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

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

22
A Practical Defense of Corporal Punishment in the Schools

Lansing K. Reinholz

I'm speaking as a school administrator and as a parent. I have three children, ages sixteen, fourteen, and twelve. The oldest is a boy and the younger two are girls. I've been a school administrator for eleven years; prior to that I was a teacher for three years. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm not a psychologist, I'm not a counselor, I'm not a lawyer. I'm not anything except a "practitioner" that faces 6,000 children a day, 12,000 parents, a school board of 13 from a community of 40,000 that employs 400 professional teachers. Burlington is a Democratic city in a state that is viewed as a conservative state. But, in fact, Vermont is probably the second or third most liberal state in the country in terms of its political attitudes. Therefore, my point of view and point of reference are that there is a practical defense of corporal punishment.

An attorney by the name of Kelly Frels ( 1975) from Houston wrote:

The authority of a teacher to use corporal punishment as a disciplinary technique is an element of the common law doctrine of "in loco parentis." Under the doctrine, a teacher stands in the place of the parent and has the right to use reasonable physical punishment to secure acceptable behavior. Standing alone as an abstract concept and unsupported by the requirements of securing and maintaining an educationable environment "in loco parentis" loses some of its Blackstonian vitality. The doctrine's loss of relevancy is particularly evident when a parent in whose place the teacher stands does not want the child physically punished. The concept of "in loco

This essay is based on a speech presented at the National Invitational Conference on Child Abuse, Feb. 18, 1977, sponsored by Children's Hospital National Medical Center. It was then published in Proceedings: Conference on Corporal Punishment in the Schools: A National Debate, by the National Institute of Education, 1977 (NIEP-77-0079).

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