From Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)
I am in receipt of a letter from a mother whose children are currently enrolled in the 3rd and 5th grades in an Arkansas public school. She describes how they, while under the control of the school, are subject to cruel treatment and witness cruelty toward others. She says that they are under constant stress while at school. She reports that they sometimes experience nightmares after a particularly bad school day. She wrote mainly of children being corporally punished or threatened with it, and of their being required to negotiate complicated penalties if they need to use the restroom at times the teacher deems inappropriate.
Corporal punishment typically involves being battered on the buttocks with a wooden board. The risks are obvious. No standards govern the practice, and there is no way to determine if some invisible line has been crossed until after the act. No teachers’ college in Arkansas instructs undergraduates in the correct method for hitting people. For your information, I have enclosed a page of photos showing injuries to students that have resulted from school corporal punishment. It can be viewed online at www.nospank.net/injuredkids.pdf.
As for denial of rest room use, my correspondent informed me that if a child can’t wait for the designated time, he or she is then punished by forfeiting recess. When the mother asked the school principal to give her a copy of that policy, he told her that there is nothing in writing, and that teachers make their own rules regarding the matter. For your information, I have enclosed a page listing the health risks involving forced retention of body waste. It can be viewed online at www.nospank.net/frbw.pdf.
Clearly, the above-described practices cannot engender in students positive feelings toward school. The opposite result is far more likely. Additionally, they constitute a potentially serious legal liability for any school that engages in them. An adult subjected to such treatment would go straight to the police and then call a lawyer. And because corporal punishment targets the pelvic area, perpetrators could face felony sexual battery charges.
Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
PTAVE, P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, California 94507