$-b!tch who beat up a little kid then got schooled by his 50-year-old father. I’m okay either way.

          Or I’ll take the non-physical but equally satisfying route of making sure you’re arrested and jailed and let the general population show you what it feels like.

        • Genuineduck says:

          Yes. I won’t resort to violence. Because unlike most others I have the amazing and increasingly more rare ability to know myself and my limits and admit I’m not some goddamn badass. It’s always worth a laugh when you see internet users who claim if anybody wrongs them in any way it’s on like Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness.

      • jasonq says:

        Yeah. Why would you defend your offspring against violence? I mean, that’s just…barbaric.

    • Portlandia says:

      Ah yes, meet violence with more violence.

      That’s the way to sort the world’s problems out.

      • obits3 says:

        Maybe we could think of this like some twisted version of proportional force:

        Abusive Corporal punishment/Child = It’s on like donkey kong/Adult

      • George4478 says:

        Well, I could give my child’s abuser a flower and a hug, but I’d rather kick the shit out of him instead.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Whose side are you on, your child’s, or his abuser’s? if you preach love and forgiveness toward the abuser, it’s the same as saying to your child that they don’t matter as much to you as your ability to keep the peace with other adults. It’s saying to your child that it’s OK for people to hurt them with impunity. If your child were mugged or raped instead of beaten, would you still be taunting parents with “you’re no better than the abuser if you add to the violence in the world”?

        You are the parent. You need to be on your child’s side.

      • Pax says:

        Yes. Abso-fucking-lutely.

        “If a man puts out the eye of an equal, his eye shall be put out.” No, I’m not quoting the Bible there … I’m quoting the Code of Hammurabi.

        The teacher in question is a bully, with the luxury of victims decades younger, inches shorter, and dozens of kilograms lighter, than he is. He is an adult who bullies children.

        Let him learn the fear a bully’s victims suffer. Maybe then, he’ll be a bit less eager to bully someone else.

        And if he doesn’t learn? If he fails that test?

        As above, so below. As before, so after. TIME FOR A BEATING.

        If he thinks beatings help twelve year old kids learn better, he can’t argue about whether they help ADULTS learn better, now, can he?

    • GrammatonCleric says:

      Agreed 100%, like my dad always told me, “If someone except me or your mother raises their hand to you, put ’em in the ******* ground kid.” If anyone ever hurt my child I promise they will feel pain on a new level.

  6. obits3 says:

    I guess he understands F = MA now?

  7. Running_Fool says:

    It is one thing for the parents to choose to do this themselves.
    It is another thing for an unrelated person to do this. Although it may be considered “legal”, if the parents and child object to this, one could argue that this was assault.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Good point. Just because a school doesn’t offer an opt out doesn’t mean that it won’t violate the law if the parent has explicitely told the school not to do this.

    • bravohotel01 says:

      Nope! The supreme court has ruled that schools are “In Loco Parentis” and that even if a kid’s abusive, crazy and violent “new parents” physically assault her, Ingraham v. Wright has assured us all that beating a child is not cruel or unusual, even if it causes a hematoma (Wright).

      As a father myself, I would be happy to apply this non-cruel punishment to any adult who were to assume he (or she) can physically assault my child. Fortunately, I live in Texas, the ‘blow-em-away’ state.

      • sonneillon says:

        Shooting them might be much. But I may respond by “paddling” the teacher with my Louisville Slugger.

        • sonneillon says:

          actually I’d probably just sue the school and file pro se motions until it looked like it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and many hours responding to them so they would settle for less. Remember as a pro se client a judge gives you sooo much leeway and since most of the time it won’t hurt your career if a court sanctions you abuse both of those facts.

      • IMoriarty says:

        Yeah, pretty much if anyone paddled my child claiming “In Loco Parentis” I’d teach them the meaning of “defenestration.”


        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          just remember, that definition is much more effectively explained on the second floor or higher

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            It can work on the first floor as well, if the fenestration isn’t open to the outside air.

  8. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    As a school board member, the level of liability involved in paddling students, legal or not, makes my head spin. I can’t imagine authorizing something that would lead to so many lawsuits. Giant, avoidable waste of taxpayer money.

    • Pinget says:

      Alabama schools seem happy to invite as many lawsuits as possible.

      • Morte42 says:

        That’s because Alabama schools are run by people who went thru Alabama education when they still taught the creation story as fact. Corporal punishment was still a viable option in the state’s most progressive city when I entered elementary school in 1994.

        Problem boils down to the fact that the worst imaginable teachers have been around long enough to have tenure, and at that point, they just don’t care about trying to teach or even be decent people.

      • ARP says:

        Well: they teach Creationism, call the Civil War, “The War of Northern Agression,” and regularly have some of the worst schools in the country.

  9. Admiral_John says:

    If my child had been paddled without my express written consent prior to the paddling I’d call the police and have it treated as an assault.

    Keep your hands off of my kid.

    • crashfrog says:

      Yeah, but what are the police going to do except defer to the nearest authority? Trust me, the authority isn’t going to be you, Mr. Private Citizen. To the police you’re just another potential criminal.

      You seem to be under the deluded notion that the police are around to protect your rights. Ha!

    • Virginia Consumer says:

      I hope you have taught your kid respect for authority then. I can’t believe how many kids I see in school and scouts that just have no respect for authority of any sort.

      Too many parents just don’t take any responsibility for raising their kids anymore. It’s either school, daycare, or whatever.

      • msbask says:

        Do you think that’s how you teach a child to respect authority?

        This child failed a test and got beaten for it.

        This is sick. They’re supposed to respect authority, not fear authority.

    • dg says:

      The problem is that your kid isn’t technically your kid while at school. The school acts in loco parentis – or as the parents – of the child while in school. So short of some State law prohibiting this, they were well within their rights.

      HOWEVER, when someone smacks or tries to smack me when I don’t deserve it – I fight back. I did so as a student, I’ve done so as an adult. I would have turned around, taken that paddle from that guy and beat HIS ass with it. Then broken the damned thing over a desk so he couldn’t use it again. Thanks – I’ll take the suspension… whatever.

      Now if the kid was mouthing off to a teacher and got popped in the face for it – hey – that’s how you learn, you deserved it you got it. But this is bullshit – kids fail tests all the time. Whatever. The teacher only has himself to be upset with – he’s obviously a shitty professor…

  10. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    If anyone paddled my kid ‘overreact’ wouldn’t begin to describe what I would do. Lawsuit would only be the beginning. I don’t think I’d be happy until the teachers and administrators involved were fired for abuse and stripped of their pensions. Not that would be easy or even possible to do, but I sure would hell try. My kid deserves no less.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Only in Alabama.


  12. diannerose says:

    I bet there is more to this story than is being said….

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Like all the other unreported beatings.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      What, like the kid was responsible for the decision to batter him?

      Don’t even start blaming a child for being abused.

      • human_shield says:

        I think he means that it’s likely the kid did a lot more than just fail a test. Like fail it because he wrote swear words in all the spaces, smeared it with applesauce and threw his desk at the teacher.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          If that’s what he means, then he needs to say why he thinks so. If it’s because he thinks it’s unconscionable to beat a child because they failed a test, then that opinion does him credit, but there’s no reason to believe the child did something so outrageous that it somehow mitigates the outrage of a beating. Because there is no behavior that justifies a school official beating a child. Even a cop isn’t allowed to beat a criminal.

    • KyleOrton says:

      This wasn’t an appropriate thesis for your book report on The Diary of Anne Frank and it isn’t appropriate here either.

  13. working class Zer0 says:

    you often hear of parents getting arrested or reported to the police for hitting their kids in public, but a teacher can hit the same kid and it’s alright?

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Its the opposite end of the spectrum here in California. I know of an Asian family that got deported because the mother slapped the daughter for a bad report card. I would love to see things more in the middle of the road. You know, only violent, disruptive students getting spanked. The problem with opting out is that the main problem IS the parents. The next problem is a society that has basically banned any kind of physical or emotional punishment.

