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Instruments of correction

March 14 2010 at 6:05 PM
American Way 

Everywhere there are preferred instruments of correction. Obvious one of course is paddle versus cane or tawse or slipper but some may or may not be familiar with switch. This was the best I could find on a Yahoo site by Steve R. Here are snippets.

There is a plethora of sites both fetish or otherwise that describe the implements. There are others not mentioned as often like the ferule. We might want to limit it to school and not domestic. The slipper was rarely used here and the strap more often in Canada but was used in the punlic schools in the area that I grew up in the fifties but only by the principal for the mosr serious offense and always on the buttocks on August 26, 2007.

A switch makes an ominous 'swoosh' sound, rather like a whip, and can be agitated up and down quickly, so the lashes can rain down on the victim, who is usually a spankee, mostly bare bottom so it can 'bite' the skin. It hurts. While young children usually suffer it over the knee (or rather the lap), it can be more painful if the discipliner makes more elbow-room by ordering the punishee to lie or bend over an object, which can, especially if standing, increase the humiliation by exposing the genitals.

Switches are most efficient (i.e., painful and durable) if made of a strong but flexible type of wood, such as hazel (also use for a very severe birch) or hickory (see hickory stick); as the use of their names for disciplinary implements, without specification, and as verbs for lashing, indicates, birch and willow branches are time-honoured favorites, but branches from most strong trees and large shrubs can be used, often simply nearby from a garden, an orchard or the wild.

Making a switch is simply called cutting, as it only involves cutting it from the stem and removing twigs or directly attached leaves as those would lessen its sting (hence deliberately left on for sauna use). For optimal flexibility it is cut fresh shortly before use, rather than keeping it for re-use over considerable time.

Parents in the United States (where the wider paddle is the most common spanking implement) are reputed to threaten disobedient children with gifts of utilitarian coal and switches for Christmas should they not reform their behavior, although the actual practice of this is rare to the vanishing point, especially as most people live in urban areas where less suitable wood is easily at hand for the old-fashioned woodshed treatment and most modern educators consider such severe physical discipline cruel and it is often banned by law as child abuse.

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American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 11 2010, 8:34 PM 

I find it fascinating that a paddle was being used in a schoolroom in 1950 in Oregon. Paddles were never used in the public schools in my area far from slavery and the south.

The law enforcement being involved in a case on 1950 (my birth year) must have been rare as the aim of the teacher. happy.gif

15 year old girl paddled on her face

George Ryley Scott (peculiar expert on human torture and other best left unmentioned titles) link on paddle with holes thankfully an obsolete instrument of school correction with few defenders.

Paddle With Holes

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 23 2010, 6:23 PM 

Part of the African American culture is the whopping. Kelia Foster featured on Dr Phil was an advocate of CP referenced in Corpun. This is an excerpt from her 2006 blog that mentions the switch that played in the episode Basic Genealogy.

Growing up, if I misbehaved, talked backed or didnt mind my parents, there was one warning and then the next thing coming was a butt whopping. This whopping could have been done by either my mom or dad with the first thing they could put their hands one: a belt, an extension cord, a stick from a tree, a shoe or a stapler. Never looking forward to this, I tried to abide by all the rules my parents set forth in THEIR household. If I went to grandma, aunt or uncle it was ok for them to give me a whopping as well. They did not even have to call my parents because permission was already given.

When I came down to Mississippi and heard the word corporal punishment, I had NO clue as to what that was. After it was explained to me and I called my dad (who is from Mississippi) to see if he believed in it, his answer being, Yes, it was a part of my growing up in the public schools in Mississippi and it is still a very important part of the educational culture in Mississippi. With that being said from my Dad, and knowing that the kids I would be teaching would be mostly black and that they would probably be receptive to corporal punishment because they grew up with it in their household, I had no problem accepting corporal punishment. After contacting my teacher corps mentor and finding out the history behind it and the fact that many people in the communities still believe in it, I again had no problem accepting it. I am an outsider (non- Mississippian) coming into a community I am not from, so who am I to say that their method of discipline does not work. When I started the school year, I can remember being in the office and seeing the door close and hearing the student getting paddled. I was never privileged to witness one, I dont know why; its as if the administration didnt want me (an outsider) to be a witness to it. After getting to know the administration a little better I think I finally convinced them that I was worthy of being a witness. So during my 7th period planning the vice-principal started making me a hold the kids hands down on the desk while he paddled them. I can only say that I will make myself available this upcoming school year for the same thing.


