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School CP - April 1928

Corpun file 23584

The Pittsburgh Press, 29 April 1928

Don't Paddle Kids Like They Used To

Corporal Punishment Out of Style, Says Superintendent Davidson -- Customs in School Reflect Home Life, He Says.

By W.L. Pigue

Click to enlarge

Spare the rod and spoil the child no longer holds good in local schools, according to William M. Davidson, superintendent of the public schools here. Corporal punishment went out of style when such punishment went out of the homes, he says.

Teachers still reserve the right to exert authority in the form of physical punishment of habitually disobedient children but they resort to that form of punishment only in rare instance, according to Davidson.

And even when a lickin' is deemed necessary, the old-fashioned method of "paddling" with the hand or a board is not used. Davidson recommends that local teachers use a switch only, and "if it must be done, do it in a dignified manner. The child should not be punished while the teacher is in a heat of anger or to 'get even.'

"The ways of the school are a reflection of home life in a community. Just a few years ago the father of the family ruled over it with austerity and severity."

In the old days, according to Davidson the son obeyed his father and cut the wood because his old man had told him to and if he didn't do it would give him a "tanning."

But nowadays, it's different. Davidson says. The parents have reached an "educational age." The parents now rule in a different way. They tell their children why they should do certain things and explain to them the reasons for certain necessities. "Austerity and severity" has been replaced by instruction through love and understanding. It has been explained to children why they should be guided by wisdom gained from experience and training.

In rare instances the parent, even today, feels that he must spank, paddle, switch, lick, tan or otherwise manhandle the child just to let him know who's who. Corporal punishment is used only in the hope of making the child realize that the world will not tolerate a person who won't do what is right, that such a person is subject to authority so that he can not impose on the rights and privileges of others, according to Davidson's explanation.

The right is conceded the teacher to have charge of the students during her classes the same as if she was mother to them.

Custom is the regulator of practically all systems found in the schools, Davidson says. The teachers follow the customs of the homes, explaining to the child why he should or should not do certain things. The child, because he has been taught that he must have an education to be the mental equal of his associates, submits to the teacher's instruction.

The co-operation of the child with the teacher is what makes the paddles unnecessary in modern schools. Superintendent Davidson says he believes the day will come when corporal punishment will be almost totally obsolete, with the rare instances more rare, and other instances non-existent.

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