To paddle or not?

As someone who grew up during a time when corporal punishment was still fairly prevalent in schools — I still have a reasonably refined memory of “Spanky,” the paddle employed by my middle-school principal — I find today’s discussions of the topic pretty interesting.

The Associated Press took a recent look at the issue. “Although corporal punishment in American schools has declined in recent decades, paddling is still on the books in 19 states despite calls from the U.S. Education Department to curb punitive discipline, which has been shown to affect minority and disabled students disproportionately,” it wrote.

“But in corners of the country where it remains deeply woven in culture and tradition, some school administrators say corporal punishment has broad support from parents, that it preserves learning time that would be lost to a suspension, and that they see little need to give up a practice that dates back generations.”

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