First Guns, Now Corporal Punishment in GA Schools

“Schools are designed to educate, empower and enlighten children; not punish them!” 

News broke last week regarding a Georgia charter that sent home a survey to parents about reinstating corporal punishment. Georgia School for Innovation and Classics has about 100 surveys returned from parents regarding their desire to implement paddling into the school program to reinforce strong discipline.

This charter school doesn’t represent the ideas of all charters or all public schools.

I should know, I lead school culture and discipline for a charter school, and I strongly disagree with corporal punishment in schools.

There is a clear distinction and separation between schools and prisons, but we’re dancing a fine line with school leaders supporting corporal punishment and teachers being armed in schools.

I believe this is a recipe for disaster that will cause more heartache and grief for families, communities and schools as opposed to positive educational solutions. There are many public charter and public traditional schools that are focused on creating strong, safe and interactive school cultures that would never include corporal punishment or arming teachers.

The abuse of children in and outside of school is already an issue that we’re facing. My thought would be that we would see an increase in poor relationships among scholars and teachers, less interest in schools from children, a greater fear of retaliation and higher drop-out rates if schools were to implement corporal punishment again and to arm teachers.

These are not beneficial tactics to create safe or welcoming environments for children to learn. However, there are ways to improve school safety and culture without tactics that don’t require physical force or guns.

“You must meet physical force with soul force. You have no alternative but to continue the struggle for integrated schools, but do it with a thorough commitment to Christian principles.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Corporal punishment is not the answer. Nor is arming teachers in schools. Simply because violence begets violence.

We are constantly hearing news of school shootings or other violence. This unfortunately has become an accepted reality for students. These events cause people to call for corporal punishment and arming teachers in schools.

Regardless of the increase in school violence over the years, we must remember that schools are no place for hate. We do not want to create school cultures in which children are fearful. Fearful they might be shot. Fearful they might even be shot by their teacher. Our society and the media have already placed a fear in children towards police officers. We cannot allow this same fear to be instilled in children for teachers. If so, we truly will lose hope in a better tomorrow created by our children.

Our top priority in keeping schools safe and helping children make better choices to improve their discipline doesn’t require us to arm teachers with guns or paddles. Let’s work collectively together to build strong school cultures and welcoming environments in schools.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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