    • baristabrawl says:

      So whatcha do is, have the teacher beat your kid and it’s win/win!

  14. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    They allow adults to physically abuse children in school, in ways that would get you put in jail for years if you did it to an adult stranger on the street. It’s simple battery. There is no due process and no recourse.Too many hitters in schools take perverse pleasure in administering the punishment.

    It teaches children they don’t have a right to say no to being touched in inappropriate ways and against their will. It teaches fear, and pain, and violence. It teaches children that their bodies belong to some authority other than themselves. In a place supposedly dedicated to the nurture of intellectual and moral principles, they prefer to govern in this anti-intellectual, might-makes-right manner.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      THIS x 1000

    • Michaela says:

      These were some of the topics I covered in a class project about corporal punishment (I grew up in North Alabama, where it still happens in rural schools).

      My main issue was that teachers are allowed to hit kids because the kids hit another kid. You are enforcing the rules by somewhat breaking them. At the same time, regulations may exist (some schools will only let the principal spank, since a peeved teacher would probably go bananas on a kid’s butt), but it still trivializes violence.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Your pro-hitting argument also supports the theory that adults should be beaten if they inflict physical injury on another person. It doesn’t work there and it doesn’t work here. If your senile grandmother went around hitting fellow patients in the nursing home, would you argue that the staff should be allowed to hit her?

        • jessjj347 says:

          Uhhh…I don’t think it was a “pro-hitting” argument. You may need to reread…

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            The part of the argument that said that teachers were allowed to hit students to punish the students for hitting other students was the pro-hitting argument I was talking about. I wasn’t saying Michaela advocated it (and I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer). The “you” in the paragraph was the vague “you” similar to “you should drink eight glasses of water a day”, not the specific you of “you have something green stuck in your teeth”.

    • Bladerunner says:

      But didn’t you know that children have no rights?

      Seriously, though, could we please stop abusing children, at the very least as a state-sponsored activity? That would be great.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Yes, this. I’ve taught my daughter (who is bigger and stronger than most of the boys in her class, but is a bookworm like mommy and daddy) that if someone bothers you or makes you mad or sad, you just TELL a grownup. If someone makes you really scared, you run and tell. If someone makes you really scared and you can’t run, try to knock them down, then go run and tell. I’ve told her that she is allowed to finish a fight but never start one, and as long as she remembers that we’ll support her 100% if she gets in trouble.

      In other words, use your words first, but you also don’t have to be a victim.

      Well, unless you live in Alabama or one of the other states that teaches kids that violence is OK if you think your victim did something wrong.

    • hotcocoa says:

      Well said. I can’t respect anyone that hits a child. Or sorry, “spanks.” *eye roll* You’re the adult, use your head and think of a better way to get your message across. “Nobody’s gonna hit my kid but me!” OK, gold star for you. How about nobody hits your kid…period. How can you teach kids not to hit each other, and then go ahead and smack them when they do something wrong? Guess it only works when you’re the bigger, older one in the situation? Do as I say, not as I do, kind of reasoning huh? What it really is is lazy parenting.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        It’s not always laziness. It can be the opposite of laziness, someone doing what they’ve been brainwashed into believing is the best for their child. They can do it in desperation, frustration, anger, or piety. What they can’t do it out of is love and kindness.

      • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

        It is liberal idiots like you two who’s warped ideals have helped this country fall to the pathetic state it is in. Just because you didn’t like getting your spankings and vowed to “not be like that” has let the children of this world run rampant with no respect and no responsibility for anything. Someone needs to smack you and bring you back into line. Your threats of “if you touch my kid I’ll sue fail epically as they are just hot air from airheads who spout big words anytime they think they can make themselves look like Clint Fucking Eastwood. I could go on about this all day and completely prove that since the removal/reduction of corporal punishment in schools has made things worse but you already know that……you just don’t want to admit it.

        • VeganPixels says:

          Once again, your theory falls apart outside the US borders. Chalk it up to ‘murican exceptionalism.

        • hotcocoa says:

          Please go on and on all day. You are psycho nitwit and nobody’s listening. Have fun!
          Oh and you sound angry, why don’t you go and punch a couple of liberals (or spank a few school children, you seem into that) and let off some steam while you’re at it? Using your brain and rational discussion doesn’t seem to be your forte. Tootles.

          • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

            Your feeble attempt at rebutting my comment just shows your weak grip on reality….

        • 12345678nine says:

          Exactly. I would not want a teacher hitting my kid because honestly, I don’t trust teachers to make that kind of call correctly. I don’t know if they necessarily are worthy of that level of respect, either. They passed some easy college classes and now they are able to shape the minds of our youth. Whoopdee doo.
          That being said, I would not mind someone I trust to give my kid a spanking, because I would trust them to be justified in it. This is a very small group of people, but I would know they are not “beating” my kid. I, personally, was only spanked like once ever. I turned out fine, (albeit spoiled) and my mom never hit me. I grew out of the spoiled part thank goodness, but I do believe I could have benefited from a bit more corporal punishment, I can’t believe how darn bratty I was.
          Then again, my dad would hit out of anger, and that was not cool. He did not hit hard enough or anything for it to be scary abusive, but it was still NOT the way to go. There IS a medium there, and it is totally fine.

          It’s amazing all these people that must think that any kid that was hit by their parent and does not have any problem with it as an adult must be suffering from the whole “love your abuser” syndrome.

  15. David Doe says:

    If I want my child spanked or paddled I will do it myself. If a teacher ever does it… I honestly don’t know what I would do, but even the idea of it fills me with a murderous rage. At the very least I would be having a talk with the person. I can’t believe this is actually allowed anymore.

    • Michaela says:

      The interesting thing is that this is placed in the code of conduct, which has to be signed by parents every year of schooling.

      Shows you how little people read what they sign.

      • obits3 says:

        I remember those things. Here’s the flaw in your logic:

        The contract is unconscionable.

        What if it said: “In order to be in this public school, you must agree to let us punch your kid in the face.” Would that hold up in court? I think not.

        This is abuse.

        • Michaela says:

          “Corporal punishment shall be defined as bodily punishment, and shall be restricted to the use of a paddle on the buttocks. Paddles should be kept in the administrative office or other designated area. If corporal punishment is required, it should be administered with care, tact, and caution. Corporal punishment must be done in the administrative office or other designated area (such area shall not be an occupied classroom), and in the presence of another certified staff member. Due process must be followed. Parental approval is not required; however, school officials are encouraged to involve parents in making decisions relative to paddling students.
          At any time corporal punishment is administered, record-keeping forms as prescribed by the Superintendent shall be filled out.
          A person administering corporal punishment to a student in grades 7-12 should be of the same sex.”

          This is usually what is said. The parent signs that they agree with all in the contract, and the entry about corporal punishment is allowed by the state (it is legal in 20 states, including Alabama).
          The parent signs it, doesn’t think about it, and then freaks out when what they have allowed occurs.

          • obits3 says:

            “Due process must be followed. Parental approval is not required”

            I see these two sentences as contradictory.

            • Michaela says:

              Amazingly they aren’t. They find you guilty of whatever you did, and then they punish you through spanking you. How is that contradictory?

              • obits3 says:

                I child is not a legal person and needs a representative. By not calling the parents, they are violating due process. Due process does not mean that the School gets to act as the officer, judge, jury, and enforcer of punishment.

                It is more wrong to punish an innocent person, than it is to let a guilty person go free.

                • Michaela says:

                  Surprise! You sign away your rights when you go to a govt run school!

                  Along with signing off on corporal punishment, you sign off on banning smoking (even to those over 19), guns, knives, and searches. Heck! You even sign away your right to carry a cell phone at many schools.

                  Rights are lost to maintain order in the school, and to gain them back (if felt that such rules are not needed to maintain order), parents must take the issue to the school board (many school districts in Alabama have gotten rid of corporal punishment).

                  • suez says:

                    So you’d like to see kids bring guns, knives, cigarettes and cellphones into the classrooms?

                    • Michaela says:

                      No. I was saying that schools puts a limit on rights to maintain order and a productive learning environment. The things I listed were objects you can have outside of school, but cannot have within it. Your parents (and you yourself) sign away some of your rights for a few hours so you can learn.

                      I never gave an opinion on if they should or should not do something. I am just trying to clarify how this is not completely illegal.

                    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                      Um, this is NOT A WAR and children are NOT THE ENEMY.

            • CoachTabe says:

              They’re not. The due process refers to an actual process being followed before the child is punished. The parental approval line refers to not needing parental approval every single time corporal punishment is administered. Parental approval is obtained prior to the school year when the parent signs the consent form.

              • obits3 says:

                Which brings me back to my whole “You gotta sign this or else” argument. Think of it this way:

                You give your car to a valet.
                The valet has a sign that says “not responsible for any damages.”
                You get the car back with a broken window.

                Does the sign free the valet of liability? No!

          • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

            “A person administering corporal punishment to a student in grades 7-12 should be of the same sex.”

            Wow, I hope they’re pretty big, too. My 11th grade son is well over 6 ft. Can you imagine “paddling” that? Sheesh, I didn’t have a clue this stuff was even legal.

  16. fsnuffer says:

    There is an opt-out. I tell you are not to paddle my child. If you do, I will kick your ass in the parking lot.

  17. Kris says:

    I went to elementary school in Louisiana in the late 80s and got paddled one time in 3rd grade. A classmate and I were horsing around after school, doing “kung fu” while waiting for our daycare van, and the monitor watching us said that I tried to “kick a little boy in the face.” As a result of that, my mother was given the option of letting the school paddle me, or be suspended for 3 days. Being that my mom was freshly divorced at the time, she literally couldn’t afford to take 3 days off of work to watch me, so she agreed to the paddling, She STILL feels terrible about it to this day.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      It wasn’t fair to your mom. What if the option was “let us molest your kid or you have to take off work for three days and lose your job”?

    • colorisnteverything says:

      That is absolutely nuts!

      We had a teacher at my high school who demanded that a boy in the class (who was a good, smart kid) have his mother come to a conference over an “unexplained” absence. The reason he was home was because he was taking care of his sister who had the flu. His mother was working 20 hour days at two jobs to keep her kids eating and healthy. She could not come to the conference at the time it was scheduled, so he had to get ISS every day she didn’t come to the conference. Not to mention that the mother DID call to explain, but had limited English skills. It didn’t matter. Eventually, he was suspended and the mother was supposed to keep a “log” of the things he did while home – school work. He forged it and got in even more trouble. Our school district was made up of rich white kids and seriously did not understand why his mother just couldn’t do it. Even after the poor boy explained, they just didn’t care! She was forced to either stay home and do some stupid report on his activities to keep him out of juvy or lose her job.

  18. Midwest Doc says:

    The bible says it is OK to beat kids.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      The Bible says it’s OK to force a woman to marry her rapist.

      • obits3 says:

        The implication of Deuteronomy 22 is that the woman was not really raped (i.e. she was just seduced into sex before marriage). Some translations seem to miss this point. The “forced marriage” law is there to protect the woman, not force her to marry her rapist. We do something similar today with child support orders, so the guy just can’t leave her high and dry.

        Also, it clearly says that if a man rapes a woman, “the man who has done this shall die.”

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Historically it was used to force a woman to marry her rapist, because whether the woman was willing or not, it was presumed that she was. Protecting a woman /= assuming she chose to be raped.

          • obits3 says:

            I’m sure that it was used in the wrong. My point was not to defend people, but to defend the original intent of the text.

            If you read the Gospels, you can see that many of the things Jesus “cleaned up” were issues regarding the true meaning of the law.

            “You have heard that it was said… But I tell you…”

            • jessjj347 says:

              Agreed. There is always an original intent to scripture, but it gets interpreted in incorrect ways very often.
              It’s similar to the law and how their is an original “spirit” to the law, which sometimes gets interpreted in different ways.

              • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                If i write a business letter and someone relies on it and loses money, I am held responsible for it. The Bible, however, is always given the benefit of the doubt when people do outrageous things clearly spelled out in the text. Why is that?

                • obits3 says:

                  You would not be held responsible for someone reading your words out of context. Try this example:

                  I write a business letter to someone about a specific situation.
                  They give my letter to someone I don’t even know.
                  That 3rd party relies on it and loses money.

                  In most cases, I am not responsible.

                  • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                    So the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally by anyone? We should use our best judgment to decide what’s right and wrong? What do we need a Bible for, then?

                    • obits3 says:

                      The same could be said of a scientific report taken out of context. Do you see the flaw in your logic?

                    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                      No. A scientific report is subject to impartial review. Anyone is supposed to be able to duplicate the results of a properly done scientific study. Science is based on mathematics.

                      The Bible is subject to subjective interpretation and whatever the latest tripe from the Vatican is. No two people get the same thing out of it. Religion is based on faith and people saying “God told me this.”

                    • ktjamm says:

                      That’s not always the case. I’m not looking to open another can of worms here, but if you look in the case of the weather researchers in England, they were intentionally with-holding data from their detractors, and independent verification would have taken years. Another issue is that science also works on consensus “we believe this to be true”. Like with Human caused global warming. They haven’t proven it or dis proven it, however, there is a consensus among scientists that human caused global warming exists. There is reason to believe that humans cause global warming (and there is reason to believe there isn’t) but science is not absolute. For that matter, mathematics is not absolute. Science contains a lot of facts, but also, a lot of reasonable guesses. As far as the Bible is concerned, what matters is the intent of who wrote it, not those who misinterpreted it/warped it’s meaning to suite it’s own ends. I for one don’t believe that faith and science are incompatible. Sometimes our understanding of the universe is incorrect, and we have to revise our thinking (earth is flat -> earth is round). You can say that our understanding of Gods intentions, creation, words are incorrect as well. We get it wrong, we have to revise.

                      In either case, It’s our perceptions that have to change, not God, nor the laws of the universe.

                    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                      You ignorant, anti-intellectual shit. I’m not falling for your asinine political “argument.” You do not even rise to the dignity of being wrong.

                    • obits3 says:

                      LOL, ad hominem much?

                    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                      The fallacy of ad hominem is committed when someone says, “Your argument is wrong because you’re an asshole.” It is not committed when someone says, as I in effect did, “You’re an asshole because your argument is wrong”. There, you learned something today.

                    • obits3 says:

                      Sure, ktjamm used a political reference, but that doesn’t nullify the thinking. From Wikipedia:
                      “ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.” That’s what you did. There, you learned something today.

                    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                      You are not understanding the definition. You have it backwards.

                    • Anonymously says:

                      Regardless, you made no actual point and just resorted to name-calling.

                    • full.tang.halo says:

                      Tiny column are tiny

                    • hotcocoa says:

                      You are so wrong for this. LOL

                    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

                      You’re marginalizing my comments!

                    • Anonymously says:

                      That was a great pun. +100 triforces to you.

                    • Me - now with more humidity says:

                      Somebody needs a hug… or a time out.

                    • Anonymously says:

                      (Not all Christians report to the Vatican, btw)

                    • Me - now with more humidity says:

                      You don’t. It’s a fine piece of literature and parables, not a direct dictation from God. It’s a series of stories by men putting their spin on stories that were handed down from others putting their spin on stories heard second hand. It’s not an invoilate manual of rules you must follow to the letter.

              • obits3 says:

                Those Christians that are overzealous to quote the Law need to read some of the words of Paul:

                “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” Romans 2:17-23

                Paul was writing to overzealous Jews in this part of The Letter to the Romans, but his words of rebuke easily apply to many Christians today.

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      You’re fired.

    • Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

      It also endorses slavery.

    • CentralScrutinizer says:

      In that case, thank Reason for separation of church and state!

