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Web links: School corporal punishment : USA

Paddling posed for high school yearbook c.1965

With comments by C. Farrell

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NOTE. In the Country files section are many links to the more serious documents concentrating on legislative/procedural aspects or the results of court cases, etc. Links to on-line present-day school handbooks mentioning corporal punishment are to be found on the Regulations of individual schools or school districts pages.

On THIS page the material falls broadly into one of three categories: anecdotal accounts and reminiscences, discussion of individual cases, and general opinion or debate pro or con.

blob This is a separate page for the United States. Web links for school CP in other countries are here.

PATIENCE REQUIRED: Quite a few of the websites linked from this page are housed on slow archive servers like and can take a minute or more to load.


Plains, Georgia: the Hometown of Jimmy Carter
Museum collection includes a wooden paddle, supposedly from Plains High School attended by the future President in the 1930s.

Florida Military School: The History
References to corporal punishment in the 1950s and 1960s. "Paddling was sometimes used instead of demerits and some cadets preferred it. You could also trade one lick for 5 demerits." Licks were delivered in front of the entire corps in the mess hall.

book cover Books and Butts
This 2013 book is the diary of a Texas high-school assistant principal in the 1980s. His job included management of textbooks and corporal punishment, hence the title. An extract:

I got Martha's old sorority paddle from my desk, where it had been stored since August, just in case I ever needed it. The boy bent over and grabbed his lower legs while I gave him three swats as dad witnessed. I knew by his reaction that the paddle stung, and thus the desired effect had been achieved. I then reached out and shook the boys hand, told him there were no hard feelings, and sent him back to class. Dad thanked me, reminded me that future problems were also to be handled with the board, and left.

I spent a few minutes reflecting on what had just happened. The realization came over me that my job would never be the same. Up until today, I had not paddled a single student because the superintendent and principal didn't think it was a good disciplinary tool....

The student whom I had just paddled was about to tell his friends about the experience. The word would soon be all over campus as well as the town. Thus the paddling of one fifteen-year-old high school boy would have a disciplinary effect on the entire student body.

From my experience, it was like a new tool being added to my chest. I knew that corporal punishment would now be an option that I would use in the future. In the overall disciplinary scheme, it fit neatly between detention and suspension. A misbehaving student for whom detention would be too light a punishment and for whom suspension would be too strong a punishment could now be paddled.... It's not the answer for every student's disciplinary problems, but it is the answer for a lot of them.

The Benefits of Corporal Punishment
Abstract of an article (2013) the full text of which is available with certain public library cards.

School Violence, Punishment, and Justice
Power in Schooling Practice: The Educational Dilemmas
Pain Versus Anguish: Is There No Need For Corporal Punishment?
Three essays by Edward G. Rozycki, an educational philosopher, challenging many of the currently fashionable conventional wisdoms.

Keila's Blog: Corporal punishment
In Mississippi: Thoughts on Corporal Punishment
Two northerners go teaching in Mississippi (2006). They have come to more or less opposite conclusions about paddling. One finds the kids are receptive to it and is prepared to assist in the process (by holding the student's hands down on the desk while the vice-principal delivers the spanking). The other thinks it is just a lazy way out.

Another member of the Mississippi Teacher Corps (see previous item) writes (2008) about using corporal punishment. He didn't use it in his first year of teaching, but in his second year he paddled about 50 students and found the effects very beneficial.


Miscellaneous anecdotes about getting or giving the school paddle (in no particular order):

Catholic Prep High School JUG and Discipline Stories

The Gift of Education – Well applied

The Legend of Iron Butt

Rest In Peace, Mr. Van Horne

Bobby Joe Jackson's Paddling

Corporal punishment you received in school

Crown City Revisited

Getting Paddled -- The First Day of School

Lee High School Class of 1966 -- The Paddle (illustrated)

In Memory of Greg Hummert

My Days at Meyers High

In Remembrance of Mr. Richard Newberry: "Coach"

Midwest Military Academy -- Discipline

Edmunds High School Class of 1971 -- One-line memories

Becoming the King of Swats in 1967

Kid Tries Corporal Punishment and Loses

"Bend Over. Grab Your Ankles."

Around the Campfire (scroll down to "rotbaron" (Posted: 10/08/04 08:26pm)

Corporal Punishment ... As a Witness

Spanking contest and Hugh Allen Jones

The Last Time I Used The Paddle

Swats from Coach Hills

Rest in Peace, Mr. Van Horn

The Boiler Room

The Rodent Raiser and the Buttlick

Hot for Teacher, or how I avoided Junior High Detention

Thank you, sir, may I have another.

Johmbolaya This Is

Best lessons come from discipline

Corporal Punishment at Dallas Lickin' High School

South Side students share their memories of Phinehas Hegmon

Ensworth Elementary to be dedicated today

Mr. Hall's 8 Ball  (Alternative link)

Beaten Down [PDF]

Elkridge Community, West Virginia

Spankings by the Principal

Jerry Grammer Remembers Mr. Gant

The Paddling

South Oak Cliff High School: Classes of 1955, 1956 and 1957 (See "Here is a Mr. Whittlesey Story" and "Swift and Deadly Justice")

And that's the way it was ...

He leaves a legacy of caring

Quietly the best

Lew Burdette, RIP: The Fauna

Many thanks, coach Connors, for giving a lick

Recalling Webb's way

This one time, in band class ...

