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Pain In Punishment

Part 1: Corporal Punishment in Schools

The use of corporal punishment has been declining in U.S. schools. Losing public acceptance, increased awareness against school boards and educators regarding its use and legislative bans have led to the decline. More than half of the states ban its use. In states where it is allowed, many school boards voluntarily prohibit it. Yet, almost a half million children are being hit yearly in public schools with a disproportionate number being minority children and children with disabilities. Corporal punishment is any intervention, which is designed to or likely to cause physical pain in order to stop or change behavior. In the United States, the most typical form of school corporal punishment is the striking of a student s behinds with a wooden paddle by a school authority because the authority believes the student has disobeyed a rule.

Discipline is important and schools have a strong role in teaching children to be self-disciplined. Self-discipline is the ability to understand a situation, to make appropriate decisions about ones behavior in that situation, and to ordinarily perform the appropriate behavior when unsupervised by adults. Effective discipline is instruction rather than punishment. Many means of effective and safe discipline are available. Punishment contingencies in general tend to have negative side effects including leading students to be sneaky and to lie about their behavior in order to escape punishment. Corporal punishment is a technique that can easily be abused leading to physical injuries. Evidence indicates that corporal punishment negatively effects the social, psychological and educational development of students and contributes to the cycle of child abuse and pro-violence attitudes of youth.

Effective discipline includes programs and strategies for changing student behavior, for changing school or classroom environments, and for educating and supporting teachers and parents. Effective discipline includes prevention and intervention programs and strategies. It is based rather than relying on custom or habit.

Part 2: The Scarlet Letter and Punishment

The Scarlet Letter incorporates the issue with Dimmelsdale and his personal punishment on himself. He continually whipped himself for his sins and the pain was for him to feel the wrong he had done. As we know though, that punishment was not as beneficial as coming out to the public to announce he was the father of the evil elf child, Pearl. If he had only said from the beginning, and stood with Hester, he would have not even begun the harsh treatment to himself or even pondered the thought of it. It was better for his soul and his mind (as to be able to live with himself) to come out to the town and tell that he was apart of the adultery.

The punishment of whipping seemed to only bring on more pain for Dimmelsdale and his health became worse. He own mind was in shambles and his life was a mess (not to mention, Chllingworth was purposely poisoning him with the things he was feeding him). The punishment was not a just cause and for Dimmelsdale to whip himself was not a good choice. The better choice was for him to have the courage to come out from under the bed and to come clean in the presence of the town and God.

- Eric Sporn

Sources: Websites

Project NoSpank: http://www.nospank.org/

NCACPS (The National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools): http://www.stophitting.com/NCACPS/index.html

AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics): http://www.aap.org/policy/re9740.html

New Africa.com: http://www.newafrica.com/education/articles/caning.htm

Justice For Youth and Children: http://www.jfcy.org/

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union): http://www.aclu.org/

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