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Alumni Defend Paddling at Catholic School

posted by editor

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) One by one, alumni of St. Augustine High School took the microphone on Thursday (Feb. 24), recalling one paddling at the hands of a St. Augustine teacher that turned them around and taught them a lesson.
The 60-year-old tradition of corporal punishment at St. Augustine — believed to be one of the few remaining Catholic schools in the country that still paddles — faces a potential end.
Alumni aimed their impassioned defense of corporal punishment at New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, whose concern about the policy prompted the Josephite order that founded the school to suspend paddling for the current school year.
The priests overruled objections from the local board of directors that runs daily operations at St. Augustine, a historically black, all-boys school that has furnished generations of New Orleans political and business leaders.
Aymond told reporters he had listened carefully to the crowd, but reiterated his concern about injuries reported by parents, and his own unease. Yet plenty of people argue that the paddle had an undeniable role in lending St. Augustine its high reputation.
“It worked on us,” said 1961 graduate Lambert Boissiere Jr., a former state senator and city councilman. “After one or two times with the paddle, you wouldn’t cut up anymore. Some of those priests could swing.”
At last count, 56 out of 70 school districts in Louisiana still allow corporal punishment, according to the state Department of Education.
Nationally, just 12 percent of U.S. schools allowed corporal punishment, and only 9 percent actually used it during the 2007-08 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
- Andrew Vanacore, Religion News Service
(Andrew Vanacore writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.)



  • Your Name

    O COME ON!!!!!!
    bet they never tried anything other then whipping a child. there are many ways to discipline and all this teaches is if I am bigger then you and hit you you will behave out of fear.
    LAZY TEACHING-besides all the other problems
    hugs
    Laura

  • cknuck

    It worked with me I’ve got no problem with proper corporal punishment at all.

  • Henrietta22

    It should be stopped. You can dicipline in other ways just as effectively. I watched an injury happen in the 6th grade in a Long Island School, and blood spurted all over! It was the last time that old lady used her ruler. She was the only teacher in that school who still did this.

  • kenneth

    Here’s how they could make all sides happy: suspend the paddling for the kids and offer it on a drop-in or appointment basis for alumni who may be craving a little “correction” from a priest with a firm hand! :)

  • kenneth

    Here’s how they could make all sides happy: suspend the paddling for the kids and offer it on a drop-in or appointment basis for alumni who may be craving a little “correction” from a priest with a firm hand! :)

  • pagansister

    Child abuse in another form—I had to witness a paddling done in a public elementary school in Orlando, FL. when I taught there—the 1980′s and I hated it. The kid was a pain in the “butt” but the paddling didn’t solve anything. His behavior was not changed by an adult hitting him on the bum with a paddle. Adults are supposed to be able to come up with better punishment than hitting a child.
    cknuck—you said it worked for you? Then why did you end up with the problems you have told us about?

  • cknuck

    pagan my problems could have been worst. There is a line between discipline and brutality that some folk may not be able to navigate, so yes I agree that it might be better for a broad brush elimination of corporal punishment could be a benefit but loving parents paddling their kid has a strong value.

  • Salcia

    We try to teach children that it’s unacceptable for them to hit their classmates. How can that come across as anything but rank hypocrisy if we continue to allow adults to hit the children? I’ve observed that many corporal-punishment advocates ignore the unintended messages the practice can send to a child:
    1) It’s okay to hit and hurt people if you’re bigger and stronger and more powerful than they are, or if they make you angry. In other words, there are circumstances where hitting another person is okay. Never mind “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
    2) It’s right for somebody to hit me if I do something wrong or bad. I get hit because I deserve it. Battered wife syndrome, anyone?

  • jestrfyl

    Abused spouces will defend their abusers, too. That does not excuse the abuse or acquit the abuser. Any form of physical punishmnet simply shows the “authority” has lost their sense of power and has only this left. It then means the person being punished has more power. Surviving one paddling means another can be survived too. Not only is control lost, so is any hope for a meaningful and beneficial relationship.
    Torture in even the most benign form is the poorest educational tool.

  • cknuck

    while it is and should be the last resort, there is a place for corporal punishment according to the urgency. If you wish to raise your kids in a environment where corporal punishment is not an option then fine for you but you simply cannot raise everyone’s kids or past judgement. I’ve seen kids that were raised without corporal punishment that were monsters, and on the other side the same with corporal punishment. If there is a reason for intervention then fine but some of you don’t have kids and some with kids that are the biggest disappointments that have a lot to say about punishment. In your perfect world there would be no prayer, no punishment, and sexual experimenting, some of us disagree and you need to respect that. I respect people who don’t use punishment and I respect those who have. My wife’s dad used corporal punishment with wisdom he never spanked her but he did once on her brother and he was the most respected man I know. He raised his kids well and they raised their kids well all are well balanced and productive members of society. Get off of your high horse.