Medulla Elementary School Marks Its Centennial With a Week of Events

Keeping Order in the Classroom

Lime Street School held chapter of Escondido history

Memories of Hillcrest High School (see Charles Leadford, Ernie McCracken, Todd Traylor)

Craig's Corner (scroll down to Monday, September 2nd, 2002)

Graduating the Uneducated

Jonathan Tagle

Integrating Teaching and Educational Cable to Enrich The Community, Campus & Students [PDF]

Madonna did what?!?!?!?

Trading Licks Murdoch Style

A Line in the Sand

Owner Leaves -- I Teach

Meet the Author

Betty Efird -- Determined Not To Let Handicap Handicap Her

What is a Cooper?

Gunnysack Overboots to Socrates

A High School to Remember

Spankings, Anyone?

Winter 2000 Student Summaries

HLHS 1980-1989: James "Jimmy" Miller

Will Anybody Ever Love Neal Medlyn?

Prepare For An Ugly Charge: Discrimination

Paddles With Airholes Are More Aerodynamic (scroll down to Wednesday, November 28, 2001)

Strict Discipline And High Standards Were Hallmarks of Charlie Slick

John Boitano, football coach at Garfield High

Famous Charleroi Connections (see "Fred Cox")

Colonel Edward L. "Bebo" Dodge, SMA '42

Foothill Memories (see "Helyn DeCamp")

Old school brings memories to former student

Jackson touts positive coaches

Jack Fischer Park honors great principal, educator

Net Soup (Scroll down to "What were You Wearing in the '80s"?)

Dirty talk is not cheap, especially in the workplace

Family ties are common thread for 4 inductees

Inside my head

The real victims

Remember Me?

Interview with Ignace Sebbio

Letters to Mother Burg 2000 (see message #54)

The Spanking and the Spanked in My Grade School Years

So How Many Times Did He Bust You In High School??!

Coach Nick Hyder, God's Servant

Nick Hyder of Valdosta

Former principal Kazuo Ikeda celebrates his 90th birthday surrounded by family

Fran Rogel

Here It is Everything You Wanted To Know About ME!!! But Why Would You Care?

Jack Agee

Heath graduates dedicate historical marker

This is the 2000 Nesquehoning Calendar

Just Who Is This Will Holcomb Exactly?

Shawnee High School Class of 1955 - Messages From Reunion 2000

Interview With Howard Heldman

The Impossible Dream: A Parochial Education

Where Have All The Children Gone?

Running Away

Lost in Orange County: Richard Nixon and the rise and fall of a slang term for intercourse

Essays on 1971: My Experience With Corporal Punishment

Klarinet: Chaos being sold for freedom

Interview with Mel Cartwright

Interview with Rene McNally

Locate a Former Classmate: John Paul Gable

Interview with Arnold and Margaret Headley [PDF]

ED 422 My Favorite Teacher

Lesson 4: Some Bad News, and Good News (scroll down to "(4) God's righteousness vindicates Himself" near bottom of page)


The Catch Of The Day
1986 article in Sports Illustrated about former Seattle Seahawks star Steve Largent describes a paddling he got in high school in Oklahoma in 1969.

Retired educator working to bring back paddling
I'm not certain, but I think this might be a humorous fantasy.

The Wolfe & Gaiman Show
Fantasy writer Gene Wolfe attended Texas A & M around 1950, and says in this 2002 interview that, in his all-boys engineering college at least, any junior or senior (generally aged 20 or 21) could paddle any freshman or sophomore (18 or 19) at any time for any offense. "We were beaten all the time at Texas A & M. You had to take it -- bend down, and they whaled away at you with a big wooden paddle." This was punishment, nothing to do with fraternities or initiation ceremonies or hazing. See also this picture of a somewhat more recent (1982) punishment paddling at Texas A & M.

Where's The Paddle Mr. Principal?
Bring it back, says this Texas writer (2011).

Progress Notes
Scroll a long way down to "My Story, By Maude Wright". Teaching in a Missouri high school in the 1930s. "Most teachers had switches on hand and paddles to use if needed at any time."

Paddling in School: Yes or No
An Arizona school principal explains (2010) why it is wrong for state or federal governments to ban CP in school. The matter should be left up to local districts, he believes. Curiously, he seems to think that Arizona itself has abolished the paddle, which is not the case.

Who Should Do the Paddling in School?
A follow-up post to the above by the same Arizona principal.

In memoriam: Another great educator passes
About a Dean of Girls at a Florida high school in the 1960s. "Rumor has it that if a young lady eligible for the customary three swats was wearing sufficient petticoats to diminish the pain of the punishment, Miss Hooks would lift layers of underwear and, when the correct posture was assumed, the wooden paddle would fly."

Schools (private, charter, professional)
An insurance company offers private schools insurance against claims arising out of corporal punishment.

Column: Mr. Borgard v. the Board of Education
An amusing story from 1980s Arizona.

When an Alabama principal said no to interracial dating, a small community was forced to confront its racist heritage
Numerous school spanking references in this Rolling Stone article from 1995.

do you remember getting your butt whipped in school????
Assorted paddling reminiscences on a message board.

To Spank or Not to Spank?
A southern father punishes his kids with an old paddle his aunt gave him. "She was a bus driver and back then, she could take you off the bus and paddle your behind if you weren't behaving."

Living In Asia: Corporal Punishment
An American teacher now in Korea (2007) describes getting a public paddling on stage at Junior High school back home.

Jamie Foxx: My best teacher
Oscar-winner Foxx says he went to a great school, Terrell High in Texas, where he received "swats" from an admired principal.

