Corporal Punishment Speech

6 June 2016

The Degree of Pain
Hi, my name is Isabel and I am here to talk to you about a sickening problem in America. I refuse to pretend like this isn’t happening in our nation for any longer. Who here has ever been in trouble at school? Maybe you just got yelled at or had to serve a detention? If you lived in Texas, Tennessee or any of the other 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools, you would be hit with a wooden paddle as a punishment in front of all of your peers.

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This happens to students of every age from primary school up until high school. It is vital that corporal punishment in schools is outlawed because it is inhumane, ineffective, teaches children violence, and teachers should not have the responsibility to hurt children.

Corporal punishment is defined as “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort” (Time Magazine). This type of punishment is legal in public schools in twenty U.S. states. Students are hit with anything from a paddle, which was originally invented to punish slaves, to a belt, a ruler, and other things. Some are even slapped, pinched, dragged across the floors, or grabbed on the arm or neck with enough force to leave a bruise. It makes me sick that people think that this behavior is okay. Students can be punished for cursing, failing to complete work, getting a bad grade, etc. It is used in primary, middle, and high schools. Children with disabilities are not exempt from this type of punishment.

According to Time magazine, in Tennessee, disabled students are paddled more than twice the rate of the general student population. Anna M, the mother of an autistic child speaks out against corporal punishment. Her son of seven years old was physically punished repeatedly because his teacher believed that he was purposely making mistakes. Are we going to stand by and let this happen? Corporal punishment is still condoned because many schools do not have the resources to provide training for alternate teaching methods.

Furthermore, schools claim that it is necessary because corporal punishment is performed right away and “cost effective”, meaning that all you need is a paddle. No busing is necessary for after school detentions or resources for alternate punishments. In my opinion, these school’s arguments are weak. Detentions can be given out during school (in school suspension) or during student lunches, instead of corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment is morally wrong and must be put to an end. The entire point of corporal punishment is to teach children and teens a lesson. They are supposed to be taught to learn from their mistakes never do what they did again. Studies show that the average child does not recognize right from wrong on their own until age 16. This means that all corporal punishment done in primary and elementary schools does not have any benefit to the child and is not teaching them. We are allowing our children to get physically abused at young ages with no educational benefit, or even a valid reason.

Additionally, physical punishment is not allowed in juvenile centers, and yet it is allowed in schools? That to me, is extremely alarming. Time Magazine stated that “a 1997 Supreme Court ruling found that the Eighth Amendment only protects convicted criminals from cruel and unusual punishment, not students confined to a classroom.” If we protect criminals, shouldn’t we protect America’s children from all harms way?

Corporal Punishment teaches children that physical punishment is acceptable. By using it in school, a learning environment, children will be more prone to hurting others when they are older. A study by Elizabeth Gershoff showed that corporal punishment is associated with 2/3 of abusive parents in the U.S. She also found that it results in increased aggression by 50%. is This includes their families and children, and also possibly any workers that they may have in a job with a powerful position. Lastly, Teachers should not have the responsibility to punish students in this way. Many people do believe that it is inhumane and teachers should not be obligated to hurt children even if it is their job. Even though parents may believe in corporal punishment, it is unfair for teachers to have to possibly go against their morals.

All in all, corporal punishment is inhumane and morally wrong. Not only does it have long term effects on students but is useless until age sixteen. Nobody should be forced to use this method of punishment nor suffer from it.

Children are being hurt in our nation and it is our responsibility to stop it. I refuse to ignored and American need to become educated on issues in our home. I believe that by educating more Americans about this issue, action will be taken. Thank you for listening and I hope that my words have impacted you.

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