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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Legal assault?

February 21, 2014

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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.

Comments

Richard Heckler 10 months ago

Hear Hear !!! Excellent commentary.

Some legislators have too much free time.

Leslie Swearingen 10 months ago

Thank you Tamara, wonderful letter, I would hope that each and every one of our legislators would read this because they could learn from it.

Your students are lucky to have you. I hope that the parents of your students know this also.

Bart Johnson 10 months ago

In pre-war Germany and Japan, child abuse was rampant. 90% of German fathers proudly admitted to beating their children with canes, belts or other objects. German school head masters proudly advertised how often they had beaten children. In Japan, infanticide was seen as a normal form of birth control. Child sexual abuse was quite common as well.

When an entire society of abused children grows up, you get really terrible results.

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