Saving Ryan's ...
Anecdote about a paddling narrowly avoided in third grade.

Ernie Reyes Sr. Ernie Reyes
This Taekwondo star (b.1947) of Filipino descent grew up in California, where his high-school teachers would paddle him on his buttocks for falling asleep in class, according to this.

Bring Back Licks
A campaign for the restoration of CP by a Dallas teacher. See also this May 2010 news item and this follow-up.

A Collection of College Words and Customs
A book published in 1856. See the entry for "Corporal punishment", which tells us that there were whippings of "ten stripes", administered openly in the Hall, at Harvard College in the 17th century.

Design and significance of student codes of conduct
Further to the above, the whippings at Harvard were carried out under a Massachusetts law of 1656, according to this 1972 conference paper. They were replaced in 1718 by boxing the ears. Physical punishment of students ended in 1767.

Discipline for Excellence [PDF]
Chapter from a 1984 book called "Schools in Crisis: Training for Success or Failure?". Challenges the mainstream "expert" view at some length and seeks to show that CP is in fact an effective device to correct misbehavior.

Comments on a Study of Corporal Punishment, by Doug Martin
The study in question dates from 1984, and was a questionnaire sent to 324 schools. It found, even 40 years ago, that most school paddlings were done in private by an uninvolved administrator, rather than by a possibly angry teacher in the classroom. The author refers to anti-corporal punishment propagandists complaining about students with broken arms, nerve and muscle damage, and cerebral hemorrhage: "Anyone with the least shred of common sense can see that these are clearly cases of child abuse and have nothing to do with proper corporal punishment". Quite so!

In Defense of Spanking
US News & World Report columnist Sam Dealey finds (2008) much on which to pour scorn in the Human Rights Watch report on school paddling in the southern states.

TANAS Serving Christian Education [PDF]
Model school handbook pages from the Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools. See page 51 for their recommended discipline policy.

1930 - 1954: Robert J. McCandlish, Jr. and F.D. Richardson
Mentions that the principal of Madison County High School in Virginia from 1935 to 1939 gave students the choice of a paddling or writing an essay.

Bobby Tisdale, Comedian
New York "alternative comedian" Tisdale says that he got paddled a lot at school in North Carolina. After being punished he had to sign the paddle.

Mike Ball thanks PACT for helping troubled youths
Alabama state representative Ball moved there from California at age nine and got his first paddling at school, for which his father thanked the teacher.

Corporal punishment would aid public schools
A writer in a high-school newspaper in Georgia argues (2004) that paddling should be "brought back" to high schools and middle schools.

Public Schools: My Answer to Their Problems!
A former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, in 2010 Director of something called "Common Sense for Today", gives his prescription for sorting out the public schools. Among other things, disobedient students would be "paddled on the rear, a place provided by a designing God for that purpose".

No Substitute for Sarah
Strict teacher Sarah Couch, aged 90 and still going strong, recalls being hired to take charge of a sixth-grade class that had defeated four previous teachers. The school board asked her what she needed to work with. She said she wanted a paddle with holes drilled in it. Once she'd used this on nine boys, she had no further trouble with the class. Illustrated article reproduced from the Orange County Register.

Flak Over Corporal Punishment Obscures the Problem
This is a response to the March 2004 case in which six 9-year-old students in Indiana were paddled. One of the mothers complained that her boy had bruises on his buttocks. The author points out that this is normal, and thinks that, given the trouble he was already reportedly in before, "this particular mom has bigger problems ahead of her than her son's sore rear end".

Price takes 'Desire' to whole new level
Much-paddled basketball star Hollis PriceHumble, solid foundation from Ninth Ward
Stellar Guard Combo At Modesto Christian
Three illustrated basketball articles from different sources. All of them are about two star university players, Hollis Price and Quannas White, who in the late 1990s both attended St Augustine, a strict all-boys Catholic high school in New Orleans, then "famous for its policy of corporal punishment". Price says "I don't know if there's any other school that still uses a paddle on you when you talk in class. I got it in class and on the court, everywhere." His "aching backside" taught him the value of discipline, he adds. (The school was later forced by the church authorities, amidst great controversy, to stop using CP despite its success -- see this Feb 2011 news item and its follows-up.)
 See also this video clip giving a very brief glimpse of a paddling under way at St Augustine.
 See also the next two items.

The Aggressive Pacifist
Article about a former teacher at St Augustine in New Orleans (see previous item) in the 1950s and 1960s when it was a segregated black school. He said that after a student was sent to the office for a paddling, "I have seen a marvelous clearing of the air with a simple whack on the butt".

The Majors
Drum major boys at St Augustine High School Long article (2004) from New Orleans, where high-school marching bands are a big thing. Mentions in passing that these cute "guys in the big hats" may be top stars of the Mardi Gras parade but the ones from St Augustine, at least (see previous two items), were at this point still liable to a paddling to keep them in line during band practice.

Unintended Consequences: The Impact of "Zero Tolerance" and Other Exclusionary Policies on Kentucky Students [PDF]
As its name implies, this paper (2003) is not about corporal punishment, which is mentioned only in passing as a statistic (paddlings constituted 5% of disciplinary actions in Kentucky schools in 2000-01).
 However, it is of some interest for three reasons:

1. It makes crystal clear how completely counter-productive out-of-school suspension (OSS) often is, and one argument for paddling is that it provides the student with the punishment he requires without any of the disadvantages of OSS.