  19. Anonymously says:

    That’ll learn you for believin’ in evolution instead of creationism.

  20. galm666 says:

    Look, I’m all for kids getting their tails whooped for getting out of line. But I want that to be at the parent’s discretion.

  21. chirish1025 says:

    I so very briefly lived in Mississippi and found out the hard way they beat the kids in the schools. They apparently had an opt out policy but I had no idea it was legal. My son was paddled because someone dropped lotion on the floor (my son had no lotion, but he got blamed for it anyway). The gym teacher took a wooden paddle and beat him so bad his butt was bruised for a week. I called the police, governor, the principal everyone said this is how things are done. I withdrew him from school the very next day. Dont get me wrong, I am a parent who believe in spanking my child but IMO the school had no right, especially because of a silly infraction like spilling mystery lotion.

    • MamaBug says:

      you did the absolute right thing. I live in *ducks* Alabama, but I went to parochial school. I can never recall there being a since instance of a paddling – but many, many in school suspensions.

      My daughter’s a kindergartener in public school right now, and although she’s a great kid (always gets a green smiley on her daily report) I worry about this stuff. I think I’m going to call the school tomorrow.

    • Hoot says:

      Good for you.

      I’m sure a lot of people don’t have the alternative to withdraw their kids from the public schools. I bet a lot more parents would if they could over this.

  22. MeowMaximus says:

    This teacher committed child abuse and assault, plain and simple. Even if permission had been granted to paddle the kid, paddling him for failing a test is 1. Outrageous and 2. Not within the school’s own guidelines for when paddling is appropriate. I don’t see how it could be possible that this teacher did no break any laws -he ought to have been arrested. If I were the parents involved, I would be finding at lawyer at the very least – sue the teacher into oblivion.

  23. crb042 says:

    At what point is the teacher responsible for failing to teach the material effectively? Can we paddle the teacher, too?

    • obits3 says:


      “I think the same of a teacher who lets most of their students fail as I do a doctor who most of their patients die.” – My Dad

    • Hoot says:

      As much as I completely disagree with this paddling business…

      There are some bad teachers and there are some bad students. There are also students with learning disabilities that are not diagnosed.

      You can’t just say a failed test is probably the teacher’s fault. Maybe if all the kids failed… but then we’d probably have a lot of bruised butts rather than just 1.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        You think? In most cases the staff has their favorites and their scapegoats. if you read the literature on school spankings you’ll find that some children seem to be punished disproportionately more often than others, while some who commit the same infractions get off without punishment. The teachers are often unaware that they are doing this; they seem to just think “A is a good kid” and “B is a bad kid” in general.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          I was a “favorite”, by the way. I was in one fight ever in school, but I mauled the girl so badly she had to go to the hospital (she was evil to my best friend, a boy I had a crush on, and I went after her with a fork). The teachers believed I would never do such a thing unless I was horribly provoked, and they were correct, and I never heard another thing about it–my parents were never even informed. But that same week a young man caught smoking in a school courtyard that wasn’t the designated smoking courtyard was paddled because he was a “known troublemaker”.

        • Hoot says:

          I’m talking about failing tests. Unless you’re saying that we have an epidemic of teachers failing students who deserve to pass because they have favorites? I would think it would be the other way around… teachers tend to inflate grades, especially in districts where standardized test scores are low.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            Come to think of it, that contention (that teachers grade partly based on their perception of the student) has also been tested and proven.

      • crb042 says:

        True, it may not be the teacher’s fault the student failed, as much as it may not be the student’s fault. We don’t know these two people.

        I’m just suggesting that the teacher be held to the same standard he chose to hold his student to. That being one person’s sole judgement, based only on a test score.

  24. BrianneG says:

    We had paddling at our elementary and middle school, but the principal (or vp) had to do it and they had to get permission from the parents over the phone first. Maybe the rural south does it differently than the rural midwest.

    Honestly, I think it’s something only parents should do. A teacher or principal beating a child is probably got going to help things.

  25. NoThankYou says:

    I grew up with corporal punishment at home and at my private school. Even back then the school rarely did so.

    I am opposed to anyone touching my children in such a matter. If this form of discipline is to be used it should only be done so by a parental unit. As for my home it is not something my wife and I support.

  26. nodaybuttoday says:

    Yet in other states spanking your own child can get you in trouble… it’s a totally different world

  27. Trencher says:

    Good thing it wasn’t one of my kids. I’d overreact and be in be put in jail and Payton would be in the hospital if not dead.

  28. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Did anyone call the police? “School policy” does not superceed the law. In most of the civilized world (I don’t know if that includes Alabama) Adult hitting child = arrest. Period.

  29. quijote says:

    Why not do like the military and use exercise as punishment? You could solve two problems at once. Kids will hate it, but it will be good for them at the same time, and also calm them down.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      This happened to me in middle school. A bunch of other girls were talking instead of doing PE, so we all were drug outside in 40 degree weather to run, without jackets or long pants. The person in back had to run to the front while everyone was running.

      Suffice it to say, my mom had a talk with that PE coach. To this day, I find it inappropriate that it happened. I felt pretty powerless during the whole thing. I think running laps in the gym would have been more appropriate, and safer, too.

      • Simon Barsinister says:

        It may have been more productive if they had “drug” you down to English class.

      • bsh0544 says:

        Why is that inappropriate? Sounds like some good exercise to me. Much better than corporal punishment too.

      • evnmorlo says:

        40 degrees is pretty much perfect running weather. If your mom didn’t coddle you, you probably would have realized that it was better than detention (though I guess some people like detention)

      • zenpirate says:

        In elementary school, teachers used to do this to kids with ADHD before anyone knew what ADHD was. Every day at about the same time, usually when we were having sustained silent reading or something, a few kids were dismissed to go to the cafeteria and run laps around all the tables for a half hour or so. I think they were just trying to wear the kids out a little so that they weren’t so hyper when they got back to the classroom. As I remember, it seemed to work.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      The military has the right to tell you what to do with your body. They can make you exercise, to march, to sleep and wake and eat and eliminate on their schedule instead of yours, to eat bad food, to associate only with who they tell you to, to train and…

      I was going somewhere with this… I think my point was that the military essentially owns your body and can do whatever they want to with it, and a school can’t, but I can’t think of a single goddamned thing in the paragraph above that a public school can’t force a student to do.

      But despite that, abuse should not be part of the military, and it should not be part of a school. I understand there are laws against superiors physically abusing their reports in the military, anyhow. In schools around here, the laws give immunity to teachers who hit students.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Not to mention, it tends to improve academic performanec according to some recent studies…

  30. Mauvaise says:

    I don’t have a problem if a parent wants to spank their child. With their hand, on a butt or maybe a slap on the hand as they are reaching for a hot stove.

    The key word in the above is “Parent”. They are the only ones that should be allowed to use corporal punishment on their children.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Why hit at all? If a child is within reach, why not just pull them away from the hot stove? Are you that insistent on causing your child pain? is your child so stupid that they can’t learn not to touch a hot stove unless you hurt them? What are you doing not attending to a hot stove while your child’s around, anyway?

  31. paul says:

    When I was in gradeschool, in the 80’s, the Principal would give each student a private paddling in his office on the kid’s birthday. One whack for each year you’re been alive.

    That sort of thing would probably be frowned upon today…

    • ovalseven says:

      Private? That sounds rather creepy.

      Our grade school teacher in the ’70s used to do that, but it was in front of the whole class. Everyone, including the paddled kid, thought it was funny.

  32. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    I remember paddling being some super-secret thing in middle school. The parent was called, two teachers were present, and only the principal could do it. And if I recall correctly as well, the kids getting paddled never learned a damn thing from it. I think the parents consented just to make it “the school’s problem”. Most laughed throughout the whole thing.

    That being said, hitting someone’s kid without parental consent is absolutely ridiculously and actually, unlawful. It’s called abuse/assault and someone would be going to fucking jail if it were my child.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      I went to school in Alabama, too. But apparently a suburb of it’s biggest city (Birmingham) does things differently than the rural areas.

