A Florida mother is suing the school department after the school's principal paddled her five-year-old son so severely thatÂ he had to be taken to the emergency room because the event triggered anÂ asthma attack. Several Florida lawmakers have recently expressed opposition to school paddling and are trying to outlaw corporal punishment at school.
This issue sheds light on the obvious divide amongst cultures about whether or not corporal punishment is an acceptable discipline practice. In many states, not only are teachers not allowed to spank children, they would most likely be arrested if they did. However, 19 southern and mid-western states consider paddling an acceptable form of discipline for schools.
A lot of people have strong feelings about whether or not spanking is an effective discipline strategy.Â Talk to someone who is concerned that children don't have any respect these days and you'll likely hear that it's because 'there's a lack of discipline.' On the contrary, read a study on reasons why there is so much violence in schoolsÂ and you'll likely find 'too harsh of discipline leads to aggressive behaviors.'Â It's no wonder that parents struggle to identify what constitutes healthy discipline for children. School districts apparently struggle with this issue as well.It's important to find effective consequences to reduce negative behaviors. Consequences need to be age appropriate and there are many options, besides corporal punishment. For example, time out is a great way to teach new skills. There are several factors to take into consideration when establishing a discipline plan and parents should learn the difference between consequences and punishments and examine the potential negative impact physical punishment can have on children.