The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Corporal Punishment Edition

By Evie Blad — September 19, 2014 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. I’ve read a lot of articles about the limits of school discipline this week.

It seems the indictment of NFL player Adrian Peterson on charges of injuring a child has restarted long-simmering conversations about whether corporal punishment is appropriate—both at home and at school. Peterson’s incident involves swatting his son with a thin tree branch. A Texas high school football coach has since said he used corporal punishment on the Minnesota Vikings player when he was in high school, CBS Sports reported.

As Education Week reported last year, 19 states still allow corporal punishment as a form of school discipline. It’s worth your time to read that article to provide context for this debate.

You can read more about attitudes toward spanking in this report from Child Trends, which includes this graph.

I’d also like to share some great stuff I’ve found online this week about school climate and student well-being. This week, we read about student speech rights, school police, building a good school climate, and more.

Suspended for speech...

Wantz said that even if people don't agree that 'Redskins' is a racist term, there is 'something unjust about not allowing students to determine what is offensive and being sort of forced by a government agency to publish something they find is offensive.'" —From the Student Press Law Center, a story of student journalists who've won broad support after they were disciplined for refusing to print the name of their school's mascot in their student newspaper.

Climate change starts at the top...

Get out and listen to students, have student groups, and create structures so that students not only feel like they have a voice, but actually do have a voice. There are students who leave school every day without even talking to one peer. That shouldn't be happening. Imagine the greatness we are missing because some students don't feel like they can talk in school." —Finding Common Ground shares tips for how leaders can build healthy school climates.

Critiquing character education...

The KIPP children showed no advantage on any of the measures of character strengths. They weren't more effortful or persistent. They didn't have more favorable academic self-conceptions or stronger school engagement. They didn't score higher than the comparison group in self-control. In fact, they were more likely to engage in 'undesirable behavior,' including losing their temper, lying to and arguing with their parents, and giving teachers a hard time." —The Fordham Institute blog takes a critical look at KIPP's character education program.

Military gear goes to schools...

This is a toxic combination of 1) school districts lining up for anything the feds are handing out, 2) the excessive militarization of local police (and apparently school security) forces, and 3) schools focusing on incredibly rare events, like school shootings, as opposed to incredibly common ones, like incarcerating millions of children in schools that fail to serve their needs." —Jay P. Greene writes about school police acquiring surplus mine-resistant vehicles, grenade launchers, and military rifles from the Department of Defense's 1033 program. For background on concerns raised this week, read my post from Monday and updates about how Los Angeles and San Diego school police announced plans to return some equipment in response to criticism from the public.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.