DoPeace

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As peace activists, we all know we have a tough road ahead of us. No one ever said working to change from a culture of violence to one of peace was going to be easy. Recall the "marathon, not a sprint" analogy.

But something disturbed me this evening in an informal CNN.com poll asking, "Should schools use paddling as punishment for students?" As I registered the obvious "No" vote (duh!), I waited for the fraction of a second that it takes to register my vote and display the results. I was expecting to see something like 95% "No" to 5% "Yes" - what else would be an acceptable result?

When the results popped up to show 53% "No" and 47% "Yes", I took no joy in the fact the "nays" have it. I guess if I were at a school board meeting and the motion was defeated by 53-to-47, I would have something to be pleased about. But with this poll (160,000+ responses at the time of this writing), I couldn't help but focus on the almost-50% of CNN.com readers (usually a liberal bunch) that support the idea of letting someone who is not the parent discipline the child with a paddle. A freakin' paddle, for crying out loud! What kind of "society" do we live in? Oh, yeah. I remember now. It's a culture of violence.

The poll was tied to a report on CNN.com about an effort to reinstate paddling in Texas schools. The proponent thinks paddling is a good idea in part because the "threat of licks" will be enough to keep disruptive kids in line. As if that's anything different than the violence itself! (I'm holding back commenting on how it was this same "logic" that the previous administration used against Iraq - didn't work, did it?)

So tonight, rather than using this grim information to renew my spirit toward the righteous cause of peace, I find myself contemplating the value of cryogenic suspension as an option. Or set the Mr. Fusion flux capacitor to the year 2110 and see if we've learned a different way by then. I'm just too sick of it right now.

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Within the structure of the classroom a teacher that means what they say can enhance many more lives than one that no one respects. Sometimes a paddling is all the other class clowns need to see to stay within the margins benefiting not only themselves but the whole class.

 

The same is true in the World. I would respectfully like to differ with you on Iraq. If you choose, I would like to hear more on how you feel about it.

LIke the classroom, the leader of Iraq, Saddam was warned by the International community not to invade Kuwait. Sometimes people won't go the peaceful route and his army caused great crimes in Kuwait before the World collectively kicked him out. After hostilities ended, Saddam failed to live up to his cease fire commitments. In my opinion the reason the "Threat of licks" didn't work is that a whole section of the World degraded the message. They became "human shields" sending Saddam and other bully leaders a mixed message. Voices cried out on how the Bush administration was criminal.

 

What message did that send? So now we are back to square one with all the sacrifices made by our soldiers, civilians, and their foes suffering for nothing. It is like another teacher walked past the classroom and publicly tongue lashed the teacher with the paddle. Wouldn't the kids be confused? What would keep other kids from being negative and ruining the school environment?

 

How do you see it?

I see you wrote this a year ago, but I hope you didn't despair for too long.  That poll is discouraging, but at least the numbers are better nationwide:  "In a 2005 poll, only 23 percent of adult respondents believed that teachers should be permitted to spank children in school; in other words, 77 percent of  Americans disapprove of school physical punishment."  It's quoted from this report:  http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/PDFs/principles_and_practices-of_ef...

 

Jennifer

Thanks for the additional link, Jennifer! A lot of good information.

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