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September 12, 2018

MAYBE MY SCHOOLTEACHER GRANDMOTHER WASN’T SO STUPID AFTER ALL: A Georgia charter school is seeking parental permission to using paddling as a punishment for schoolchildren. And many parents are granting it.

School discipline has changed since the 1970s, when, as a result of a number of public interest lawsuits, it became legally risky to keep students after school without explicit parental permission. This pleased teachers, who weren’t keen on working late with unruly students anyway.

Instead, in-school or more commonly out-of-schools suspensions became the norm. Two problems: First, suspended students lose instructional time. Second, many of them like to be suspended.

What’s really needed is a punishment that is quick and unpleasant, thus allowing misbehaving students to get right back to their studies—like an old-fashioned paddling.

In the meantime, whether it works out or not, I’m happy to see a school attempt to set it own discipline policy. The federal government has managed to impose its preferred discipline policy on most of the rest of them.