  • pagansister

    Gee, somehow my sisters and I have raised our children without smacking them when they misbehaved—-one sister has 3 boys and the other 2 girls and I had a boy and a girl—all are now fine non-violent adults—and no, they weren’t angles—-no child is—they’re kids. Often wonder if those children that were hit as punishment grew up to think that is how problems are solved (except they graduated to guns, knives etc. and are now in prison? I know in some cultures hitting a kid is considered correct punishment. Also, in this article it was the Catholic school—no person should ever be allowed to hit someone else’s kid—teacher, principal or otherwise. Actually, no adult should use hitting–spanking—to correct behavior, either their own kid or someone elses. Of course the alumni thought getting paddled made them who they are today? BS. I would think that being paddled by an adult would only make a child angry, and also help teach them that that method is how you correct a situation. You attempt to teach children not to hit other children—but it is OK if you’re an adult? I have a hard time respecting those adults who do so—-no matter how “wonderfully” their children turned out.

  • cknuck

    just can’t seem to get off that high horse huh pagan; ” Often wonder if those children that were hit as punishment grew up to think that is how problems are solved (except they graduated to guns, knives etc. and are now in prison?
    Well many of us are your neighbors, I made it pretty good and I’ve got a whole lot of friends who have also and they all are just as good as you. I’m glad you and your sisters did such a perfect job at raising so many perfect kids, (lol reality check).

  • Charles Cosimano

    I wonder how many pro dominatrixes owe their living to these folks. After all, most of them don’t so much remember the paddling as the embarrassment of having to explain the stain on the front of their underwear when their mothers did the laundry.

  • cknuck

    pretty sick stuff Charles, a non-corporal punishment thought I assume.

  • Your Name

    Corporal punishment has a negative effect on students,is discriminatorily applied, teaches children that violence is an effective way to resolve problems, and there is no evidence that it helps decrease disciplinary problems in schools.
    Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), a co-sponsor of a federal bill “Ending Corporal Punishment in U.S Schools Act”, said at the press conference that corporal punishment is a civil rights issue.
    “The fact that schools are applying school discipline policies in a discriminatory manner based on race, color, national origin, disability or gender constitutes a civil rights violation and is wrong,” said Scott.
    Data from the federal Department of Education and several scholarly longitudinal studies have also demonstrated that black elementary and secondary students endure physical punishment along with school suspensions and expulsions at dramatically disproportionate rates. During the 2006-07 school year, for instance, black students made up 17 percent of the nationwide student population but nearly 36 percent of those paddled in schools.
    The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights must wake up to the fact that Schoolchildren are the only group of people legally subjected to corporal/physical pain as punishment. Any person hitting another person or animal with a wooden board in public would be arrested for assault. Recent shocking incidents include a 12-year old girl bleeding and bruised after being paddled by a male school administrator in Ark., Two 17-year old girls paddled by a male TX school administrator, an IN elementary school principal on video aired on CNN assaulting an 8-year old boy on a school bus, a video of a MS coach whipping a high school basketball player aired on CNN 11/11/2010 and a 12-year old AL boy beaten for failing a science test! Parents are unable to bring charges as teachers/school employees are protected by “Teacher Immunity Laws” from criminal/c­ivil action. The Medical Community is Opposed to school paddling based on research that it is harmful. Unfortunately, American schoolchildren’s human/constitutional/civil rights continue to be politicized by our supposed elected “representatives” who remain indifferent to the numerous costly societal ills that we all must bear from harm caused by this barbaric practice in our tax-payer funded schools. Even our nation’s Federal Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court uphold beatings of schoolchildren and decline to hear school corporal punishment appeals as the laws allow it with no limits, no protocol, no accountability. Parents have no legal redress when their children are injured! In 21st Century American classrooms, corporal punishment is illegal in schools in 30 states, that’s the majority of our nation, making corporal punishment qualify as “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”.
    Get the facts, search and read “A Violent Education”. Texas schools report paddling/pain as punishment of approx. 50,000 students each year. Please view and SIGN and SHARE the PETITION at http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-corporal-punishment-in-texas-schools
    Also, please Demand U.S. Congress enact legislation to “End Corporal/Physical Pain as Punishment of Children in U.S. Schools”.

  • pagansister

    cknuck: Nice view on the top of the horse, cknuck. Why get off? I too am glad my children and nieces and nephews grew up as they did—by no means perfect as NO ONE is perfect. Am also really happy you turned out OK—and your friends too. Main point? No hitting for any reason. And I still wonder what kind of childhood some of the men and women who ended up in prison for violent acts had corporal punishment? Not a complicated question at all.