Bob T

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 1:37 AM 

AW; Where did you get those last two paragraphs in your last post? Are those from Keila? I read the article you linked to but it was not included. My interest is because she said she was asked to hold a childs hands down.

I checked out her blog but the last entry was 3 years ago. That was before her appearance on Dr. Phil.

I would like to have a word with her.

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 4:37 AM

Bob T: This is from the link on Keila Foster you were looking for.

Tiffany is not anti-CP zealot and her account to the Human Rights Watch is credible.

Widespread paddling can make it unlikely that forms will be checked. A teacher interviewed by Human Rights Watch, Tiffany Bartlett, said that when she taught in the Mississippi Delta, the policy was to lock the classroom doors when the bell rang, leaving stragglers to be paddled by an administrator patrolling the hallways. Bartlett now is a school teacher in Austin, Texas.

The bottom line is that there are abuses of corporal punishment without doubt and they're not as few as many would like to believe. I think Bob T it comes to one's threshold of what one defines as defiance from the Alabama "perpetrators" list. That's worse then calling youngsters monsters.

Are students learning to avoid annoying their teachers? Are teachers paddling students that annoy them? After a paddling a some teachers says the slate is clean yet how often do hear them say that after Saturday detention? Why? I suspect some may think the other forms of punishment are not as effective but some may be over sold on it as it seems in the MS Delta area. Too much smoke not to believe there is not fire. Jessica Benson account linked below.

Here is a teacher that wants to remain anonymous but is nonetheless just as credible from her Mississippi Teacher Corps blog.

During our first teacher work day, I went to lunch with many of the other teachers. As soon as Id picked up my food, the teacher sitting next to me started grilling me on my discipline policy and asked what I planned to use as punishments. As I went through my list (warnings, writing assignments, phone calls, detentions, office referrals, etc.), she kept barking at me, What else? and then proceeded to lecture me on how the kids were monsters who wouldnt do anything I told them to do unless I paddled them very hard. Other teachers chimed in their agreement, and after a meeting in the library, another teacher pulled me aside to give me more or less the same speech. When the principal started talking about corporal punishment, and I asked whether corporal punishment at the school was limited to paddling or included things like push-ups, the entire staff started laughing at me, and people I hadnt even met spent the next few days teasing me and asking if Id made any kids do push-ups.

These fruits of my research have made me more circumspect and nuanced on my views of school corporal punishment. On a lighter note, Bob T, when you said you would donate paddles to spank bullies and you want teachers to feel the paddle, I take it we have some shared bad memories of being tormented in the school and outside the school. sad.gif

I'm not clairvoyant but I don't think teachers will be paddling twenty five years from now. It's not a matter of being on the right or wrong side of history but it is what it is. You're doing your best to hold Renee et al feet to the ground justifying incidences and that's fair turf. Keep in mind that bully teachers and bully students have taken its toll on both of us but we stay a Happy Circle when we can be real and we can kind. Bob T we're not always kind but we are always real.

I hope these posts disabuse those who believe abuses are a thing of the past. It's not to be minimized or rationalized but one cannot simply by invoking community standards. When these young teachers interact Deep Delta MS culture, without prior knowledge of community standards, there will be a rubbing of both cultures and the best of both will prevail. Isn't that the American Way.

Bob T if you wish to write Keila Foster a letter I suggests you write through Dr Phil's program. However wrongheaded she may be she comes from an African American experience and is almost young enough to be your daughter. So remember be real but be kind. wink.gif I'll have Grandma Barnes tell you to go cut a switch for her and give you a whopping. happy.gif

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 5:27 AM 

Adam Ewing taught in Oxford MS where Sean D describes the scheme for corporal punishment in the HRW report in bold face print. I am not one who buys totally into that report but when buttressed by these testimonials them become more convincing. This snippet is from his blog.

