Favorite

Stop the violence 

Randy Cox and I were in the First Methodist Church's Boy Scout Troop 5 in Lake Charles, La. In a happy coincidence, we both wound up working in Little Rock.

Randy is a licensed social worker and a one-man Arkansas army for stopping corporal punishment in schools. See his website, neverhitachild.org, for research and informed opinion.

Randy wrote me last week with good news. U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York introduced legislation to end corporal punishment in schools by refusing federal money to schools that continue to whack kids. Thirty states have outlawed the practice, not including Arkansas and other gun-worshipping, Republican-leaning Southern states. (The largest school districts in Arkansas, including all in Pulaski County, have sworn off pounding kids.)

McCarthy is joined by the PTA, secondary principals and a host of other organizations in the effort. I'm afraid to ask our congressional delegation and current candidates where they stand, the answers are so likely to be dispiriting. (Surprise me, Mike Ross.)

The research is extensive. Corporal punishment leads to increased negative behavior and dropout rates, McCarthy said. Punishment is discriminatorily applied. Racial minorities and poor kids are whipped more often than white kids and the well-to-do.

News coverage of the legislation (largely ignored in Arkansas) included a mention that Memphis was thinking of reinstating corporal punishment in a "war zone" school. Yes, that's the ticket. Show students that the proper response to violence is more violence. Think about it. Will a 16-year-old from a Memphis ghetto where shootings, stabbings and drug dealing are daily occurrences be encouraged to better behavior by a butt-whipping?

If you hit a kid with a board for sassing you at a McDonald's restaurant, you'd be charged with assault. But, in Arkansas and 19 other states, a coach can pound a smart alec kid with a board and they call it sound discipline.

Randy dug up an interesting piece of history. The state Board of Education in 1993, packed with progressive Clinton appointees, had a discussion about ending corporal punishment. An Arkadelphia elementary principal told the board her school chose alternatives to corporal punishment, preferring "discipline with dignity." Ultimately, the Board approved a resolution by Elaine Scott encouraging districts to use alternative punishment. It said: "Corporal punishment serves as a model for aggressive behavior and teaches violence as a permissible solution to problems ... It causes students to withdraw from the punishing situation and is linked to absenteeism, truancy and the resulting lowering of academic achievement."

Board chairman Nancy Wood appointed a committee to report on the extent to which corporal punishment was used in Arkansas and to work with school groups on building consensus on banning it.

Education Department records today reflect no further reports, meetings or discussions. Nancy Wood told me the other day that her board term ended shortly after this action. She said the board knew from the first that historic feelings on the topic argued against a Board edict. Absent a vigorous continuing advocate – and with Mike Huckabee appointees in time taking control of the Board of Education – attention moved to other topics. The resolution was forgotten. Butts continued to be whipped.

School districts in Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia account for almost three-fourths of the reported whippings in U.S. schools, even though huge numbers of kids in these states are in urban districts that don't use corporal punishment.

Randy's simple mantra: Never hit a child, except in self defense. No harm has ever come from following that sound advice.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line: And a note about Texas

    Here's the Memorial Day open line. And an AP report from a chaotic session of the Texas legislature, where police were called to remove demonstrators from the legislative chambers where they were noisily protesting a new law to prevent "sanctuary" cities for immigrants.
    • May 29, 2017
  • A Memorial Day message on Medicaid

    A Memorial Day reminder of the good the Medicaid expansion did for veterans and what's at risk if it goes away.
    • May 29, 2017
  • Babies having babies: Good news not so good in Arkansas

    The good news is a drop in teen pregnancy. The bad news is that Arkansas remains a leader in this statistic as well as in the somewhat related statistic of child marriages.
    • May 29, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
    • May 25, 2017
  • You want tort reform? Try this.

    The nursing home industry and the chamber of commerce finally defeated the trial lawyers in the 2017 legislature. The Republican-dominated body approved a constitutional amendment for voters in 2018 that they'll depict as close to motherhood in goodness.
    • May 18, 2017
  • French Hill's photo op

    The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a health care bill that only the blind, dumb or dishonest could call good for any but the wealthy. For its many flaws, it has been hailed as a ticket to congressional gains for the Democratic Party.
    • May 11, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • Gene Lyons' craft in writing his columns is superb. Many times, I don't agree with…

    • on May 29, 2017
  • Re: Virgil, quick come see

    • Runner55K Would you please clear up a mystery that has befuddled both my late fatherinlaw…

    • on May 29, 2017
  • Re: Not leaders

    • I like Autumn Tolbert's articles. She uses logical reasoning and makes some good points. My…

    • on May 28, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation