According to a recent report on NPR, 19 states--mostly in the South and Mountain West--still allow public schools to paddle. While my most immediate reaction is that this is absolutely unacceptable, just this weekend a few Latino friends of mine were exalting the benefits of having being spanked at school when they were kids, making me take a closer look at corporal punishment in schools. 

Even though I did the majority of my schooling in Latin America, I was never ever spanked at school and it wasn't because I was a saint, but rather because it wasn't allowed. My husband, on the other hand, went to a private Catholic school in his native Puerto Rico and he often speaks of the spankings he got and how they helped him stay in line.  

In fact, my husband was one of the people in the group of Latino friends talking about this subject this past weekend. Like him, the other men in the group--one from Venezuela and the other from Argentina--agreed that spanking was not only allowed at their schools, but it was highly encouraged by their own parents who would usually give them a paliza of their own if they misbehaved in school (even if they had already gotten paddled at a school!).

These three men, all of whom I consider highly polite and respectful, also agreed that more schools should use corporal punishment to avoid the impertinence and rudeness rampant in today's youth. I agree that many children's lack of respect today is embarrassing and unacceptable, but I'm not fully convinced that allowing schools to paddle them is the way to right this wrong. I strongly believe this is one thing for which parents need to be responsible.

While I was not spanked at school, I was spanked at home and I'm pretty sure this way of disciplining played a big role in making me a respectful, well-mannered human being. Although I haven't necessarily followed my parents lead in terms of spanking my own children, I should make it clear that it's not because I ever felt like I was abused but rather because I'm not as strict as I should be when it comes to disciplining my children.

What do you think about corporal punishment in schools? What would you do if your children were spanked in school? 

Image via Wesley Fryer/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor of MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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