  33. ellemdee says:

    In what kind of bizarro world should parents have to opt out of their kids getting hit by teachers? And you have to know about something first to be able to opt out of it – it would be very easy for a parent (espectially if they are new to the area) to not know that “it’s the way things are done ’round these parts”. And that opting out wasn’t even an option here? Unbelievable.

    I can see it now…”Lady, why are you all bent out of shape that we hit your kid? You didn’t specifically say not to (though we don’t have to listened to you anyway).” Seriously?

  34. Anachronism says:

    I’m not understanding here. How were laws not broken? Does Alabama not have laws regarding assault?

    I’ve seen enough episodes of COPS to know that in the 8 domestic violence cases they respond to in every single freaking episode, when one part can show any evidence of assault, abrasions, red marks, etc. its enough cause for arrest.

    Why not here?

  35. aja175 says:

    My dad spent 25 years as the disciplinarian at a catholic school in upstate NY. There was a totally voluntary rite of passage, graduating seniors got hit once with a paddle, signed the paddle and graduated the next day. He hung the paddles on his office wall and when students came back to visit one of the first things they wanted to see was their name on the paddle.
    As of about 10 years ago that became a huge nono. Voluntary or not, the state said no more and that was the end of it.
    I can’t wait to see what he has to say about this story.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I wonder what your dad got out of it.

      • nbs2 says:

        Probably nothing more than knowledge he had contributed to a school tradition? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take a full year to let all volunteering seniors do their thing – so day-to-day discipline would likely be the bulk of his employment and the driver of his salary.

        Do you think he got a bonus or something?

  36. MikeB says:

    Hold the teacher accountable. If it is alright for him to paddle a student for failing a test, then I guess it is alright to paddle the teacher for failing to properly prepare the student for the test, which resulted in him failing it.

  37. Rose says:

    If the mother bruised her son, their child protective services would be all over that…

  38. Outrun1986 says:

    This is ridiculous in a school, over here it would most likely result in jail time. I have no problem if a parent wants to spank their own child as long as it does not leave behind a lasting effect and if the punishment fits the crime. Corporal punishment should be reserved for when the child does something really bad and shouldn’t happen on a regular basis (it would become ineffective then). Trying to start a fire in the house would be a good reason to spank your kid (like playing with matches over the garbage, someone in my family actually did this and yes they got spanked over it), but spilling lotion or milk definitely is not. I was spanked as a child only a couple times however it was never done to the point where it would cause injury, my parents knew better.

  39. RandomHookup says:

    Did the teacher pray before administering punishment?

  40. Coelacanth says:

    greatly question the wisdom and ethics of many teachers and administrators who’re likely to be exercising their “rights” along these lines. Perhaps even the majority might be able to use “good judgement” when deciding who receives corporeal punishment and to what extent, but there’re probably enough power-hungry, sadistic figures within the public school system that could take this very much to the extreme. Additionally, such a punishment makes systematic discrimination all too tangible…

    I think most of us can recall a teacher or two who acted in morally questionable ways; ones which we couldn’t trust as far as we can throw them….

  41. mandy_Reeves says:

    we had a principal in middle school, he heaved a chair across the cafeteria to get the kids to shut up. He got in biiig trouble…he was also a biiiig alcoholic too…and coke fiend

  42. OnePumpChump says:

    Paddling is stupid. Children will be punished for the rest of their lives for not doing well in school.

    Also for being born in Alabama.

  43. FerretGirl says:

    I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I think that paddling in schools should be okay for non-academic violations. I used to teach middle schoolers and there were some times I wished I could have taken those jerks over my knee. There were two students in particular who were disruptive, disrespectful and didn’t care or change behavior no matter how many times they were sent to the principal or given suspension/in school suspension. I was spanked as a kid and I knew that if I kept acting up I’d get beat after a time. I couldn’t help but wonder how these kids would have been different if they’d had that as kids or as young adults.

    Like I said, I know it’s going to be an unpopular opinion, drive by commenting on this one :)

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I know it’s going to be an unpopular opinion, drive by commenting on this one :)

      “I didn’t think through my arguments and I know they’re not reasonable or defensible, so I’m going to throw a stink bomb and run away.”

      • Coelacanth says:

        Who said the argument cannot be reasoned of defensible? Sometimes unpopular opinions are exceedingly rational.

        • BarbiCat says:

          So the rational way to handle an unruly child is… to beat them?

          Maybe I’m new here, but that logic doesn’t make sense. And when I say ‘new here’ I mean, ‘to your planet, where people justify beating children’.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          They’re so rational she posted and ran away. Classic troll behavior.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Those kids were probably abused at home. I fail to see how more pain and humiliation would correct their behavior. Most likely they would end up getting arrested for hitting the teacher, which I guess does solve the teacher’s problem…

    • misslisa says:

      I agree with you. I was a high-school teacher in Texas in the mid-80’s and I paddled a few kids. When you’re 21 years old, weigh 100 lbs., and some big 16-year old guy is up in your face, refusing to obey orders, then what the hell do you do? I was given the leeway to beat his ass with a board, so I did.

      Would I do that today? No, but I wouldn’t set foot in a classroom today either. Times and attitudes have changed – some for the better, some not so much. I left teaching after 1 year, switched to IT, and never looked back.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        “What the hell do you do?” I hope you don’t think, anymore, that your administrative incompetence and inability to come up with a rational course of action automatically conferred upon you the right to hit children.

        I’m glad you’re not a teacher anymore. You never were a teacher. Clueless undergraduates who unquestioningly commit acts of violence for no better reason than because someone told them to are not educators or examples; they are no better than out-of-control babysitters. You could have said, “I don’t hit people,” and refused, but instead you chose to feel threatened by and hit a child.

  44. Simon Barsinister says:

    Great teacher. That student will really love science now.
    Yay education!

  45. Mary13134 says:

    Paddle my kid or grandkids and the state will be supporting me the rest of my life. I dont care what they do…..

  46. laughingisfree says:

    Lesson learned, the kid won’t fail another test.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      No, he’ll just do everything in his power to avoid school the next time he’s in a badly taught class where he doesn’t understand the material. How many IQ points do you think a beating confers upon a child, anyway?

  47. goodfellow_puck says:

    Just mentioned this article to my fiancee, who went to school in Alabama in the late 90s, and he said kids got paddled at his public middle AND high school. Wow.

  48. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    I am not getting “Internet Tough Guy” here…but in all seriousness, I would be willing to put in jail time to beat the shit out of the person that laid a hand on my child.

    Disgusting behavior out of the teachers, the community that still allows this barbaric action, and all the way up to the administrators and politicians.

  49. FilthyHarry says:

    Who needs an opt out list? Just tell the school if anyone touches your kid, you’ll call the police to report child abuse.

    • Pax says:

      Better yet – and this IS Alabama we’re taling about, so it’s not beyond plausibility – just tell the school that if anyone assaults your child, you’ll send your friends Smith and Wesson over to have “words” with the asshole responsible.

  50. Virginia Consumer says:

    I am fundamentally OK with corporal punishment and feel it should be administered more frequently, however, it must be administered under the proper circumstances and methods. It should and is far more effective a phycological tool than a physical one.

    Most states are pretty clear on the line between punishment and abuse. If it leaves a mark it’s abuse. It sounds like in this case it likely left a mark.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Would you agree to a state official punishing you with a paddle if they did it “properly”? Is it OK for them to treat you like that because it is psychologically more effective? Do you trust them to know where the fine line between punishment and abuse is?

  51. TheGreySpectre says:

    there is a difference between spanking and leaving lasting bruises. If you leave bruises then you are going way to hard. Also parents should be able to opt out.

  52. TC50327 says:

    You mean Alabama has schools?

    Just wait until he tries to bring his boyfriend to the Prom, then they’ll get out the paddle.

