The Instigator
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3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The School Paddle in Our Nation's Public Schools

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,182 times Debate No: 41312
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Growing up in an era when the School Paddle was not the most prevalent disciplinary method used (in the 1990's), I did attend a Private School where paddling was on the books and was used if necessary. I was subjected to a paddling once when I was in elementary school, and I believe that this had a huge affect on why I was so well behaved throughout my remaining K-12 Years and currently into my college years. One time when I was in the second grade, my teacher also smacked a yardstick on my hands down on my desk. I attended private school for Pre-School through 4th grade. I wanted to try out public school, so I convinced my parents to let me switch schools, and I began to attend the local public school in my district. From the 5th grade to 12th grade, I went to Public School, because the schools better fit my needs in the world of academics.

I will say though, that I noticed a huge difference in the way students behaved at the public school than they did at the private school. At the private school, we had to respect our teachers or our little bottoms would feel the sting or we would get a good talking to from our teachers/administrators. At the Public School, many students got away with back-talking teachers, name calling them and being disrespectful in general. It honestly appalled me the way students in the Public School treated teachers, classmates and administrators. I for one have always been a person that firmly supports the return of Paddling in our nations public schools.

Let me say, that I do not believe that paddling should be the first disciplinary method of choice, but that it should be an option. I believe that there are more stellar methods that can be used, but for instance and for example, after a student has had a good talking to by their teacher and continues to act up and do the same wrong doing more than once, then I feel that the students should be subjected to a good spanking by their teacher and/or administrator, and with parental consent. I think that instead of suspending, students, it would be a good idea to spank students. I believe that it is a school's job to discipline students and to take full responsibility in the growing up process of a student and should be given the same rights as a parent when disciplining. However, there will always be those parents who believe that it is not the schools place to spank students and that it is up to the parent to decide what kind of discipline the student should receive. I highly respect that.

For the 19 states that do allow Corporal Punishment in Public school, most of these have a form where parents have to sign, to say if they approve of the school paddling their students or do not approve of the school paddling their kid. I feel like many parents do not discipline students to begin with in the first place, thus sending these students to school with behavior problems. Then many parents complain when their students are sent home and can't seem to side on the fact that their precious little angel acted out in class. I honestly just believe that many (not all) of our nations public school children have gotten way out of hand, and that it is time for them to understand that there are consequences for their actions, and that one of these methods can hurt a little.

Students need to understand that their teachers, faculty and staff at their school believe in them to succeed and expect them to behave. We can remove a student from class, but if the parent wishes for their child to be paddled, then I feel like it should be an option and should be done in the school to respect parents wishes and to teach a lesson. But for those parents that want to discipline students themselves and not allow the school to lay a hand on their child, then I completely understand, thus making that another option. To me though, why send a child home, when the school should be focused with educating every child until they graduate? I believe that we should let the teachers do the discipline and then the parents do the discipline after it is handed down at school, like in the old days. And if the parents want to use another discipline method, then so be it. It is a matter of personal choice.

Back in the older days, such as in the 1950's/1960's parental consent was not that necessary, because the vast majority of parents approved of this form of punishment in school, and if the student acted up in class, they got another sting to their bottom when they got home. However, I believe that in the 21st century, parental consent is necessary, because of all the law suits and the wide spread belief that there are a smaller number of parents who approve of the practice. Obviously, many of these polls are biased, and often only look at one side of the issue more than the other and try to persuade that way, and then say the statistics are filled with parents who do not approve. I believe that a huge majority of Americans still do approve of school children being subjected to Corporal Punishment, but that there is also a huge majority that does not approve of the practice.

