Michelle Malkin, apparently still trying to be more appalling that Ann Coulter, has succeeded with this week’s column, Abu Ghraib-i-fying America’s Schools.
From the title (which is designed to both denigrate the topic of corporal punishment AND the Abu Graib abuses), right down to the conclusion, which basically urges America to HIT KIDS HARDER, this is a piece which demands a more scathing response than the patented Wo’C good-natured snark. But hey, here is my commentary (or as much of one as I could write without wanting to beat someone myself). Please feel free to add your own comments. Here’s a link to the report, for anyone who wants to do their own research (Michelle, you might want to read it too): A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools.
Now, here’s Michelle:
The citizens of the world who hate America are going to love the latest agitprop released this week by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Of course, one’s first reaction when reading a report about children being hit in schools should be, “How will the people who hate America view this?, rather than “Shouldn’t we do something about this?”
In a document titled “A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in U.S. Public Schools,” the left-wing groups seek to paint a horrifying portrait of the nation’s classrooms as Abu Ghraib-like torture chambers.
But since we already know that Abu Ghraib just involved high-spirited shenanigans and fraternity initiation-like antics, what kind of self-respecting agitprop would seek to paint such an ineffective portrait. (Oh, and Michelle, the report doesn’t cover the entire nation’s classrooms, as corporal punishment is banned in 29 states — and Texas is responsible for about a fourth of all the reported incidences of corporal punishment in schools.)
The report compiles sob stories of students humiliated after being disciplined by school officials for unruliness,
And also compiles stories of students sent to the hospital after being beaten for crimes such as not paying attention in class. And if those were “sob stories,” the kids really did have something to sob about.
and claims that minority students are “disproportionately targeted” for punishment.
In that statistics show that they are.
The report says that “more than 200,000 U.S. public school students were punished by beatings during the 2006-2007 school year,” but makes no distinction between “beatings” that take the form of mere knuckle-rapping versus swats on the backside versus over-the-line violent confrontations.
Because that figure comes from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education, and it only covers the NUMBER OF STUDENTS that the school REPORTED as having received corporal punishment that year. So, the number of incidents is undoutedly much higher. And while most of the incidents didn’t leave any broken bones, the point is that thousands of kids are being physically disciplined in public schools each year.
In several of the anecdotes cited, it wasn’t bruised bottoms that upset the supposedly brutalized students. It was bruised egos.
And in several other anecdotes cited, the students were severely bruised. However, no matter how much or little physical injury was caused, I, like the authors of the study, believe that corporal punishment is destructive and degrading, and that children should be taught to counteract, not perpetuate, violence.
Peter S., a middle-school student from the Mississippi Delta, whined to the researchers: “The other kids were watching and laughing. It made me want to fight them. When you get a paddling and you see everyone laugh at you, it make you mad and you want to do something about it.” How about ending your bad behavior and flying right?
Actually, Michelle, it was Matthew S. (253) who said that, and I don’t think he was “whining” so much as “angrily contemplating perpetuating the violence that had been shown to him.” His remark was cited in a section of the report about how students and teachers “saw links between corporal punishment and bullying or peer aggression.” And just what “bad behavior” had Matthew been guilty of that earned him a beating with a paddle? The report doesn’t say, but the odds are, it was something like tardiness or talking in class. Here’s a section from the report that Michelle presumably missed:
The large majority of instances of corporal punishment reported to Human Rights Watch was for minor infractions, such as having a shirt untucked,129 being tardy (late to class or to school),130 or talking in class131 or in the hallway.132 [...]Human Rights Watch received reports of corporal punishment in response to a wide range of minor misbehavior. Students were paddled for eating or drinking in class,136 sleeping in class,137 walking on the wrong side of the hallway,138 running in the hallway,139 talking back to a teacher,140 not turning in homework,141 not having a belt in violation of the dress code,142 and going to the bathroom without permission.143
So yeah, Matthew, get that shirt tucked in and fly right, you little criminal!
Of course educators must use common sense when punishing bad apples.
Here, let’s read about one of those “bad apples” from the report.
One very young student in Texas, a three-year-old boy attending a public pre-kindergarten program, was beaten and bruised during paddling. The program was run at the local elementary school and governed by the school district policy on discipline.223 The boy, who has diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), was paddled for taking off his shoes and for playing with an air conditioner. He became reluctant to go to school: his mother reported that “all he would say is that ‘she [the principal] hit him with a board.’”224 The child sustained bruises to his hips that reached around to his belly button.