  53. JGB says:

    Once, when I was a middle schooler, I opted myself out from a school “beating”. The girl’s gym teacher decided she was going to beat me with a paddle after a pushing incident. I was the one who was pushed, but that didn’t matter to her. I told her no, that I would not be assuming any position and I would physically defend myself if it came to that. She reported it to the principal and said I had threatened her. There was a lot of talking in the office, parents were called, and that was pretty much the end of it. Nowadays, I would probably have been expelled forever and put on some sort of watch list.

    My kids are older now, but I always told them to, in such a situation, to insist on calling me and, if need be, the police.

    Any amount of authority over others turns a certain segment of the population into raving assholes, and teachers are no exception.

  54. dourdan says:

    i will bet that it was more then a failed test.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I understand you think that a beating is an out-of-proportion response to failing a test, and I’m glad you think so, but there’s no reason to say, in effect, “I bet that little bastard deserved it.”

    • runswithscissors says:

      Yeah! Kid had it coming, amirite? Women too! Gotta learn their place!

      / annoyed sarcasm

  55. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I can imagine the teacher being upset when the parent returns the favor.

  56. Red Cat Linux says:

    I spent school time in the West Indies. I’m not sure about the Board of Ed, but I was acquainted with the Bamboo Switch of Sister Wilhelmina, who had no qualms about lighting you up on mere suspicion of wrongdoing.

    No, oddly, there was officially no such thing as an opt out there either. But there was an understanding that you’d better have a damn good reason to light up someone’s child before you did it. I think I was her pet project in third grade. The last time she switched me was because I missed a multiplication question. My folks were displeased enough that somebody “found” the opt out list afterward.

  57. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Having worked in education for years, if I was in Alabama, I would approach the staff in the school my kid(s) attended and let them know in advance that all incidents of physical punishment administered to any kid of mine is unacceptable and will result in my taking appropriate action as deemed suitable, by me, at the time.

    Not a threat, just the truth. If I am criminally liable for physically punishing my child then employees in the education system are even more so criminally liable.

  58. richcreamerybutter says:

    Effective parents and teachers can put the fear of G_ _ in a kid without resorting to corporal punishment. Speedwell is spot on asking whether this would be acceptable for adults accused of insubordination (granted, I’d pay to see televised corporal sessions of white collar criminals).

    S&M is only for consenting adults.

  59. CountryJustice says:

    I find it amazing that people don’t opt-out of living in Alabama full-stop.

  60. WickedCrispy says:

    I’m sure this kid totally didn’t have it coming. He got his ass beat for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Right.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      And if you are found mauled in an alley somewhere with your clothes ripped off and your wallet stolen, is it OK for the cops to say you must have been engaging in criminal behavior?

    • runswithscissors says:

      I know, right? Kids got it comin’! Break a bone or two, that’ll learn em! Sick dem hound dawgs on em. Just like women, gotta keep em in line, right bro? Takes a strong, brave man to hit a kid!

      / angry sarcasm

  61. baristabrawl says:

    I’m sure this policy will go through a change after this hits national news. Here’s how this goes. I will tell you at the beginning of the school year that if you paddle my kid I will paddle you. Yes, let’s see how that works out for everyone. For those of you who want to see it, you can find me on the 6 o’clock news. :)

  62. Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

    I am cool with spanking in schools for younger children, but not for failing a test. And there should be no injury to the child for it.

    I take the view that spanking are physical punishments that will do more then a few minutes in a corner. If you electrocute yourself, your going to think twice about doing whatever it was you were doing again.

    My kids mind very well, and I think thats because I do spank them when they need it. I see kids that dont get spankings that act like brats all the time.

    Not sure about a opt-out list, because I think all these “We don’t spank Johnny” parents raise the biggest brats of them all.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      That’s nice that you felt the urge to confess your ignorant, mean-spirited notions justifying family violence, but don’t expect us all to stand up and applaud.

      • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

        Dont preach your holier that now shit on me. I do what works for my family, and nobody is harmed. I have the right to spank by kid with my hand, thats law. Now fuck off.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Why do you feel the need to defend your practice of hitting your children so vehemently? Do you like doing it?

          • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

            I dont need to defend it. I made a statement, and for some reason you see the way I deal with my family, is wrong. And FYI, I rarely ever have to actually spank my kids now, and I do send them to time out, but sometimes a more severe punishment is needed.

            I am betting you kids are one of those snotty brats I was referring to in my original post, because it seems you idea of punishment is, “Dont hit that old man Johnny, its not nice”, while he continues to do it. Maybe not though, all kids are different, my 2 oldest are much better then my 2 1/2 year old brat that thinks he rules the world.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              I am someone who does not think of kids as my enemies. I successfully train cats, children, and adults (I’m a professional corporate trainer) through understanding and caring about their individual needs and weaknesses. I have three cats, for example, and not a single scratch on my furniture; my friends call me the “cat whisperer”. My nephews, who I helped raise, are bright and well-mannered because they know I love and respect them and I won’t attack them. Some years ago the now-14-year-old came to me and said, “My friend’s parents hit her and she said it was to make her behave. Are you going to do that to me?” My heart broke. “No”, I said, “we will never do that to you because it’s cruel and it doesn’t work anyway”. I prefer children’s spirits to remain unbroken and their bodies whole and pure.

              It’s likely you think you need to use violence on your children because you in fact twisted them into a state of rebellion that chaps your insecure power-hungry ass. I’m not happy to know that you have finally cowed and damaged your older kids until they don’t dare step out of line.

              Competent parenting does not rely on the use of “I’m bigger than you, so shut up, you little bastard.” Competent parents are not seen chasing the children they love into a corner with a raised arm, stick, or belt while the children cower and plead “No, Daddy, no”. You can’t hit the “terrible twos” out of a baby. You are wrong. You are wrong. I hope you understand how wrong you are while there is still time to change.

              • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

                I dont need to change, maybe you should pray to your “god” evil people like me go away, and the world you wish to live in will prevail. Guess what it wont, because we all have different options on how things should be done. Am I wrong for the way I discipline my children? Maybe, but its not for you to decide, I am within my rights as a PARENT (something it appears you are not, judging by your comments, which make you less qualified to tell me how to raise my children) to discipline my children by the use of the occasional butt whooping, and if you dont like it, I am sorry, but it dont really matter to me.

                I take doing actions like this very seriously, and they are a last resort, but that does not change the fact that I do do it, and its because its effective at times when other things are not.

                So let me restate what I think of your opinion….FUCK OFF.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  I don’t have a “god” and you don’t have a “right” to hurt your children on purpose just to prove you’re the power in the relationship.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  I can stop commenting, but I’m not going away, and the facts are not going away. Honestly, aren’t you ashamed of being the one who’s loudly and profanely defending your right to raise your hand to the children you supposedly love? I think you need help.

  63. AI says:

    They shouldn’t need to opt out, as assault is illegal.

  64. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Just a couple of notes on terms… it’s actually “assault and battery.” Assault is basically the intent to commit bodily harm, and battery is the physical offense itself. Given that in the United States people have been prosecuted for as little as jabbing a finger into someone’s chest to emphasize their words, battery does not have to involve “harm”. If the paddler intended to commit harm (“I’m going to beat him until I cause pain and leave red marks”) then it is assault even if they never actually laid the paddle on the child.

  65. Kibit says:

    They need to notify the parents before they touch anyone’s child and parents should be able to opt out. I went to a school in Weaver, Alabama when my dad was stationed at an Army base in the area. A kid in my class was paddled for stealing a Little Debbie cookie. The problem is, he didn’t steal the cookie, someone else did and the person who did blamed it on the other kid. Interestingly the kid who stole and lied din’t get in to any trouble.

  66. Bladerunner says:

    I am seriously curious at all these people who think hitting kids is ok. Especially the ones who say “so long as it doesn’t leave a bruise”.

    First off, we as a society have said that violence isn’t an answer. We aren’t Klingons. How does using violence on kids impress on them that violence is not the answer? Doesn’t it, in fact, reinforce the opposite?

