A Charlotte-area teacher had a child in class who was whacking students with a thick textbook.
I probably would have reacted the same way she did: by taking away the textbook. A little while later, after complaining about having his book confiscated, the student decided to sneak behind the teacher and smash a chair over her back and head.
It would seem pretty simple where to place blame, but nothing is simple anymore.
Perhaps punishment methods used in the past are outdated. Paddling or spanking certainly didn’t accomplish anything but strike fear into children, but the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that teachers now are assaulted by furniture-wielding students who are allowed to get away with it.
I’m not sure what happened to cause the shift from the student being presumed in the wrong to the teacher being presumed to be wrong. Teachers seem to have the same passion they did in my school days, but parents sure seem to be less willing to accept that their little cherubs aren’t perfect.
This is a major problem. Let me finish telling the story:
The principal called the teacher who received the chair whipping into the office and decided that the teacher was at fault. You see, by confiscating the book that was being used as a weapon, she conjured up bad memories the child had of a sibling taking things away from him. So his anger wasn’t just justified, it was escalated by the teacher’s negligence.
Yes, you read that steaming pile of manure correctly.
The only excuse that should ever be made for slamming a chair into somebody is if a Disney animator brought the seat to life and, with the stroke of a brush, sent it into a fit of cartoon violence in which nobody gets hurt.
But that didn’t happen here. A child threw a tantrum because the book being swung as a weapon was confiscated and he decided to throw something else.
I’m scared for a world in which children aren’t held accountable. That world doesn’t need paddles or intimidation, but it does need discipline.
It isn’t my job to figure out what form it should take, but it is my job to say that situations like the one given here are unacceptable. It scares me more than any paddle ever did.
You can reach Scott Cost at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a paddle from ACME.