Now if there are more or less people who approve in the 21st century than there was in the older days, I'm not sure that is possible to determine. Back then, the statistics were not kept so much and we did not have all these psychologists/politicians stating that spanking is child abuse. What we had back then to determine the widespread belief was that spanking in school just happened and we had everyone experience to back it up. I am in an Introductory Statistics class at college, so I'm learning all about biased and non-biased statistical results. Now all you read about is the negative and how it is child abuse. As a nation, our schools used to have much more disciplined students than in the the 21st century. I'm not saying that these students were perfect, but many were much more well behaved than they are now days in school. I just don't quite comprehend what happened or when it happened. Many blame it on the paddle not being allowed in many schools anymore, while others believe that teachers are just scared to do anything to the student, or perhaps some teachers just don't feel like disciplining. It really is hard to tell. And I don't think that there really is only one answer to be honest.

I know that this topic is a bit touchy for many people, and that's alright. For those of you who are willing to accept my challenge for debate on this, it would be very interesting to see why you believe the way you do, your experiences, and it would be great to get a wide variety people (educators, parents and students alike). I am very stubborn and feel very strongly for this topic, but I can assure you that I do see other people's point of views. So, with all do respect, I'd love to hear what you think.


I apologize for the belated nature of my rebuttal, and kindly accept the debate. I would care to take this moment to state that my opinions contrast that of my contender. And that I will be presenting an argument, so in order to dismount his claim of efficacy in regards to the implementation of corporal punishment.

You've stated multiple points, each of which I will attempt to supply reproach.

I've belayed my response on multiple grounds; firstly, on account of the troves of scientifically veracious documents of reports that detail the inconsistencies with CP's goals, and its highly predictable deleterious outcome. Which is also a negative reaction on children and adolescents. Before I issue a responsa, I would care to say that, simply because a positive benefit was gained by yourself, this is no sufficient means by which to gauge the nature of phenomenal occurrences. The fact that CP has proven to have disproportional disadvantages to children over positive ones, renders it unreliable as a method for reformative therapy, and only a one-dimensional source of chastisement. That, and most child health representatives denounce the practice. [1]

As to your anecdotes. Given the unreliable nature of anecdote --and I have made this point before-- I could very well supply one rhetorically, with the same grounding as yours, but to prove an inverse; this makes anecdote foremostly unreliable, untenable, and not an absolute. An example: I was given corporal punishment twice by the school authorities, I later developed severe behavioural disorders and was eventually expelled. This could be purported as 'proof' of an attestation to a claim, but is just as invalid as your testimonial because it refuses to take into account statistical reality.

"I will say though, etc."
Yes, there is most certainly a break in the behaviour between public and private school institutions. But your claim that it is the fault of lack of disciplinary punishment refuses to take into account the correlation does not imply causality. Public school is riddled with adolescents in penury and gross impoverishment and problems with peers or home life, which leads to emotional disturbances. [2][3][4] This could very well be a more definitive source for bad behaviour within the respective school systems. I rebuke the notion thereupon.

It should be of great consequence that we outmode the act of this punishment all together. I am not a proponent of consequentialism, and believe that children should be assisted with their strife, not lamented for them. This will help assist them to become more rounded and wholly functioning adults without repressive mood disorders.

"Back in the older days, etc." This is an appeal to tradition; I would care to see the polls you cite, also. And if many people acceded the notion of corporal punishment --if everyone did-- that would not make it objectively morally sound.

I highly anticipate your rebuttal. I would care, however, for you to provide syllogistic arguments for me to attempt to negate.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate challenge. Many books have been written and researched on the effects of spanking children. However, not all studies give the same results. No two children are the same, therefore it can't be proven that all kids are going to grow up to have mental disturbances. You mention that Public School Children have problems with their home life that leads to emotional disturbances. This is not true for all public school children. And even if it was, then this would show that there is obviously lack of discipline in the home setting. How can a teacher run their classroom when students do not respect the teacher and not fear any consequences? As a future Secondary School Teacher, I feel like students in our nations schools need more discipline in school. My goal as a teacher is to keep my students in class and to educate them. I believe that Suspension and In School Suspension benefits students on neither a short term or long term basis.

