A South Carolina teacher has been accused of spanking a child in school. Besides violating school district laws, this case brings a bigger question to light: Does corporal punishment belong in the classroom? And really, does it belong in a child’s life at all?
Chris Petrasek was accused of third degree assault and battery when several seventh grade students came forward and alleged that he spanked them in school. Outraged parents in South Carolina’s York County are wondering how this could have taken place and what the next step will be. The idea of corporal punishment in the school is not an easy one to digest any more, and many states have outlawed it outright.
Spanked for bad grades
Three students have stated that Petrasek spanked them for infractions ranging from missing questions on tests or talking out of turn in the classroom. He has been suspended with pay while the investigation is underway, but unsurprisingly, the local parents are outraged.
Clover School District outlawed corporal punishment in 2007, but Petrasek doled out the spankings behind closed doors and even went so far as to lay students across his lap to administer the blows. The students felt angered and humiliated, but endured it for several months before they became brave enough to come forward.
Corporal punishment in the school
Spankings, canings or strappings were a mainstay in schools around the world, but in recent decades it has fallen out of favor, with 31 states in America outlawing it in public schools. In Europe, corporal punishment has been banned in most countries, and many have also outlawed it as well in the home.
In the U.S., each individual state has the ability to prohibit school spankings, and in some states where it is still allowed, many school districts have adopted prohibitions on their own. Clover School District is an example of this, as South Carolina does not prohibit corporal punishment in the schools. In 1867, New Jersey was the first U.S. state to outlaw corporal punishment in the school. Since then, thirty states have followed suit, with New Mexico the latest to do so in 2011.
Do you feel it belongs in school?
Some parents are saying that “kids these days” need more corporal punishment in their lives because they feel parents today are too liberal, and still others prefer a more gentle approach with their children. Is this what’s wrong with today’s children and teenagers? We polled a few parents to see how they feel about spanking and corporal punishment in schools as well as in the home.
Brooke, mother of one, feels physical punishment, if any, does not belong in the school. “Unacceptable,” she said, when told about the South Carolina teacher. “Only a parent can decide what, if anything, warrants a spanking for their child.” Kelly from California agrees and goes even further. “I am anti-spanking in all forms, including parent to their own child,” she stated.
Tony from Missouri, however, is all for bringing the strap back to schools. “If the kid is screwing up badly then let ’em have it,” he shared. “But I don’t agree with it for bad grades, just bad behavior. Kids nowadays think they can do whatever they want because they can’t be touched by parents or school authorities.”
Get him out of there
Regardless of their personal view on spanking, everyone agrees that the South Carolina teacher went way beyond any rule breaking and should be stopped as soon as possible, as he seemed to be teetering on the edge of really disturbing behavior.
Should teachers ever be allowed to spank students? If so, under what circumstances?
More on spanking
Alternatives to spanking: Positive parenting
Does spanking do any good?
To smack or not to smack: When is it ok to spank?