Corporal punishment is widely used in Florida schools, and many educators view it as an efficient method of children’s behavior management. Florida state laws allow schools to use corporate punishment at the principal’s discretion, even if the parents are against such practice. Nevertheless, psychologists argue that the practice can be traumatizing both physically and emotionally, thus provoking other behavioral problems, including fears, anxiety, and aggression. This essay aims to show why corporal punishment, such as paddling, is harmful and should be abolished in Florida, as well as in other states.
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The practice of paddling was originally used to discipline slaves; in time, however, the practice found its way into schools, where paddling is still used to punish children for misbehavior. There are many advocates of corporal punishment, who insist that this practice is effective in promoting discipline in schools, which in turn helps to ensure that the learning process is more efficient. However, most psychologists agree that empirical research does not support this view.
For instance, Smith (2012) states that “There is no need for corporal punishment based on the research” (para. 4). Therefore, paddling is not efficient and can be replaced by non-violent behavior management techniques. Secondly, the theory suggests that spanking, paddling, and other means of corporal punishment produce a variety of unwanted psychological effects. For example, physical punishment can provoke aggression. According to Smith (2012), studies showed that children who were subject to physical punishment were more likely to use violence against their siblings and peers.
Corporal punishment in schools can have the same influence and affect the child’s further life. Another important argument against corporal punishment in schools is that it is used at the Principal’s discretion, meaning that there is a possibility that certain groups of students will be disproportionately affected by the practice based on their skin color or sexual orientation. Klein (2015) states that a national study showed that students in special education, as well as African American students, were more likely to be subject to corporal punishment in schools, although no significant evidence of disproportional treatment was found in Florida.
One of the most disturbing characteristics of corporal punishment is, perhaps, the fact that it is used by educational institutions starting from pre-school. A report by Gonzales (2012) describes a case of excessive use of force against a five-year-old boy at Levy County school. The paddling left welts on the boy’s skin, proving that the use of force was excessive. Moreover, the punishment was carried out without the parents’ consent. According to the laws of Florida, corporal punishment must be approved by the principal, with an explanation provided to parents (Thomson Reuters, 2017). However, the parent’s consent is not required for the punishment to be carried out, which means that even in this case, the school principal acted in accordance with state laws.
Overall, despite being widely used in Florida schools, paddling is opposed by many researchers and psychologists. There are also many organizations that are officially against corporal punishment, including the American Bar Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and National Education Association.
The method is also viewed as a violation of human rights and is illegal in many countries and states. Most importantly, however, it can have serious psychological implications, including aggression, anxiety, and fear. There are many non-violent methods of improving discipline in class and promoting better learning outcomes, which is why I believe that the use of corporal punishment in Florida schools should be abolished.
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Gonzales, S. (2012). Why Florida schools can paddle students against parents’ wishes. State Impact. Web.
Klein, R. (2015). Why some school principals In Florida still spank students. The Huffington Post. Web.
Smith, B. L. (2012). The case against spanking. Monitor on Psychology, 43(4), 60.
Thompson Reuters. (2017). Florida corporal punishment in public schools laws. Web.