2. It shows that black students receive ALL forms of punishment disproportionately to their share of the population, so, if there is a problem here at all, it certainly is not anything to do with corporal punishment per se, as anti-CP activists often try to suggest. (Unconscious racial stereotyping by teachers seems a likely reason; another possible explanation might simply be that black kids actually are, on average, naughtier than white ones. Either way, abolishing CP makes no difference.)

3. If the powers-that-be and the educational establishment can come up with such a catastrophically wrong policy as "zero tolerance", and stick with it for so long when everybody can see that it is producing ludicrous consequences, how can we have any confidence in their other policy decisions, such as decisions to abolish CP?

Paddle-Happy South
A cartoon from Alabama (2008).

Teachers Who Paddle
A website in the form of a blog by (or so it is claimed) a group of elementary school teachers in the south who defend their use of corporal punishment. Curiously, however, they do not favor the use of CP at secondary level. (Pretty much the opposite way round to my own views, as it happens.)

Nothing Like a Good Swat!
A teacher in California reads the big New York Times piece about CP in US schools (2006) and is surprised to discover that it has not been banned everywhere. (It is remarkable how many Americans just assume the USA is culturally and legally homogeneous.) He recalls in detail getting swats at junior high school in the 1970s.

Moyer spanked: FUMA fugitive hid in Mexico  (Alternative link)
Follow-up (2004) to a tale of cadets being "inappropriately" spanked at Fork Union Military Academy, Virginia, in the 1990s.

Banned in Kansas: Early Motion Pictures Faced Censors
The 1929 movie All Quiet on the Western Front was censored when shown in Kansas, to remove a scene in which a boy is paddled by his teacher, according to this.

What CEAI has meant to me
A teacher member of Christian Educators Association International thanks the organization for helping out when he or she was in trouble over the paddling of several boys.

School orders mom to spank son -- or else
On some message board or other, an extraordinarily long conversation (30 pages when I unwisely printed it out) arising out of a news story about a boy threatened with paddling at a private Christian school. Like most of these things, the debate never really gets anywhere and most of the contributors seem to be at cross purposes.

Old cartoon of infant-school CP Handwriting: What works in the classroom?
A hundred years ago schools had the necessary discipline to get children to master copperplate, according to this, but now teachers don't punish the way they used to, and bad handwriting is the result.

The Problem With Kids Today
Columnist on a 'black culture' website (2005) says that "kids who cannot grasp where they end and where the world begins" need "a good ass whipping", and quotes his own experience as an exemplar.

Glimpses of an earlier Milwaukee: A dose of the cane
An article written in the 1920s recalls schooling in the 1870s, when punishment was not with a paddle but with a rattan.

Sexual battery suspect sent suggestive e-mails
A case from 2001 in which a student at a high school in Virginia in the early 1980s complained that he was disciplined on the bare buttocks with a drumstick. A drumstick sounds like a pretty feeble implement to me, but the former student described it as a "terrible beating".

Paddled by coach: Shane OnsbyParent Alert: When Teachers Cross the Line Paddling of Lafayette County Mississippi student discussed on national TV
14-year-old Shane Onsby, pictured right, went on the John Walsh TV show in Nov 2002 to argue that his coach went too far when he paddled him for missing football practice. Shane whacked a punch bag in the studio to demonstrate to viewers what the paddling was like. On this third page is a picture of what is said to be a typical Mississippi school paddle, wrapped with tape, and another photo in which Shane gamely drops his jeans to show us his sore behind. His mother professed "outrage" at the bruises, but I must say they don't look too bad to me. Also on the show, defending CP, were the paddling principal of a private school in Kentucky and a parent whose stepson, 11, has been paddled there.

The Sloan-Hendrix Greyhound, No. 64
Newsletter (2003) of a High School in Arkansas. Go to page 5. A seventh-grader warns incoming freshmen not to get in trouble because a paddling from Mr Walton "hurts bad -- just ask around".

Thera Pee
Tennessee columnist Chip Brown expresses some skepticism about the worth of psychologists and therapists, and wonders if things were not better when "the principal just busted your butt".

Solid South School Class of 1947
From Oklahoma comes a picture of Mr Hopper, who had a big thick paddle with holes drilled in it, and some of his students.

Paddling Should Not Be Allowed In Hamilton County Schools
A message board in Tennessee. A newcomer to the area is dismayed (2006) to discover that CP is allowed in local schools. This unleashes a torrent of replies from locals who argue forcefully and cogently that in their view paddling is a good thing. Almost the only dissenting voices are from professional anti-CP agitators not based in Tennessee.

Schoolmaster about to whip a small boy
A drawing by Thomas Fogarty from c.1890.

Debate Over Corporal Punishment Rages
Transcript of a discussion on CNN's "Connie Chung Tonight" (2002).

Does Paddling Belong in Schools?
Another CNN debate transcript, this time from 2001.

Corporal Punishment: Teaching Violence Through Violence
A column in Education World (2002) by someone who was surprised, and "disturbed", to discover CP was not illegal throughout the USA. (How on earth does such an ill-informed person get to be a regular columnist on a national education website?)

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
Seems hysterical and unconvincing to me. The argument is effectively rebutted in Dr Benatar's essay.

