To the editor:
Kansas Rep. Gail Finney is proposing that teachers be allowed to hit children.
I am a parent. I am a teacher. I vehemently disagree with Ms. Finney. This is not a teaching issue; this is not a local government issue. This is a human rights issue. Every person — no matter their age — deserves to feel safe. How can anyone advocate for an environment of intimidation, shaming and humiliation in a place where children are sent to learn? The word “spanking” is a euphemism which does not accurately convey the intent and impact of the act. It is hitting and it is assault. Those are the words we would use if one adult were smacking another (non-consenting) adult. Let’s call it what it is.
Teaching and parenting are hard. Some kids are far more challenging than others. Often, those who are most “difficult” are also the most sensitive and easily emotionally damaged. An especially challenging child requires especially informed, compassionate, and creative parenting (and teaching). Not hitting.
Hitting is reactionary and reveals a lack of caregiving/classroom management/anger management skills. We need to train teachers and parents, not give them the right to assault children. Violence never solves the underlying problems — it just creates new ones.
Ms. Finney’s proposal has brought to light that there is already a law in Kansas that allows teachers to hit students. The fact that this law exists in the modern world is appalling. We must work together as a civilized community to repeal this law and any laws that permit violence against children.