I went to a Public High School, and I used to assist a teacher in her classroom. One student in particular was always in ISS (In-School Suspension). I was always the person who was asked to walk him to the ISS classroom. This was a constant daily activity that I was involved in. I honestly feel like there was a better method that could have been used instead of this student serving ISS everyday of his Freshman Year while in High School. Yes, I am sure that there were discipline problems in the home setting, but at the same time public schools were not doing their job for this student, as he was always in ISS. I feel like these are times when a "few swats" can be delivered to a students buttocks to prove more positive results. Many students, when they are suspended do not take time to reflect on their wrong doings. And many parents do not care to discipline these students any further. So, this is a treat for the students, as obviously they don't even want to be in school in most cases.

As a future teacher, I want my students to stay in school. I do not want to suspend them or send them to ISS. To me, the paddle is a tool that can be used, and this is an instance when it should most certainly be used. The students then go back to school and they are still disrespectful after having been or having served ISS. There are some studies that actually prove that spanking kids can lead to positive results. However, the topic of this debate is not on parents using spanking as a disciplinary tool, but instead of the use of spanking in our nations public schools. I would like to share with you a few studies/stories written by people that see the positive effects of spanking. Paddling students is not always handed down the correct way, and I believe that in order for an effective spanking to take place you must use "communication" and explain to the kids why they are being spanked, in order for the kids to understand and so that they do not have mixed reactions, emotions and feelings about why they are being spanked.

If parents would do their jobs in the home setting, then I believe that there would not be problems with disrespect when they entered the school setting. Unfortunately though, many parents do not discipline their kids and the kids go into "public" school per say and back talk their teachers and are just out right disrespectful. I'd like to share with you a story that I read of a positive effect a student had in school with being paddled, and in my opinion this is the proper way to go about a spanking at school.
What's your opinion of this story?
What's your opinion of this second article of the Voluntary Corporal Punishment among students? Do you believe that students should be able to choose the type of discipline that is handed down to them at school?
So, I'm thinking that after you read this third article that you might be able to comment on this new approach that many Public Schools are taking? Perhaps, use the new strategies, but if it does not show promise, then use paddling? Can you comment on this article?

I personally, do not advocate that paddling be the only method in our nations public schools, but rather an "option" if other methods do not work. Sometimes, being positive with certain students is just not working. As a future teacher, I plan to use communication in my classroom as one form of discipline, but I'm not sure that it will work on every child. I will do my best to keep my students under control.

Personally, for me, I don't listen to what all the Psychologists say for example. They only try to look at all the negative behind Corporal Punishment, and base their studies around one side of the issue. Spanking has been around for thousands of years, and now so many people are trying to tell me that it is child abuse. In which case, it can be if not given properly. To me, there is a dividing line between a paddling and a beating. Just like with words, we must be careful in what we say, well we must be careful when we consider physical force on students. But really, that's the way it is with everything in life. Many CP polls are biased, as the way they went about getting their information was focused towards the children/school children who had taken on negative effects due to this practice. They never try to look at the positive.

So, what I agree on with what you are hinting at, is that we should look at other methods of disciplining and use more positive methods. What I don't agree with, is eliminating spanking completely. It being that this debate is totally on Spanking in America's Public Schools, what sort of disciplinary methods should be used in our nations public schools that you feel would benefit students on a positive note? And if students are near close to having ISS and Suspension for example, what do you recommend the discipline to be, considering the non-use of paddling? Or are you all for ISS/Suspension?

I'm not sure I have the best sources that you are necessarily looking for, but honestly it is difficult to find studies that see the positive in the use of paddling, because as I said, so many studies are quite biased. But, I think that I have a good start.