A Treatise on Pedagogy for Young Teachers
Reproduction of an 1884 text. Scroll a long way down to Chapter XIV. It says what I have long felt -- that "any valid arguments against corporal punishment are valid against all punishment", and there can be no government (of a school or of a state) without the possibility of punishment. Nor should CP be a last resort. "If a rude, turbulent boy can be kept in school and judiciously whipped into decent behavior, will any one say that it is not better for him, and for all concerned, than it would be to turn him into the street?"

School Violence Toleration
Walter Williams Writing in Capitalism magazine (2004), columnist Walter Williams describes student behavior now -- with one and a half million violent incidents reported per year in US public schools -- as "completely intolerable". Caning is one thing that would stop it, he says. For more of Williams's robust views, see this Aug 1999 article.

Pieces of history on display at NVUSD museum
A school museum opens (2004) in Napa Valley, California, with a three-foot paddle on display.

A Closer Look at Drug and Violence Prevention Efforts in American Schools [PDF]
Report of a 2002 survey of schools for the US Department of Education. See pages 51/52. It found anecdotal evidence that parents think CP should be administered "sooner, harder, and more often", and that most paddlings were the student's own choice over other punishments.

Police probe alleged hazing (17 September 1996)
Authorities investigate alleged hazing (18 September 1996)
4 players go to court to prevent more penalties in alleged hazing (25 September 1996)
Accused football players return to team (26 September 1996)
Schools careful with initiation rites (29 September 1996)
Suit by 4 Perryton football players dropped (8 October 1996)
Perryton coaches reprimanded (10 October 1996)
2 students plead no contest, 2 plead not guilty in hazing case (30 October 1996)
Jury clears coaches of wrongdoing (12 January 1997)
Trial date set in hazing incident (22 January 1997)
Trial of 2 Perryton teens accused in incident delayed (18 March 1997)
Teen hazing trial opens in Perryton (28 May 1997)
Teen acquitted in hazing case (29 May 1997)
Teen acquitted of assault in hazing (30 May 1997)
Paddled at age 17: football star Jason Pshigoda Reports from the Amarillo Globe about the long-drawn-out saga of a football hazing incident at Perryton High School in Texas and its aftermath. Our interest is not in the hazing itself but the punishment for it. Twelve boys were accused of assaulting another player and disciplined immediately by the school. Details of this discipline only became public later, when the four most senior accused students -- all 17-year-old local football stars, including Jason Pshigoda (shown above right in a picture taken three years later) -- brought a lawsuit against being, in effect, suspended from playing football on the grounds that they had already been punished, and testified that they had been given the choice of suspension or corporal punishment. All had opted for the paddling and taken 3 licks from Principal Doug Burke (pictured below right) later the same day. According to a later report, all 12 students had in fact been paddled.
Paddling principal Doug Burke playing golf in 1999 Note that none of them was complaining about the paddling. What they were complaining about was being punished twice.
 Two years after this affair, Perryton High actually stepped up its use of paddling in a new tardy policy, which proved successful in reducing the number of tardies - see this Nov 1998 news item and this Apr 1999 follow-up. It makes one wonder about the proportionality aspect -- if you get a choice of suspension or three licks just for a sixth tardy, was the identical punishment of Jason and his chums really enough for beating up a freshman? Ought not the principal to have given these big guys at least six of the best?

Teaching for tomorrow interferes with today
A young trainee teacher in Nebraska, in despair about kids' lack of respect and discipline, thinks corporal punishment wasn't such a bad idea after all. It got better results, he says, than today's "coddling of self-esteem".

Ramblings of a Single Mom
A woman "somewhere in the Bible belt" (2002) not only goes to school to spank her son, but takes her own paddle with her.

Greg Jones 1973Hawthorne Talk Feedback page 452
Part of a huge alumni site for Hawthorn High School in California. Several paddling recollections here. Greg Jones (pictured), class of 1973, says he missed out on the paddle but did get a swat with a tennis shoe on his wet rear end by one of the coaches. It "hurt like hell" but he thinks he deserved it.

Project NoSpank
Extensive collection of negative propaganda articles, news stories and references. Quite a few of these are indeed about corporal punishment but, despite the site's narrow title, the subjects covered also include generalized physical abuse and even extend to things like people being killed or raped by abusive institutions or guardians, infanticide, and the rights and wrongs of school uniform, all of which -- it is implied -- are somehow linked to CP. For instance, of 24 cases mentioned on the site's "Hall of Shame" page, which lists institutions of which it particularly disapproves, only a couple actually have to do with corporal punishment. Slamming a child against the wall or rubbing its face in vomit are already offenses against existing laws, and always have been. They have nothing to do with corporal punishment, and in my view it is absurd, and intellectually dishonest, to imply that they are even part of the same subject. The NoSpank site also includes a page full of pictures of paddled bottoms showing bruises of varying degrees of severity. These pictures are heralded as "deeply disturbing", but most of them seem quite mild to me. When did it suddenly become the case that a few transient bruises are deemed to be the end of the world? Kids get bruised all the time, just playing around, or they did in my day.

Traditional methods of raising kids work best
A columnist on the far-right WorldNetDaily website argues (2001) for the return of the "Board of Education".

Eliminating Modern Firearms
Writer remembers getting three hard whacks with a paddle at elementary school, which taught him never again to throw rocks at people. His attempt to link this to the gun control argument is not very convincing, however.

Posed spanking picThe paddle's infinite sting
A professor of journalism recalls his 1956 school paddling in Ohio. Illustrated with this rather irrelevant old photo (posed) of a young boy being spanked.

And furthermore ...
Reactions by readers to the above piece. One of them remarks that it is sad to see a man in his 50s still fretting bitterly over something that happened to him in first grade. Most kids get over it, he says, and he thinks paddling was the only thing that kept his own classroom from resembling a zoo.

Keeping up with Mrs. Jones: Award-winning principal earns respect from students, teachers
Report from an elementary school in Georgia where the principal has both a paddle and a strap in her office.

Taking discipline a bit too far
A columnist in Alabama laments (2003) the decline of order in schools and thinks they should go back to how they were when he was a student.

Paddled for being late: Jennifer WashingtonCrimson Chronicle: Why Should You Be Punctual To Class?
In the magazine of a Mississippi high school, student Jennifer Washington (pictured) writes, from personal experience, that a very good reason for being on time is to avoid the paddling that at her school is automatic for tardy students.

1999-2000 Corporal Punishment in Tennessee Public Schools
Paddling statistics for each district in TN.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child? [PDF]
The New Jersey State Bar Foundation reminds us that NJ banned CP in public schools as long ago as 1867.

Re: My Paddling Statistics for 02-03 school year
An Alabama teacher kept a record of his or her paddlings of students in 9th through 12th grade.

NoPaddle Jeff Charles and Andrea
This "examination of school paddling and spanking as physical abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment" is by Jeff Charles, formerly a frequent contributor to the "NoSpank" website. It seems he took off on his own so as to have free rein to focus on his great obsession, which is the paddling of schoolgirls by male teachers in the Southern USA (though strangely enough Jeff lives in Michigan, which is almost as far north as you can get). In fact the major part of this site is an "online book in progress" called Southern Education, which includes posed paddling photos, using a "model" called Andrea, some of which would not disgrace a pornographic magazine, as well as numerous very crude drawings of girls being paddled. The author seems to be convinced that paddlings of girls are being secretly filmed by male school administrators so that the tapes can be sold on the black market to perverts. But as far as I can see he adduces absolutely no evidence for this bizarre claim, which I have not come across anywhere else. As anti-CP propaganda, all this is so over-the-top that I think it probably counter-productive. However, as I have said before, it would seem sensible for paddling schools to enforce a same-sex rule (as some already do) in order to forestall this kind of criticism once and for all.
 On this page, Jeff has reproduced part of an exchange of e-mails that I had with him back in 2003.

Aliens Investigate the Culture of Crockett Middle School
See essay by Marshall, viewing this Texas school cafeteria through the eyes of a visitor from another planet. One of the larger humans always carried a paddle, which he applies to the rear end of defiant smaller humans.

Corporal punishment
Advice from the American Association of Christian Schools to its members.

When a life-changing spanking might have helped!
Mother and father disagree with each other when the school asks them for permission to paddle their sixth-grader.

Diversity in Christian Schools [PDF]
Article (2001) in Education Next of the Hoover Institution. Christian Schools are far from being all the same, apparently.

State lauds SAD 35 special education program
Quotes a teacher in 1776. The older boys were "lawless" and she had to "resort to corporal punishment" to maintain order.

Schools Still Debate Use of Paddling: Corporal Punishment in Schools Sparks Debate Over How to Discipline Students
ABC News item from 2001.

St James students in 1957 The Rise and Fall of St James School, or "Good Intentions Gone Awry", Part I
Part II: School is Open
Part III: School is Out
Fascinating story of a weird private school for boys in Connecticut in the 1950s and 1960s. English-style formal school uniforms with short trousers and long socks were compulsory, and corporal punishment was rife. It makes an old 1950s-era Brit like me feel quite nostalgic.

Lee County School Board Meeting May 23, 2000
Lee County School Board Meeting June 20, 2000
Lee County School Board Meeting July 18, 2000
A Florida school board discusses abolishing corporal punishment.

Kennett High School Alumni Association
A school bus driver recalls paddling a misbehaving student.

Rev. Paul Bernard Smith, legendary Principal of Holy Angels School
At his Chicago black Catholic school in the 1970s, he adopted a "ketchup bottle" approach to discipline: "when all else fails, hit it on the bottom".

How I Joined Teach for America -- and Got Sued for $20 Million
Depressing piece (2003) about the dire state of public education in Washington DC. This novice teacher says he ended up being accused of "corporal punishment" just for touching a student with a guiding hand.

Modie Risher: Educator keeps his eyes on the prize
A legendary school football coach. "If a kid jumps offside during practice, he'll bend over so a teammate can paddle him on the behind."

What Really Happened to the Class of '99
Long article (1999) from the Texas Observer describing controversial goings-on at Joaquin High School, East Texas, including a lot of paddling (see also the item immediately below).

Eyes on Joaquin Independent School District
In 1998 the Texas Civil Rights Project accused this school of, among other things, excessive corporal punishment. The authors did not oppose paddling per se but claimed the school principal used it "with absurd frequency and for strange reasons". Some students reported getting as many as 15 swats in a single day. Over 20 students at once had been seen lining up outside the principal's office awaiting their swats. I thought that was pretty normal for Texas -- and why not? -- but the Civil Rights Project sternly disapproves. NOTE: the report itself seems no longer to be on line, but this page is a form you can use to order it by post for $20.