Doesn’t Michelle have a daughter who is about four now? Would she call her kid a “bad apple” if the child takes off her shoes or otherwise acts like a four-year-old? Would she want “educators” striking her child? If not, why is it okay for other kids?
Of course they should be held accountable if they cause undue harm.
So moderate harm is okay.
But the agenda of these outfits is not to ensure the safety of everyone in the classroom. Their agenda is to demonize unapologetic enforcers of order and to impose international dictates on American public institutions.
“Unapologetic enforcers of order” — isn’t that what the S.S. was called? (Okay, it wasn’t, but I really hate how Michelle is defending teachers and school administrators who think HITTING LITTLE KIDS is a good disciplinary method.)
The main author of the report is a special fellow with the Open Society Institute, funded by George (America must be “de-Nazified”) Soros.
The main (or secondary, depending on who you believe) author of Michelle Malkin’s column is a columnist for Town Hall, which was funded by Richard Mellon (“also helped to fund Watergate”) Scaife. Exactly what that says about Michelle, I’m not really sure.
Replete with references to the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the report declares in sweeping terms: “All corporal punishment, whether or not it causes significant physical injury, represents a violation of each student’s rights to physical integrity and human dignity. It is degrading and humiliating, damaging the student’s self-esteem and making him or her feel helpless.” It’s Gitmo all over again.
Yes, because Gitmo was just about hurting prisoners’ feelings. And obviously this report is some kind of liberal/commie B.S., because children don’t have any rights, let alone human dignity. And anyway, kids SHOULD feel helpless and degraded — it’s the only way to keep them in their place.
As usual, the Human Rights Watch/ACLU activists inject claims of racial discrimination into the mix — repeatedly underscoring that many of the remaining states that allow corporal punishment are in the South. They infer deliberate targeting of black students based on statistics that reportedly show that “in the 13 southern states where corporal punishment is most prevalent, African-American students are punished at 1.4 times the rate that would be expected given their numbers in the student population, and African-American girls are 2.1 times more likely to be paddled than might be expected.”But that disproportion does not automatically equal discrimination.
The report never claims that it does. The point is that black students disproportionately attend bad schools, schools which use corporal punishment as their method of maintaining order.
What they don’t tell you are the races or ethnicities of the victims of the thugs being disciplined.
Let’s read some more about some of those “thugs” and their “victims” from the report:
Students and teachers reported that students could be paddled for a catch-all category of “disrespect,” a term which is rarely defined in school policy and is used arbitrarily by teachers. [...] One middle schooler described punishments for “disrespect” as: “if you mess up, and don’t say ma’am or sir.”154
And are many of these “victims” of disrespect minorities themselves? Yes, certainly. But it’s still wrong to hit kids.
What they don’t bother to mention — because it doesn’t fit the America-as-torturer-of-minorities narrative — is the unmitigated violence perpetrated in American classrooms against minority teachers.
Because the “unmitigated violence against minority teachers” narrative is the subject of another report, possibly “The Blackboard Jungle’ or “To Sir, With Love.” So, I’m going to skip Michelle’s little digression about all those minority teachers assaulted by students each year, possibly three-year-old students with ADHD. Instead, I’ll quote a brief portion of the report that might be relevent to Michelle’s tangent:
Corporal punishment teaches students that violence is acceptable: it can make students aggressive, angry, and more likely to lash out against their peers or educators, and it can teach them that domestic violence is permissible.
But let us now return to Michelle for the exciting conclusion.
America’s problem isn’t that we’re too tough and cruel in the classroom. It’s that we’ve become too soft and placative, too ashamed and timid to assert authority and take unilateral action to guarantee a secure environment. Exactly where the human rights groups want us.
And, as we learned in “The Violent Years,” it’s just where the Commies want us, because making our students rude and disrespectful is the first step in their plot to RULE THE WORLD. (The second step apparently involves the rape of strapping young men by pearl-wearing debutantes.)
But anyway, if Michelle is right, then instead of just bruising little kids who take off their shoes in class, we should probably amputate their feet. Because only that way will we look strong to our enemies.
Posted by s.z. on Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 5:35 am.