And as you said, I highly anticipate hearing what you have to say. I have tried to write some arguments. I'm not sure if they are ones you are willing to side on, but to me they are sufficient. Good Luck!


pictureofdeloreangray forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


HistoryLover555 forfeited this round.


pictureofdeloreangray forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I am in the process of reading an interesting history book titled Boys Together. It is a book about British Public Schools in the early to middle part of the 19th century (1800-1864). There is a section in the book about "Corporal Punishment." There was a different in the type of CP administered in British Public Schools during this time period. Instead of using a paddle, a cane or birch were the most common implements used. If we talk about using a cane or birch then I can see where this could be abuse. I'd like to share some valuable information that can be found in the book that has long since sparked on much debate in England and in much of the world about the appropriateness about the use of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools. Something that was shared in the British Annals of Education was stated by a Pro-Corporal Punishment individual and not a reformer for the abolishment of the use of CP in school:
"I Know no method of inflicting pain so excellent...for when you take a rod of suitable size and flagellate the skin, even with some degree of severity, you may not only avoid all danger of injury to any vital organ whatever, but you run no risk of stupifying him. Indeed his sensibility increases rather than diminishes so long as you continue to inflict the blows."

People who were reformers and disagreed with the use of Corporal Punishment were undoubtedly appalled by this quote from someone who was old-fashioned and did not believe in the use of Corporal Punishment. Floggings or Canings were sometimes viewed by certain masters and boys as acts of pleasure. It would depend on who was administering the flogging. Charley Norton, in an autobiography titled Recollections of an Etonian (1870) wrote of his days in Eton (a British Public School in 1859). The way he felt can best be determined in this quote:
"I loosened my breeches, and biting my lips tight, knelt down on the block. I was resolved that at all events no cry should escape me, and for the sake of my own glory among my schoolfellows, intended to suffer as a hero. But the difficulty of representing my feelings I found to be in reality by no means so hard as I had anticipated. The first cut, indeed, stung me a little, and I felt at that moment almost as if I was being lashed with a nettle; but after this the sensation seemed deadened and the erect of them felt comparatively harmless. Even before the six were completed, I had made up my mind that there was nothing very terrible in being flogged, nor were my ideas altered by the tingling sensation felt afterwards..." This boy had positive feelings behind the use of Corporal Punishment administered on him. I'm not sure if he grew up to be a reformer or not in the use of CP, but it is quite clear that he was not negatively impacted by the use of flogging being administered on him.

An incident that sparked on much debate and the true question on if CP should be allowed in schools was in November 1853. A boy by the name of Randolph Steward was severed for making some insults on the football field. He was given the most severe punishment that a student could receive other than a cut on the bottom. Platt, who was a monitor at Harrow Public School used a cane on him, which was more than an inch in diameter and was thicker and heavier than the cane normally used on boys. He gave thirty-one cuts, across Stewart's shoulder blades. The boy did not let off any sounds or movement from the pain, but he was brought to the school doctor in a near-fainting condition. This situation brought on one of the most controversial cases in history, called the Platt-Stewart Incident of 1853. The Platt-Steward affair was the first scandal of an abuse of boys' self-government in a public school to explode on a national scale.

According to the book Public Schools and Private Education: The Clarendon Commission in 1863 an attempt was made to introduce a Bill into the Commons to protect children from excessive corporal punishment it was soon withdrawn by Sir George Grey the House Secretary. He believed that this bill was unnecessary and ridiculous.

I wanted to link the differences between Corporal Punishment in British Public Schools compared to American Public Schools. Although, I am referring mostly to Paddling America's Public Schools as the topic of this debate I am also the type of person to link the past to the present day, since History is my passion. Also, I present all of this information, as there are plenty of people in the world who believe that paddling is abuse (which is a flat board made out of wood). Yet there are many people who would call Flogging (Caning/Birching) as forms of abuse instead of paddling or in addition to paddling. I believe that there is a difference between a Caning and a Paddling. I do not approve of a cane being used on a child's buttocks in school and especially not on another part of their body. I deem that to be extremely inappropriate. The only forms that I approve of school children being spanked with is with paddling or being spanked with the bare hand. To me there is a huge difference. I believe that paddling is not the issue in our nation's public schools, but rather the person and the amount or force being used on the student's buttocks. And lastly, my goal is for people to consider that there is a difference between a caning and a paddling, and that only one is abuse. When you leave cuts on a child's buttocks, then that can lead to a problem and can lead to abuse, and that is exactly what a cane can do to a person. But when you leave a simple bruise on a child's buttocks and just paddle them for misbehavior for example, then I do not believe that this is abuse. I believe that the paddle is a tool that can be used, and like anything we can abuse its power. It is all in how we choose to use this implement. I'm sure that some of you may still disagree with paddling being used in public schools, and I RESPECT that. I'm just trying to make connections and trying to help people see a different side.