    Second, if it’s ok “so long as it doesn’t leave a mark”, well, not to sound like a jerk, but how is that going to be all that memorable to the kid? (In terms of the ‘lesson’. I’m sure it’ll be memorable in terms of the psychic trauma). A kid is likely to remember not to stick a fork in a light socket because THEY ALMOST DIED. Unless you want to impart that kind of vehemence to your spanking, what makes you think it’ll be effective in the same way?

    I really don’t understand why anyone would advocate this…Please, explain. And not just “I think it works”. Give some kind of…something.

    I was never hit. Things were explained to me. And y’know what, I angered my folks once or twice it was obvious they were ABOUT to hit me. That was pretty damn scary, since I knew what it must take to get them that close to violence.

    Again, what purpose is served by violence that can’t possibly be served another way?

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      The cycle of abuse: “I was hit when I was a child, and I turned out fine.” Except that nobody will ever know how much finer the speaker would have turned out had he been raised with consistent love and understanding. People turn out fine despite suffering, not because of it.

      Frustration and anger: Unfortunately there is no “enlightenment” gene. We haven’t been civilized all that long in sociobiological terms. The same mechanisms that make us fight when threatened operate when we perceive a threat from someone’s behavior. Because we are humans, we sometimes perceive a threat to our child from the possible consequences of the child’s behavior, or more often, a threat or challenge to our own standing and power within the family or organization from the child’s behavior. We strike, sometimes without thinking. If we think, it’s simply to rationalize why we feel like hitting.

      Sense of duty and social conformity: Sometimes a parent who would not otherwise hit their child does so because of, essentially, peer pressure from other parents and from society in general. When child-rearing authorities taught that hitting children was necessary (spare the rod, spoil the child), informed parents often did so because they felt that they were doing the right thing. Often loving, understanding parents resisted the peer pressure and refused to be cruel to the children they loved anyway.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        I didn’t address the darker reasons someone might feel it necessary to deliberately hurt their children, but Alice Miller (who also wrote The Drama of the Gifted Child) covered that ground much more thoroughly and expertly than I can do, especially in a blog comment. See if you can get your hands on a copy of the book For Your Own Good.

  67. PunditGuy says:

    Alabama vs. Other States (District of Columbia included in rankings):

    Educational Attainment by State — High School or More: 45/51
    Educational Attainment by State — Bachelor’s Degree or More: 45/51
    Educational Attainment by State — Advanced Degree or More: 37/51
    Grade 4 Math — At or Above Proficient: 46/51
    Grade 4 Reading — At or Above Proficient: 34/51
    Grade 8 Math — At or Above Proficient: 47/51
    Grade 8 Reading — At or Above Proficient: 45/51

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I do not understand your statistics. You seem to be pointing out worthless figures about particular subjects at specific grades when what really matters is overall completion of education. Georgia ranks 44th in higher education. Followed by Nevada, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia. The South pretty much follows the stereotype.

      The scary part is then going and comparing the entire US educational system with first world countries. (US used to be a first world country, but not anymore)

      • PunditGuy says:

        Completion of education (which, by the way, the first three stats cover) doesn’t take into account that kids are progressing without being proficient in the subjects being taught.

        You’re not from the South, are you?

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          I finally understand what you meant by ’45/51′. I had thought you were talking about percentiles. I am from the South, AND the North and the East and the West as I moved all around the country about every six months for the first 12 years of my life. There is a massive difference between state educational systems. Kansas was one of the best, Utah, one of the worst.

  68. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    as someone who grew up not being subject to corporal punishment in school but being subject to it at home, i’m in favor of keeping it out of both places.
    but for the sake of logic here are a few reasons it should be kept out of schools that have nothing to do with public outrage:

    who insures the kid? does the school board pay for the medical care a child might need after a too vigorous punishment?
    or perhaps the school board would like to pay for the psychological care the child needs now that he/she has been traumatized.

    not to say all instances would result in situations like this, but it could very very easily occur

  69. Erik_says_this says:

    Schools, in Alabama, you say?

  70. NumberSix says:

    You’d have to lock me up if I found out someone did this to my kid. The “reason” would make it even worse.

  71. ninabi says:

    If I had had to take high school chemistry in Alabama, I would have been black and blue from head to toe.

  72. Rommel says:

    I meant to choose banned completely, but chose opt-out. However, in any case, getting smacked with a paddle (and I’m not siding with the teacher, trust me

  73. humbajoe says:

    And the legacy of Alabama-Man will live on through the children :D

    I like to imagine this teacher as wearing a wife-beater and a couple of cans of beer on his desk.

  74. dew_crew says:

    How about your kids just, i dont know, behave? If i was naughty at school… even years later, i dont even want to think about the punishment my mother would have inflicted.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      How about we keep straight who the adults are and who the children are?

  75. Eli the Ice Man says:


  76. jbandsma says:

    Let the parents do it and they’ll find themselves in jail for child abuse and the kid in a foster home.

  77. JiminyChristmas says:

    When I graduated from high school in 1988 students sometimes had their choice of punishments, one of which was ‘swats’, as in being swatted on the ass with a wooden paddle. This was in an urban school district in Kentucky. Some people would choose swats over after-school detention or in-school suspension. I don’t recall whether or not there was an opt out.

    I think the typical number of swats for a swat-worthy infraction was in the range of 3 to 5. In any case, the understanding was that swats were supposed to sting but not leave a mark. If a kid were swatted hard enough to leave a bruise then it’s not a swatting, it’s a beating.

  78. bluline says:

    Beat my kid without my permission and you and I are going to have more than a few simple words, guaranteed.

  79. tekmiester says:

    We have to get Science scores up somehow.

  80. oldwiz65 says:

    Schools beating children? in Alabama? Why am I not surprised. Try that in most states and you get a nice jail term for criminal assault.

  81. scoopjones says:

    Um… ok, but why is this on The Consumerist?

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      To help people make good decisions about which kinds of schools they are paying for with their tax money, I would think.

  82. scoopjones says:

    Um… ok, but why is this on The Consumerist?

  83. Daniellethm says:

    Corporal punishment should not be in schools, period.

    While I never had the threat of it at school, I did get spanked at home until I was about 10 or so, and I deserved it every single time. In my house, spanking wasn’t something that was done lightly, and not immediately after I was caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to (Like dumping nail polish all over the floor and lighting it on fire, because I thought fire was neat :P). Instead I was sent to my room and told to come downstairs when I was ready to accept my punishment.

    After I got too old for spankings, farm chores were my punishment. Mucking stables, hours of mowing fields, and cleaning out the dairy barn were all various punishments. That crap made me wish I could take the damn spanking, at least that only took a few minutes, instead of the hours I’d have to put in on the others.

    But if a teacher had pulled this stunt on me, my father would’ve been at the school in a heartbeat, dishing out paddlings of his own.

  84. Difdi says:

    A paddle is, by definition, a device used to strike another human being. A weapon, in other words. Isn’t there some law out there that says you can’t possess a weapon on school grounds…?

    There’s also the due process issue; As the supreme court has ruled, students do not leave their rights at the schoolyard gate. Was the student simply summarily paddled, or did he get some sort of hearing, or chance to verbally defend himself?

    What would the charge be against a student, if a student hit a teacher with a paddle, even in self-defense?

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Good points about the weapon. Perhaps you’re familiar with the Freshwater case, in which another science teacher burned crosses into the arms of some of his students with a Tesla coil (yeah, if you’re like me you’re thinking, what the fuck kind of mad scientist…). You can follow the case, if you’re interested, over at the Panda’s Thumb blog (

      The student in the paddling case says he was not given a choice of alternate punishment. There was no hearing or process. There was only an out-of-control teacher threatening to punish his students for poor academic performance like his own father punished him, and then making good on his threats.

