Age restrictions. In general, statistics show that the most typical recipients of corporal punishment in the USA are boys aged 13 through 17 -- much as in pretty well all other cultures since the dawn of time. But in the great majority of American school districts, there are no age limits: the recipient may be any age from 4 through 19. Twelfth-graders, who might have been driving automobiles for three or four years, or having legal sex for two years, can be and are spanked in some high schools. In certain places, such as (which does not use CP at the elementary level at all), it has been reported that most of the district's paddlings take place in grades 9 through 12. Some anecdotal accounts suggest that these students, especially if male, can expect to be paddled a lot harder, stroke for stroke, than younger recipients: "It does hurt pretty bad," says an Alvarado twelfth-grader in about visiting the office to opt for three "pops" in lieu of suspension.
This "academic" essay, written in tendentious sociological jargon and published in the "Advancing Women in Leadership Journal", attacks CP from a hardline feminist and "children's rights" ideological perspective. There is a lot about "hegemonic masculinity", wherein even Desmond Morris's ancient pseudo-anthropological fantasies about the "bent-over submissive posture" and CP as a "form of ritual copulation" are trotted out once more.
Few readers of either sex will, I suspect, be inclined to take any of this stuff seriously, but the document does include a plausible vignette of a day at a southern elementary school, including eyewitness accounts of paddlings of a girl and a boy.
The paper is mistaken, incidentally, in stating that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child "calls for a worldwide ban on corporal punishment". The Convention does nothing of the sort. The words "corporal punishment" do not appear anywhere in it, and nor does it contain any references to paddling, spanking, or any similar wording. What it does call for is the protection of children from "mental and physical violence". When countries signed up to the Convention (which, in any case, the USA has not done), they cannot reasonably have supposed that it prohibited ordinary, moderate spanking or paddling which causes no injury.
Another error is the assertion that "every industrialized nation in the world, except the U.S., has abolished corporal punishment in schools". Singapore is certainly an industrialized country, to name but one where school CP is entirely legal and in widespread use.
Argumentative Essay Against Corporal Punishment ..
I am sympathetic to the claim that far too many teachers fail to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect between their pupils and themselves. They lack the ability or the inclination verbally to communicate expectations to children -- first gently and then more strenuously. They do not first employ milder forms of punishment but rather resort to the cane in the first instance. Some might not believe in rewarding good behavior, only in punishing bad. However, from the claim that corporal punishment often indicates teacher failure, we cannot infer that it necessarily demonstrates such failure or even that as a matter of fact it always does. It is true that when the teacher resorts to corporal punishment this indicates that his prior efforts to discourage the wrongdoing failed. However, there is a big difference between this, a failure in the pupil, and a failure in the teacher. In either case it is true, in some sense, that the teacher failed to discourage the child from doing wrong -- failed to prevent failure in the child. However, it is not a failure for which the teacher necessarily is responsible. I am well aware that the responsibility for children's wrongdoing is all too often placed exclusively at the door of children themselves, without due attention to the influences to which they are subjected. However, there is a danger that in rejecting this incorrect evaluation, teachers (and parents) will be blamed for all shortcomings in children.