News junkie that I am, I had the news on last night to get caught up with what was happening in the world when a news report from a school in Florida came on.
The video actually started to play while the news reader gave the standard warning the contents of the video might be disturbing to some. Most people just ignore the warning anyway. It’s only after you watch something like this that you end up wishing you hadn’t. That was the case with me. I suspect that we haven’t heard the last of this, particularly since the creator of the video was the child’s mother.
How does this happen in this day and age?
I know that, when I was in elementary school, there was this mystique about the principal “giving people the strap”. Quite frankly, I don’t know of anyone who ever had been on the receiving end. I do remember a personal incident in Grade 2 where I was held back by the teacher who brought a strap out I guess for just its presence. I know that it scared me. My memory won’t let me dig back and get the exact details and that probably is a good thing. I guess I wasn’t the model citizen that I am today.
I don’t ever recall a lesson on corporal punishment while at the Faculty of Education and I know that there was an escalation of punishment for students at my school ranging from picking up garbage at the front of the school to suspensions of varying lengths. There also was an expulsion option but it was never put to use while I was there. From my memories, the worst thing was a free ride in the police car when actions led to something that resulted in charges. Even then, maybe once or twice.
So, back to Florida, the reported bad behaviour was attributed to scratching a computer screen. The official response at this time is “No Comment” which is appropriate while an investigation follows.
The whole incident got me thinking – what countries would still condone this? Wikipedia offers this article. It looks like Norway led the world for an early abolishment. Yet, it’s disturbing that it’s still allowed in many places. The coloured map of the United States and Europe is pretty scary.
I would hope that any policymaker who views that video will be forced to sit back and truly question whether this is an appropriate punishment in schools, let alone a six-year-old child. This has to change.