I am Claire Lancaster and I am one of many concerned parents and taxpayers living in Marion County, Florida where in April 2013 the School Board voted to reinstate corporal punishment after we had successfully banned paddling 3 years earlier.
Our children are our future and we all want what's best for them, so I have been researching corporal punishment. Is it a good thing? Will paddling our children in school make our schools and communities safer as we are being told?
Here's what I found, 5 reasons why I'm asking you to sign this petition:
Escalation: Mild punishments are so ineffective that they tend to escalate as the child grows older. The little smack thus becomes a spanking and then a beating and while we're being told parental permission will be required - Florida's laws do not support this.
Encouraging violence: Any corporal punishment carries the message that violence is an appropriate response to conflict or unwanted behaviour. Aggression breeds aggression. Children subjected to corporal punishment have been shown to be more likely than others to be aggressive to siblings; to bully other children at school; to take part in aggressively anti-social behaviour in adolescence; to be violent to their spouses and their own children and to commit violent crimes. National commissions on violence in America, Australia, Germany, South Africa and the UK have recommended ending all corporal punishment of children as an essential step towards reducing all violence in society.
Psychological damage: Corporal punishment can be emotionally harmful to children. Many justify the risk by saying that it helped them. Lead paint and asbestos had their uses too but we stopped using them because the science showed that the risk was too great. Now we know that to be true of spanking too.
Discriminatory punishment: In the last year that Marion County allowed corporal punishment, more than 9 out of 10 of the children who were paddled were Black, Hispanic, or ESE children with special learning needs. Why?
- Marion County cannot afford the added liability of potential litigation.
Marion County doesn't need to reintroduce paddling, we're already winning against violence in our schools. Programs like the district's new in-school suspension program, Behavioral Specialists who get to the root causes of problems, and Student Assist Teams that train students in social skills are far better alternatives. In the 2005/6 school year suspensions were at 37%. Now significantly less are being suspended, suspensions declined to a promising 5.5% in the first half of 2009/10, after banning paddling.
Please sign our petition, we can do better for our children. Let's teach them not beat them. We need to reinforce the success we are having with discipline in our schools.
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