Cruel and Unusual

Should public school educators use paddling as a method to teach children?

Most of our nation's school districts abandoned the practice of paddling years ago, but corporal punishment remains legal in 20 states -- mostly in the South.

A Congressional subcommittee is currently holding hearings on the matter. Chairperson of the committee, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, wants to end the practice through federal legislation. "When you look that the federal government has outlawed physical punishment in prisons," she told reporters, "I think the time has come that we should do it in schools."

Should we allow teachers to paddle, spank or otherwise physically abuse children? No -- not unless we want them to learn that adults consider physical violence to be a reasonable and effective method of problem-solving.