Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives

By Irwin A. Hyman; James H. Wise | Go to book overview

15
Corporal Punishment and School Suspensions: A Case Study

Justine Wise Polier, Luis Alvarez, Vincent L. Broderick, Phyllis Harrison-Ross, Robert C. Weaver With an Introduction by Kenneth B. Clark


Introduction

On re-reading Youth in the Ghetto, the report of the Harlem Youth Opportunities research project, and Dark Ghetto, I was forced to remember that a number of the teachers -- white and black, who were interviewed for these studies in the early 1960s -- made the following comments:

The children are not taught anything. They are just slapped around and nobody bothers to do anything about it.

I soon learned that the boys liked to be beaten. When I learned to say things to them that, to me, would be absolutely insulting and to hit them when they needed it, I got along all right and they began to like me.

Here, both the Negro and white teachers feel completely free to beat up the children, and the principal knows it. They know he knows it and that nothing will be done about it.

On May 20, 1974, when Leonard Buder of the New York Times broke the story that children in Jordan L. Mott Junior High School 22 in the Bronx were being subjected to corporal punishment, these quotes came back most disturbingly. Like many of my friends and associates I pretended to be shocked and amazed that corporal punishment was taking

This essay is part of MARC Monograph #2, The Report of the Citizens' Commission to Investigate Corporal Punishment in Junior High School 22.

-237-

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