Thanks for reading my debate!! God Bless y'all!



pictureofdeloreangray forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


HistoryLover555 forfeited this round.


pictureofdeloreangray forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by pictureofdeloreangray 2 years ago
On what is your ultimate decision that it was a convincing argument grounded? Insofar that it was articulated from an emotional view, or an empirical standpoint? I did also provide an inverse anecdote in an attempt to discredit the notion of employing such means as being efficacious. Providing anecdotal evidence as proof of my claims in converse to his own would buttress the notion that corporal punishment is, at the very least, -capable- in negative capacity by the same method of inference. This in effect would dismount her averring that anecdote retains any formal viability to discredit my position, as the results by its very nature are innately volatile; it changes by point of view. In lieu, empiricism would have been necessary to provide a fulcrum to the claims of benefice, after her anecdotal evidence was suggested, in order for the statement to be supported. In this measure, I provided both.

However, I will take the onus of having neglected the debate on account of extenuating personal circumstance. And can't have the comments section become a means of rescuing my argument. I'm just here to explain a bit.

Your evaluation of my argument in particular was incredibly sapient. In earnest, both pro and yourself couldn't have been more discerning in regards to the topic. I know pro was reasonably miffed to have me spurn it after accepting such a liability. But she was very pleasant about the nature of my resignation. I've had to do that more than once, and each time I'm sure it's pretty taxing. Regardless, thank you guys both.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
The fact that Con only put in one response certainly affects the outcome, but I'll try to explain how I saw this. It was Pro's burden to prove that paddling is of some benefit to students. As such, it was Con's burden to prove that paddling either has no net gain or is negative.

Much as the majority of Pro's argument is anecdotal (and I feel it's worth responding to Con's arguments against anecdotes), they still suffice as examples of students benefiting. Whether they benefited from these instances of spanking or not isn't clear in my opinion, but that's simply not argued extensively enough. Con's arguments of alternate causality are, at best, mitigating, as he makes no efforts to utilize them as a separate advocacy.

So what's left is this possibility that it could be harmful. On this, Con has a good source, but few examples, and though he might have explained it down the line, he never describes how it can cause harm. So I'm left with well-articulated examples vs. a statement that some child health representatives are against it. I can't elucidate those arguments from the links without providing ground that Con didn't directly cover.

Given more posts, this might have ended differently, but as I see it, Pro's argument is well-articulated, if a little thin in psychological evaluation (I understand that most of the citations might disagree with you, but providing a play-by-play of why this could be beneficial using a link story isn't outside of the realm of possibility), so it ends up being the most convincing.
Posted by GWL-CPA 2 years ago
Interesting topic.

When I was in grade school, a public school, in 1961, sixth grade, a teacher grabbed me by my left ear and almost pull me out of my seat because I was talking. It hurt like the Hades; and I am now hard of hearing in that ear.

If that prick would have done that to me as an adult, I would have broken his fing jaw and stomped on his head. Who the Hades did he think he was?

A football coach saw me and another kid fighting in the parking lot before getting on the bus home after swim practice in high school. He grabbed us both and slammed us into that bus. He could have broken our backs or shoulders.

Both these jerks should not have used physical force; and, both should have been fired.

If you are a teacher and a student attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself with physical force; otherwise, you do not.

No teachers in any school, private or public, are justified in using physical force against students. Prison guards have the right to use physical force in certain circumstances.

If I could vote on this debate, I would vote for Con. This is the 21st century in America, we can't give teachers the right to use physical force against students, unless they are being attacked.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.