Perhaps more shocking to me is the implicit (albeit sometimes begrudging) acceptance corporal punishment enjoys from the leaders, alumni, and second-year members of the Mississippi Teacher Corps. Some second-years see it as an embarrassing joke, many seem to accept it because they must, others pragmatically support it because they think it works, and some of my peers seem to even take a smattering of joy in assigning licks to their students (from what I understand, punishment is most commonly administered by each schools principal or assistant principal). I have asked my teachers and program leaders to engage in a classroom-wide discussion on this topic, and though they have always been welcoming to the idea, such a discussion has yet to happen. Whenever it comes up in class, the teachers eyes seem to roll and the usual answer is, Well have that discussion sometime later. The discussion/debate seems to carry a stigma because it has been both extended and heated in the past; I can imagine idealistic, virgin members of the Corps being pitted against the programs hardened veterans and Mississippi natives.

December 14, 2007 HRW quotes a recent graduate of the town he taught in Oxford MS.

Another similarly vague term for which students are sometimes paddled is "defiance of authority," which, as a recent high school graduate in Mississippi noted, "could be anything; that phrase could mean anything. Teachers threw it around all the time.


Abuse - a thing of the past ?

April 24 2010, 6:07 AM 

Hello American Way

you say:

I hope these posts disabuse those who believe abuses are a thing of the past......

I have just read through this thread of yours, including comments from new teachers.

these New teachers are not welcomed to schools with respect. Little attempt is made to encourage a new Teacher to be part of the Teaching Team. New Teachers do not have an communication channel to their superiors.

Question: Do the Princilples have a witnesses at their paddlengs ?
If a new teacher is a witness, they are unlikely to be creadible witness, in that the new teacher does not have a way of speaking to the Principle, so the Priciple can be abusive to a student, and paddle excessively, without considering alternative options, without the witness ever raising any complaint.

you also say:

I'm not clairvoyant but I don't think teachers will be paddling twenty five years from now.

The Principles described here are not doing themselves any favours.
Their attitude is arrogant.

These Principles do not lead a happy team of teachers, very different to the thread about Anthony Price at Everman:

Teaching is most effective when students are relaxed and happy in their school environment.
Teachers themselves are most effective when they are happy in a well led school.
Arrogant Principles are abusive to Teachers as well as students.
Its the arrogance that needs to "go" not the Paddle.


American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 1:29 PM 

I have read through several accounts from the teacher chatboards where more young teachers than not are uncomfortable witnessing a paddling and not necessarily from the pain but arbitrariness and consistency of its use. Why arbitary? Teachers have their own rules. Why inconsistent? Teachers have their own days. You have to remember it's the teachers not the principals that witness and report the behavior or do not report the behavior.

Arrogance is a result of absolute power and there is no checks and balances in schools that don't give children appeals. The matrices I've constructed, not only have appeals, but forms that give a student a chance to put into words their grievance. Will the process leas to changes in punishments meted out? With mistaken identity a paddling can be avoided, even if only once a year, but for amelioration maybe quite more frequently. Dr Dominum listened to appeals occasionally made changes.

Anthony Price is a good principal; he teaches the teachers how to paddle safely and moderately. Getting a paddling or a detention for relatively minor misbehavior seems to avoid the long term negative impact of suspensions. It's like getting a ticket for speeding before causing an accident. IMHO it is the unchecked authority where petty annoyances are seen as major acts of defiance. Nancy was paddled by a fair principal who had her best interests in mind. I don't think the children from Everman or Booneville are leaving their respective schools scarred by their experiences, whether paddling led to a more an orderly environment for learning is a matter for debate by its citizens and not the courthouses and legislative halls of state capitols but from the students, parents and the teachers in their legislative bodies closer to home and their community standards. With transparency comes accountability and the petty dictators are exposed to be just that. The built in entitlements and bureaucratic traditions have encouraged an arrogance that manifests itself globally within school systems. Students are not autonomous and certainly need more guidelines and rules to maintain an ordered environment for learning but that should never be achieved without the utmost respect for the students.

