by Max Brantley
The New York Times examines the Deep South's continued preference for whipping school children, a practice that apparently causes some discomfort for newly settled suburbanites from places with more enlightened child-rearing policies.
As you may know, Arkansas is a leader in the field of pounding on kids, known euphemistically as corporal punishment.
Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama account for 70 percent of the kids whipped in the country each year. Judging by our dropout rates, our standardized test scores and our rate of violent crime, it apparently has done wonders. Contrasting views:
“I believe we have reached the point in our social evolution where this is no longer acceptable, just as we reached a point in the last half of the 19th century where husbands using corporal punishment on their wives was no longer acceptable,” said Murray Straus, a director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire.
Among adherents of the practice is James C. Dobson, the child psychologist who founded Focus on the Family and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders.
DuBose Ravenel, a North Carolina pediatrician who is the in-house expert on the subject for Mr. Dobson’s group, said, “I believe the whole country would be better off if corporal punishment was allowed in schools by parents who wish it.”