Does school paddling go overboard?
Kentucky is fixing to do away with paddling and spanking in schools thanks to House Bill 22. Opinions are strong on this measure. Lots of folks are sharing memes saying that what’s wrong with kids today is they have too much iPhone and not enough whoopin’.
A lot of folks are quick to put in that they got their behinds regularly lit on fire by their parents and they’re doing just fine. I, too, had a few rubber-soled sandals applied to my backside and I think approximately three switchings to my legs. The switchings were especially humiliating since the switch bush sprang from a bouquet of forsythia I picked for my mommy that she rooted. It quickly grew into a magnificent bush, ideal for switches. It stung, but I gotta admit you don’t see me running out in front of garbage trucks these days. And while I’m willing to leave whether or not physical punishment works for your family up to your family, I do have some qualms about other people putting their hands on your kids. I saw teachers use paddling to express their anger and frustration and to sometimes paddle kids for things they had no control over, such as an alcoholic parent who refused to sign permission slips or failed tests.
I never got a paddling in school and I don’t have kids. So I turned to someone who I remember getting more than a few paddlings at Garfield Elementary and McKinley Middle School back in the day, Portsmouth Mayor Kevin E. Johnson.
Like me, Mayor Johnson got the belt at home sometimes. “Those were different times,” he said. “Mother definitely believed in it.” As for his paddlings at school, he thinks he might have set some kind of record. We’ll have to run that through the Guinness Committee to see if Portsmouth has another World Record. Johnson, who has a whole mess of kids, four still in school, says, “I don’t want someone else paddling my kids.” For the record, he says he doesn’t feel that his paddlings were undeserved.” I can’t think of any time where a teacher went, no put intended, overboard. Even though I received it and the ones I got I deserved, I think we can take other measures. There does exist a chance for it to get out of hand.”
Mayor Johnson says that there’s only one time he thought a paddling was undeserved. That paddling came from our mutual 6th-grade science teacher Jerry Skiver, who later ran against Kevin for City Council and lost. Take that paddler! (Just kidding. We both count Mr. Skiver among our favorite teachers of all time.)
For himself, Johnson says he’s never used corporal punishment with his kids because he thinks there are better forms of discipline. For myself, I have the grand-bush of the original switch bush growing in my yard and I live to regale kids with tales of switches and life before phones.