Notes From Another Planet
This piece from 2000 is on the "Nospank" website, but interesting as a piece of socio-cultural commentary, if you ignore its tiresome knee-jerk anti-CP assertions. The writer was brought up in what was then Rhodesia, and familiar with the idea of school corporal punishment there and in the UK. He describes -- with rather more style and humor than anti-spankers can usually muster -- his difficulty in coming to terms with the belated discovery that it is also prevalent in parts of North America. He is rather perceptive on the USA's image in the minds of people who have spent their lives drowning under a deluge of American popular culture (i.e. practically everyone in the world) but who have never actually been there. He raises precisely the question I have always wondered about -- how is it that there have been so few allusions in the US culture (films, TV, comics, etc.) to mainstream high school CP in modern times, in stark contrast to, for example, the equivalents in the UK, which -- until well into the 1980s -- never failed to bring the subject up at every opportunity? Why this conspiracy of silence by Hollywood and the other media? Are they this misleading about other aspects of American life, too?

Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools A-G
Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools H-O
Fulton County Indiana Handbook: Schools P-Z
Look for historical paddling anecdotes under Akron, Old Columbia School, Champ School, Lake Bruce School, Country School Millark, and Prairie Grove.

OKGenWeb: Life of a pioneer woman
1937 testimony of a woman who around 1890 had been a teacher in a log hut school on an Indian reservation, where CP was given with a hickory switch.

Suspending and expelling children from educational opportunity: Time to reevaluate zero tolerance policies [PDF]
Article (2001) in the American University Law Review. See Chapter A1, "Disciplinary methods from the 1960s to the 1990s", where the claim is made that CP started losing its effectiveness when in the 1960s it began to be administered in the principal's office rather than in front of the class.

When words are ot [sic] enough
Article (2001) in an Indiana high-school magazine calling for the restoration of paddling in schools. "ISS is not a punishment as much as a goal for some offenders."

The Rise & Fall and the Resurrection: The Autobiography of Glen Caulkins
This is a former drug dealer and gangster who has now "got religion". See Chapter One for a reference to parental spanking, and Chapter Four for details of getting swats in the coach's office at junior high school in 1960s California.

West Virginia Mat Thoughts
A Dr Bill Welker, writing on a school wrestling website, says he deserved all the paddlings he got at school and finds that the practice was extremely effective when judiciously administered.

Rootsweb - Caddo County Oklahoma
What is one to make of a teacher who in 1940 wrote in his school yearbook, "My hobbies are softball and paddling kids"?

Corporal Punishment In Schools?
A northern teen thinks (1997) that bringing back corporal punishment would be a jolly good idea. She believed then that paddling was making a comeback in southern schools, which is indeed what some of the press were saying around the middle of the 1990s, but the statistical returns don't bear it out.

School Board Minutes 8 January 2002 [PDF]
Corporal Punishment in All Schools
Board Letter - January 11, 2002
Internal School Board documentation connected with the abolition of paddling in Nashville TN, which took effect in February 2002. The second document gives the number of paddlings, and the number of students paddled, for every school in the district, for an unstated reference period, presumably a year. 65% of paddlings were in elementary schools. In high schools, strangely, there were none at all.

Experts: Spanking Harms Girls
2001 article that takes seriously the near-pornographic "first-person account" of a senior schoolgirl's alleged 1984 paddling in Florida as described in "Rape: Lesson 1" on the NoSpank website, which more detached observers tend to think is a rather obvious fake. Apart from that, who are the "experts" quoted here? Round up the usual suspects: Nadine Block, Irwin Hyman, Murray Straus, Jordan Riak ....

Paddle: A Reaction
Essay by some unidentified person in response to the above-mentioned "NoSpank" article "Rape: Lesson 1", pointing out that "it's hard to imagine two male school administrators being able to count on living out their fantasies of frequently paddling unwilling girls in miniskirts".

Teaching by The Book: Classical education alternative from Idaho spreading to Christian schools nationwide
Article (1999) about some unusual Christian schools which teach Latin and "keep discipline problems nearly nonexistent" through the use of corporal punishment. The paddlings at one such school are described.

Lowest achieving Ohio schools quickest with the paddle
The Center for Effective Discipline -- yet another anti-CP outfit -- claimed that the figures showed most of the paddling in Ohio took place in the worst schools.

"Boston Public" confronts issue of sexually motivated paddling in high school
Comments (from an anti-spanking point of view) on what sounds to have been a more than usually ludicrous TV soap opera episode which, bizarrely, depicted classroom CP taking place in Massachusetts, supposedly in the present day, even though that state outlawed it as long ago as 1971. What's interesting about this is that, as I have discussed elsewhere, it is weirdly rare for US mainstream popular culture to even allude to the existence of school paddling in modern times.

Protestant Fundamentalism and Support of Corporal Punishment
A summary of research into the tendency of conservative Christians to support CP in schools (and also in the home). It comes to the rather obvious conclusion that such people are not likely to be swayed by rational arguments in favor of abolishing the paddle.

detail from painting The Caning
Painting by Norman Rockwell of a Tom-Sawyer-style 19th-century classroom switching.

Policy Statement on Corporal Punishment in Schools, August 2000
Summary of the anti-paddling position taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A Study of the Effectiveness of a Saturday School in Reducing Suspension, Expulsion, and Corporal Punishment [PDF]
1991 experiment at a Tennessee school with historically high levels of corporal punishment. I can see why Saturday school is better than suspension or expulsion but I do not understand why it should be taken as read that it is also better than paddling, which is a great deal quicker and cheaper.

118,701 reasons not to enroll your child in a Texas school
The "NoSpank" website reproduces what purports to be correspondence with a mother who says she recently moved to Texas from New York and was shocked when her daughter got paddled, a practice of which she claims never to have heard. She seems to think that, just because corporal punishment has been abolished in New York, it should not be allowed anywhere else. Surely she ought to have made it her business to find out what Texas was like before moving there.