  • Keith

    As a former St. Augustine student, I found that paddling with the “board” (as it is popularly known) increases hazing in the classroom environment and violence outside of the classroom environment. Teaching young African-American men that they must hit someone or strike something to emphasize their point of view reduces their ability to socially integrate into the world of higher education, business, and family life. Teachers who regularly use “the board” to discipline St. Augustine students are often two-three times the student’s size and inflict serious bodily and emotional harm. The only lessons learned from paddling with “the board” are to “take it like a man”, solve your issues with a slap, and “don’t get caught the next time you break a rule”. If these are the lessons that we want young African-American men to learn, then my child will NOT be attending any institution like this, especially in the south where it is ironic that we have such a negative history of being beaten and whipped by former slave owners. Many of the graduates that I have run into over the years have suffered from alcoholism, spousal abuse, and have violence. Is this a skill we really want young impressionable African-American men to learn? I think not.

  • Keith

    As a former St. Augustine student, I found that paddling with the “board” (as it is popularly known) increases hazing in the classroom environment and violence outside of the classroom environment. Teaching young African-American men that they must hit someone or strike something to emphasize their point of view reduces their ability to socially integrate into the world of higher education, business, and family life. Teachers who regularly use “the board” to discipline St. Augustine students are often two-three times the student’s size and inflict serious bodily and emotional harm. The only lessons learned from paddling with “the board” are to “take it like a man”, solve your issues with a slap, and “don’t get caught the next time you break a rule”. If these are the lessons that we want young African-American men to learn, then my child will NOT be attending any institution like this, especially in the south where it is ironic that we have such a negative history of being beaten and whipped by former slave owners. Many of the graduates that I have run into over the years have suffered from alcoholism, spousal abuse, and have violence. Is this a skill we really want young impressionable African-American men to learn? I think not.
    Also, the fact that trained educators need to resort to hitting as a form of instruction brings into question the quality of the teacher.
    If a child didn’t complete the homework assignment, they got the board.
    If a child talked out of turn, they got the board.
    If a child was “inappropriate” in any way, they got the board.
    It was widely known that some teachers even got their “jollies” from using the board.
    In a world of equality, how would we react if girls were being paddled at St. Mary’s Academy or southern Caucasian men were striking young African-American men for disobedience? This is the 21st century New Orleans, wake up and stop being a joke to rest of the U.S.

  • pagansister

    Thank you, Keith, for proving a very good point—getting corporal punishment doesn’t make a “man” out of anyone!

  • cknuck

    thanks pagan I appreciate you concern and the fact that you wish the best for me. I don’t know the stats but as a person who work with both wounded people and troubled people I’ve seen across the board from Yale to jail people who hurt people come from all backgrounds

  • pagansister

    cknuck, I do know that troubled and wounded people come from all kinds of backgrounds—and maybe some of them from the Yale type communities as well as the projects had corporal punishment as a form of behavior modification. I think we actually agree on something! :o)

  • jestrfyl

    ck
    I grew up near Yale and learned that intellectual does not always mean smart – and surely does not get you to “wise”. The Intellengencia is as prone to violence as the least literate – and no more so either. Physical punishemnt is and will always be the choice of someone who has lost control, power, and the relationship. Beaten people grow up to beat others. Unles sthe cycle is stopped completely it will continue and civilization will have lost one more opportunity to take a step forward. Abuse is abuse – and everyone loses.
    Did you skip the part from Jesus about “turn the other cheek”? It’s in the Gospel according Matthew if you want to check it out.

  • cknuck

    jest you are the last person to give me a bible lesson and you may have taken your survey but I know plenty of people who are well balanced that were spanked in their youth. I also know a few psychopaths who were never spanked but given time outs and other non-corporal punishment methods. Love is the best advantage to raising children, spanked or not spanked.

  • cknuck

    jest I heard a pastor recently talk about folk like you he called them Christian Atheist. If you don’t believe the bible then you are certainly lost in perspective you labor under atheist levels of belief thus you certainly could not lecture me on the bible.

  • pagansister

    cknuck,”….folk like you he called them Christian Atheist>” Who are you to say that jestrfyl (a minister) doesn’t believe the Bible, simply because he doesn’t interpret the Book like you do? There is NO single interpretation of that book—there never will be—fortunately. There are wide variations and your’s isn’t the only one.

  • cknuck

    pagan unfortunately for those that follow your thought about the bible it never changes, the basis tenets are the same, we don’t bend it to our will (like jest) we bend to His will that is in His word.

  • pagansister

    If you happen to believe that “we bend to His will that is in His word”.cknuck
    Like I said, ck, that is YOUR interpretation.

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