The journal, practically speaking the blogs, available by searching: "Mississippi Teachers Corps Corporal Punishment" and a little patience show what happens when the innocence and idealism encounters schools as outsiders is helpful indeed. IMHO some of these young teachers expose some petty dictators and tricksters who have their students welfare foremost in mind. The young and inexperience respect the teachers and students and have a lifetime ahead of them with a hope of making changes with the courage to teach in a world so different than their own. It augurs well for them and makes me proud and hopeful for the American Way


Bob T


April 24 2010, 2:33 PM 

Teaching is most effective when students are relaxed and happy in their school environment.
Teachers themselves are most effective when they are happy in a well led school.
Arrogant Principles are abusive to Teachers as well as students.
Its the arrogance that needs to "go" not the Paddle.



I don't know if this is supposed to be a poem or words to live by, or what, but I was always most relaxed in a class of a teacher who didn't believe in scp.

If they don't have a paddle I can live with arrogance.


Bob T

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 2:37 PM 

AW; Thanks for the links, I will get to them when I can. Don't worry about Keila, I just want to ask her some questions.

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 2:58 PM 

Bob T: I understand Toby-John's POV but my experience with the Nuns were the same as yours. I do not disagree with Toby-John from a hypothetical POV when he wrote:

"I was always most relaxed in a class of a teacher who didn't believe in scp."


Bob T

Re: Instruments of correction

April 24 2010, 5:15 PM 

AW; Toby didn't write that. I did.



April 24 2010, 6:45 PM 

I said:

Teaching is most effective when students are relaxed and happy in their school environment.

my exphasis was on Teaching be effective,
ie pupils LEARNING

on the pupils being relaxed !

The sentence may have been better written:

Teaching is most effective when students feel safe and able to learn in a well organised disciplined environment, with a strict but fair, quality teacher who is part of a strict but fair quality team.



Bob T

Re: Instruments of correction

April 25 2010, 11:58 PM 

AW; I just got around to reading all of those new teachers accounts you posted links to ( some of them don't work btw). Maybe you could get Renee or TWP to read those and give their comments.

To be fair I have been to the MS Delta and it is as poor as you can get. It always has been. I used to go to Oxford on a regular basis. It's futher south and I am not sure it even qualifies as part of the delta. They don't seem to be so poor there.

It does seem like things have not changed there as far as scp goes. It sounds the same or worse than when I was in school in S.IL.

This restraining kids to be paddled really rubs the wrong way. I don't think it's legal. Who knows about MS though. I always considered it "unlawful restraint" it's a law that goes hand in hand with Kidnapping. If you get charged with Kidnapping you also get charged with Unlawful Resraint. They both carry stiff prison terms. And if you hit somebody while unlawfully restraining them it's first degree aggravated  battery (of a minor).

Let me tell you, you don't want to end up in prison on those kind of charges. Those other prisoners (male or female) will have a use for your buttocks that you probably wouldn't like any better than scp. They don't like child abusers in prison.

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 3:34 PM 

Many anecdotal accounts have been given about this practice. Laser technology being what it is this a new one.

The thought of selecting your own instrument brings to mind Gillian Jacobs unfortunate selection. Any comments. Would the principal send them back to the drawing board. I would imagine the good two shoes would make the fiercest instruments or maybe thay wouldn't have a clue for never being on the receiving end. prof n mentioned that I wasn't paddled but in my defense I goot the stick, dowel like instuments of varying widths. Very clever of the sisters to buy at local household good store. Bob T of course would like to see the ladies of TWP get a taste of what they serve others, than a scientific domestic experience of our very own Renee. happy.gif

I would imagine it would be up to the one administrator like Nana Barnes to judge whether it will make do.

Custom Made Modern Paddle

In the rural south a more bucolic, nonetheless, painful instrument of correction as Gillian Jacobs was to learn pants down and over Nana Barnes knee the old fashioned way. sad.gifsad.gifsad.gif

Nana give it to me

YOU MONSTER sad.gifsad.gifsad.gif

American Way

Re: Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 4:21 PM 

There was no laser technology in the days of yore. I buy this as authentic. The age of the participants judging by photos with the name of the school Euclid Middle School near Cleveland, but above all from the specific names given of the teachers lends it enough credibilty for my likings. Sure somethings have changed, but changed everywhere, including born again Christian schools? Me thinks not. These are the stories that Corpun can't and probably shouldn't cover but their anecdotal accounts are etched in history, including Bob T memories and mine. The memories shared here are part of benign memories on facebook. One should never characterize those with less benign memories in a negative light. Many members of this Happy Circle seem to think being victims of caning less harmful than non corporal punishment, but don't count Bob T or yours truly among them. CP hits closer to home, no pun intended. It sticks with me more than detention perhaps because of the stigma as well as the sting.