Victory Church under fire
1994 story about a church in North Dakota, accused of being a cult. It ran a school with a policy of regular spankings.

The Child-Beating Mandate of George W. Bush
Compares the electoral college map in the 2000 Presidential election with the map of states which still paddle, and finds that there is a correlation between school CP and Republican support -- but we knew that already.

Platform of the Green Party of Minnesota
As you might guess, the Greens oppose the use of corporal punishment.

Corporal Punishment in School
Spanking at School Poll Results
Someone opposed to corporal punishment recalls vivid memories of being paddled. The article includes an online poll on "would you support CP at your child's school?"

Old Myers Street School
Reminiscences about a school in Brooklyn, not the famous Brooklyn but one in North Carolina, at the end of the 19th century. Boys were sent out to a meadow to cut switches.

Retention Schedule for Records of Public School Districts [PDF]
This says the official records of corporal punishment and other school discipline in Texas need be kept only as long as "administratively valuable". I think all such data should be kept for posterity so that historians can study them in many years' time when they need no longer be regarded as confidential.

3 strikes, chain gangs, work camps, death penalty
Newspaper columnist considers (1996) the burgeoning crime problem in Hawaii. Part of his solution is the return of corporal punishment to schools.

The System Supports Recidivism
The "Public Defender" (a lawyer who acts for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer) in Lake County, Illinois, has a whole list of gripes against the criminal justice system and thinks parents and teachers ought to be protected from child abuse lawsuits for reasonable corporal punishment.

Children in a Changing Society
University of Alabama's School of Education on why they disapprove of school corporal punishment. This kind of tract always seems to quote the same few sources. What if the sources turn out to be wrong?

Old Act, New Venue: Michael Wetton opens school for boys
Anti-CP brigade having a go at one Michael Wetton, quoting several newspaper articles of cases where he got into some trouble over bare-bottom paddlings (of girls as well as boys) in Arizona. In the latest development he had turned up in the UK and founded a new boys' school advertising a "firm disciplined atmosphere". But meanwhile corporal punishment had been banned in UK private schools anyway.

Corporal Punishment to Children's Hands: A Statement by Medical Authorities as to the Risks
A pompous document in which a whole string of professors of this and that explain why the hands are a dangerous part of the body to punish physically. Quite so! That is why students should always be whacked on their bottoms. I think most of us knew that already.

Congress Street School, 1870-1880
Defeat and Trouble 1890-1900
Success and Failure 1910-1920
Three chapters of a history of Tucson school district in Arizona. At Congress Street, "discipline was stern" and parents judged teachers according to how soundly the students were whipped. The second extract quotes an example of a whipping recorded in the Discipline Book even though, it says, corporal punishment was at that time contrary to a territorial law. The third reports that this law was repealed in 1912 and quotes the rules for corporal punishment introduced at that time.

Kona police probe school's discipline
An item from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (1996) about complaints of harsh discipline in a school in Hawaii, a state which bans corporal punishment.

Jim Yates' Contemplation Room
Jim, a US black activist, thinks the black community is doomed unless it gets back to paddling its youth. Scroll a long way down to the section headed "3/16/97".

The Influence of Corporal Punishment on Crime
This anti-CP rant has some interesting statistics, from which dubious cause-and-effect non sequitur conclusions are drawn, needless to say.

For school paddling
Letter from a doctor in the Southwest Times Record challenging the idea that school corporal punishment generates violence.

Letter to President Clinton: Civil Rights of Schoolchildren
Anti-paddling propaganda stunt -- not of course in fact a matter for the federal administration.

The Paradigm Behind the Curtain
Theoretical stuff from Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.

Meet Darby Bump
A website for teens considers the constitutionality of school paddling.

Report Card: Historically Black Boarding Schools Reviving Tradition
1995 article about a resurgence of black boarding schools. They have, or had at the time, strict discipline policies including paddlings, it says.

Ban Corporal Punishment
A humanist website regurgitates all the familiar arguments.

Districts Jump at Chance for Waivers to Rules
Education Week article (1995). Some Illinois schools applied to be exempted from state law banning CP .......

Flaws in Law: School Waivers Burden Illinois Legislature
........ but without success. Schools' requests to derogate from the state paddling ban were refused.

School Violence Prevention: Strategies to Keep Schools Safe
Long paper (1998) from the "libertarian" (read: very right-wing) Reason Foundation points out that school violence is nothing new, very difficult to measure, and does not lend itself to simplistic, one-size-fits-all answers. Schools vary a lot, but there is no hard evidence that "zero tolerance", or any recent return to a more punitive approach, actually work. Because of the constraints on public schools, private schools may be better placed to experiment and find innovative solutions. See Section B.4 on corporal punishment. Where public schools are concerned, it is suggested that the "parental right" to paddle should not be claimed by a school without the parents' explicit consent. In private schools, on the other hand, the authors think that if parents want CP they should be able to have it.
 The paper also states that teachers at the Malcolm X Academy in Detroit, a public "Afrocentric" school, are free to spank unruly students. This information must be very out of date, because Michigan abolished CP in 1989.

See also:

Corporal punishment in US schools - Illustrated overview, with even more links

Current handbooks of schools where CP is used

Video clips

Pictures of paddles

Paddling in US schools in Topics A to Z

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