      What would the charge be against a student for assaulting a teacher? Jesus Christ on a lollipop stick, if a student did that here in Houston, they’d probably be ruined for life, whether the assault was justified or unjustified. Around here they send kids to reform school (seriously, a special school) for cursing at a teacher, “talking back,” or chewing gum after they’re told to stop. What would they do with a kid who attacked a teacher? Firing squad at dawn?

  85. digisplicer says:

    Did we all fall into a wormhole and end up in 1935? This is insanity.

  86. Promethean Sky says:

    I once had a teacher lament the fact that he wasn’t allowed to hit me like at his old school. I told him to go ahead and try it, I’d smack him right back. It was worth the extra detention. Several months later he was fired for assaulting another student.

  87. lawgirl502 says:

    Because it is a school, assuming a public school, that makes it state action, which means that the Constitutional guarantees are in full effect. There is no way in hell that I would allow, no matter the law, anyone to hit my kids. There ARE laws in place to prevent that and there are limitations on what is acceptable force to be used and reasons for such use of force that must be complied with. A smart person would consult some super-lib group like ACLU and do some research to find which laws or precedent are applicable. Meanwhile, change the damn state law.

  88. mcgyver210 says:

    If a teacher ever tries to hit my kid they wont have to worry about a district Attorney charging them since he is a Black Belt & has been taught how to defend his self against this type of Archaic Assault. Also the teacher would answer to me personally. I wounder how the Scum Bag Child Beating teacher would like to have the same done to them.

    This kind of stuff makes me so MAD letting a Stranger BEAT a child. I hope this teacher gets what is deserved.

  89. Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

    If I don’t hit my kids, NO ONE ELSE hits my kids. Ever.

    I was beaten as a child, by my parents. And I swore after that experience that I would never, ever raise a hand to my kids. And I never have. And I’ve never needed to. They’ve turned out to be wonderful, courteous, considerate adults.

    • mcgyver210 says:

      I was also beaten by my real Father & I also swore No One will ever beat or hit my Child no matter what a corrupt government allows period. Of someone does they will answer to me & this includes all agencies.

      I beat the odds by turning out to be a good person so no one will tell me how to discipline my child

  90. Pax says:

    Let me get this straight … in a country where teachers cannot dare to give a child an innocent HUG (for fear of being accused of pedophilia) … this school allowed a teacher to BEAT a kid, because he didn’t pass a fucking TEST …?!?!?

    Good grief!! O_O

  91. loquaciousmusic says:

    I’m a teacher in the northeast. If any of my colleagues or I ever even considered using corporal punishment on a student, we would be fired immediately. There would be no discussion and there would be no hesitation. We would be FIRED, as we should be.

  92. Urgleglurk says:

    “No opt out recognized?’ My lawyer will be in touch.

  93. ospreyguy says:

    If this happened to my child, it would have made the news as well. Just in a VERY VERY different way…

  94. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    I’m curious what would happen if the parent ran across the room, grabbed the paddle and hit the teacher with it. Would the school district then consider that assault?

  95. _Dickie_ says:

    I registered to say this:

    This does not reflect on the entire state.

    I went to school, 2nd grade through 12th, in rural Alabama. They *did* paddle, and they *did* allow parents to opt out. I remember getting in some deep trouble and them searching for the document my parents signed to allow paddling.

    It never bothered me, to be honest. Though I don’t find it barbaric, I think it’s ineffective, and I would opt out for my children.

  96. bellabell says:

    if a parent had done this to their own child officials would be all over them – parents would be facing arrest and fines.

  97. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    I figured that the liberal sect would be out in force on this post..unfortunately, it is up to schools to discipline children now because most parents won’t. Corporal punishment is needed. You say bruising is abusive? No, bruising should not be an indicator of abuse. Many people bruise easily even by just bumping into things so a nice paddle to the ass would cause serious bruising even done correctly. The sad part is the liberal parental sect has made it known to the kids to cry foul any time they feel they’ve been wronged. This is just one of the reasons the younger generation has no respect for any thing and takes no responsibility for anything….F’ing douchbag parents!

    • mrstu says:

      Honestly… corporal punishment isn’t really the big issue here… even if you’re for it, I think most of us can still agree that if parents don’t want it done, it’s their child, and that’s that.

  98. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Corporal punishment is not the province of educators. I had a teacher who abused me with this. She did other things but that was one weapon she used to bully me. I found out many moons later from someone younger who had been in her class that she picked one kid every year and that was her scapegoat.

    I would not send a child of mine to any school that did this. If there were no other schools, I’d move.

  99. Jason Litka says:

    How can a school hit kids if parents can’t?

  100. Jemaine says:

    I’m all for paddling if it is for misbehaving, but for making bad grades is ridiculous. Whatever happened to making the kid take the test home and having it signed and letting the parents take care of it?

    When I was in high school, everyone got the choice of a paddling or sentences; most people chose the paddle, but by the time I was a senior, they realized no one liked doing sentences, so they made them all do sentences, and then got a paddling.

    I live two counties over from DeKalb by the way.

  101. Smultronstallet says:

    I’m appalled that (at present) 11.81% of voters are okay with physical abuse as a form of punishment. What is wrong with you people?

  102. Smultronstallet says:

    Corporal punishment in schools is legal in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. I think that’s 21 states too many.

  103. rng72 says:

    Since the source of this is only the kid and the mom I would take this with a big grain of salt. These little clips of information (if you want to call them that) doesnt show the whole story and what when down.

  104. oldwiz65 says:

    The policy also teaches children that teachers are allowed to hurt you by beating you and that you should fear teachers and not respect them. In an environment like this, children learn that beating people is normal adult behavior and society accepts it.

    Maybe teachers from other states who have been fired for assaulting children will now flock to Alabama to get back into it.

    I wonder what else Alabama teachers are allowed to do to students with no fear of reprisal?

  105. donniesan says:

    I got “the beats” once as a child, in 2nd grade. I lived only a couple blocks from school, and one day my neighbor’s dog King had wandered over to the playground. It was recess, he recoginsed me, ran up wagging his tail. I greeted him and patted him on the head. Next thing I know I was hauled aside, told I broke the rules about petting “stray dogs” (I tried to explain it wasn’t a stray and I knew the dog, but I was told “Don’t talk back to me!!”), so I got whacked with a wooden paddle with holes drilled in it. My parents were livid, but that was after the fact. Some years later in 6th grade I was before the principal and ordered to apologise to the daughter of a teacher who had been accused of cheating on a test, I hadn’t ratted on her, but when I was asked what I saw going on I told the truth, that she appeared to be copying answers from another test paper. I refused to apologise, but before they starting beating on me, I reminded them my Dad had a letter on file opting out of corporal punishment. It saved me, and boy, were they PO’d. This was in Missouri in the late 60’s.

  106. donniesan says:

    I got “the beats” once as a child, in 2nd grade. I lived only a couple blocks from school, and one day my neighbor’s dog King had wandered over to the playground. It was recess, he recoginsed me, ran up wagging his tail. I greeted him and patted him on the head. Next thing I know I was hauled aside, told I broke the rules about petting “stray dogs” (I tried to explain it wasn’t a stray and I knew the dog, but I was told “Don’t talk back to me!!”), so I got whacked with a wooden paddle with holes drilled in it. My parents were livid, but that was after the fact. Some years later in 6th grade I was before the principal and ordered to apologise to the daughter of a teacher who had been accused of cheating on a test, I hadn’t ratted on her, but when I was asked what I saw going on I told the truth, that she appeared to be copying answers from another test paper. I refused to apologise, but before they starting beating on me, I reminded them my Dad had a letter on file opting out of corporal punishment. It saved me, and boy, were they PO’d. This was in Missouri in the late 60’s.

  107. psanf says:

    Oh boo freaking hoo hoo.
    It seems to me that paddling little Johnie’s butt for failing to study might actually give him some motivation to do his homework.
    Snowflakes. All of them.
    I say put a paddle in every classroom.

  108. icewall says:

    “When I grow up, I wanna be just like Alabama man!”

  109. dush says:

    Maybe this kid will learn not to fail anymore tests.