Where’s The Paddle Mr. Principal?
When I was a student at Kirby Junior High School, Mr. Otis C. Polk, Sr. was our principal. Or, as he told it, he was our princi-pal. It was Mr. Polk’s way of ‘killing two birds with one stone”. One, he was teaching us the correct spelling and usage of the word principal (as opposed to principle, of course) and two, he was letting us know that he was someone we could and should come to with anything that was on our minds. He was a cool guy. Our day opened with a prayer. Yes, Mr. Polk prayed, over the P-A system, school wide. They’d fire the man for that today. Then we’d have announcements and an inspirational pep-talk from our princi-pal. I doubt we students fully appreciated what we had in that man. Of course, as adults, you always see those kinds of folks in a different light.
One thing we had more of then that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s public schools is discipline. It’s not just a function of the schools. I’ve seen parents who probably can’t potty train a dog much less raise a kid. We’ve become a soft, pansy society. Don’t spank the kids! Give them a time out. Uh huh. That always works (note my obvious sarcasm). They’ve basically given up the paddle in the junior highs and high schools and resorted to things like writing tickets. Yes, tickets. This is quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen the public school system engage in. Call me a hard-ass if you like. I don’t care. There are clearly times when a kid, whether they are 7 or 15, needs a good old fashioned whoopin’! I got the paddle more than once in school. I did not grow up to hate my teacher. I did not grow up to be an abuser of any sort. I did not grow up to become a criminal. Some would argue I’m not exactly a choir-boy. They’re right. But I deserved every single swat I got and probably a few more. And when I got home, mom or grandma had another whoopin’ waiting for me. I got the message and my behavior adjusted accordingly.
The sheer lack of desire to dispense discipline has led to putting cops in schools. We’re told that all students ‘deserve’ an education. I disagree. They deserve the opportunity to learn. If a student becomes a real threat to other students or the staff, kick ’em out! In the street with ’em I say. You don’t want to learn? Fine. You’re on your own. Don’t ask for welfare. You don’t get any. Starve. Yep, I’m a cruel, mean spirited old fart, ain’t I? No, actually, I’m employing some good, old fashioned common sense.
Paddling was not Mr. Polk’s first choice in dealing with an unruly kid, but it was a tool in the arsenal, so to speak. And it was used. But now, we’ve gone to the extreme of putting cops in schools and writing tickets? Is it working? Based on some of the attitudes and behaviors I see, no it isn’t working.
This recent Washington Post article takes a look at this practice in Texas schools.