Bob T

Re: Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 5:57 PM 

AW; I got a couple of paddlings that I earned. I don't feel bad about those at all. It's the numerous ones that I didn't deserve that still bother me.


Re: Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 8:33 PM 

Hi American Way

Interesting thoughts American Way. As I said on the TWP thread memories are memories, and none can be seen as more authentic than another, so it would indeed not surprise me if alongside the benign memories you linked on this post, there exist for certain kids, some less than benign recollections .

The problem is kids are not identical . They are each frankly individually wired, so to some the experience of cp is abuse, to others lines, yet others detentions, ISS and so on.On top of that , of course , any excessive punishment, or punishment without intended leaning outcome is abuse per se. There are, as you will know , various social typologies and psychological profiles which could help define these traits, and give us guidance, but as I said education is to a great extent , and certainly in the state sector a mass provision , so however desirable, the solution is too resource intensive.

Any single punishment whether paddling, detention whatever, will have its subsets of students for whom it will not work, be counterproductive and in extremis, be abusive.

In my case I considered a three hour detention much more unpleasant than corporal punishment, and moreover was a punishment , because it was boring and repetitive. amnd i was hyperactive , could have led to further infractions , for refusing to comply. As it happens I was lucky and allowed to write an essay which made matters bearable. But that's me . Jenny subscribed the other day that to her doing 500 lines in a closed office would have made her conduct deteriorate, and maybe the office decor as well! . She would weigh up whether to skip detention or lines to receive a different punishment , in effect committing another offense in so doing. You experienced the 'Nuns' and their impact was clearly very negative ,and I could go on.

That's why I've come round to support a toolkit approach , where teachers are trusted use their knowledge on the ground to select effective strategies for discipline management related to the child. Now that is a very tall order and requires a fundamental adjustment in thinking from a straight forward punitive approach this is nasty sad.gifsad.gif ,and intended primarily to deter repetition, to an approach which prioritizes what we want to see as the end result, hopefully future compliance and 'behavioral adjustment '.The problem in ?Britain is that the toolkit has been left pretty bare ., particularly in some areas of the country where they are rapidly closing designated behavioral units

Of course its not a fix all solution, it requires some co operation and assumes honesty from the student , but if that is present, and with respect between the parties it should be achievable , it provides a firm platform on which to build, and not to break trust on either side.

As Renee said some time ago in response to this the problem in an American context comes from the way in which equality is understood in a quasi legal form. Because as has been said before this forum to treat the unequal equally is no equality at all. Over here , hopefully, we are more flexible. However we have a problem you apparently don't the unions , or certain ones anyway will not so-operate with Saturday detention, or after hours........extra contractual hours.happy.gif


Re: Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 9:59 PM 

Hi prof.n

Jenny subscribed the other day that to her doing 500 lines in a closed office would have made her conduct deteriorate, and maybe the office decor as well!

To say nothing of the fabric of the building! wink.gif

Because as has been said before this forum to treat the unequal equally is no equality at all.

My objection would be to being given some punishment different from what other, equally guilty, offenders received. Much as I detested detention and would far rather have had the slipper, I did detention a few times because that was either the usual punishment for the offence or because a group of us were all given detention (likewise lines). In such cases, I was not being treated more (or less) harshly because of my sex. If we had all been given the choice of detention or the slipper I would probably have chosen the slipper regardless of what the others chose but, as we were all being treated equally, I accepted the punishment given. Equally, I would feel offended if I got let off with the slipper whilst my "partners in crime" got a detention - unless I knew that, given the choice, that's what they would have chosen.

I can accept that treating the unequal equally can be unfair, but presuming inequality were none exists is also unfair.


Instruments of correction

May 3 2010, 10:49 PM 

Hi Jenny

Also the other way round.

Treating the equal unequally is also unfair

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