- Education and Science
Board of Education Applied to the Seat of Learning
The Law of the Paddle
I will never forget walking into my first junior high school home room class. The transition from elementary school to the next level coupled together with all those crazy hormonal changes of coming to the age of adolescence didn't make things any easier. There were some things that had remained the same. Our first lecture covered discipline and rules of conduct given us by Mrs Clara-belle Clark, a stern looking lady whose hair had long been gray and her insidious smile made me cringe.
"People" she said. "You are now in junior high." With that introduction we were given the code of conduct expected and set by the school administration. No Chewing gum! No tardiness will be tolerated! You boys that have sneakers on right now, you must buy another pair for gym! The list went on and as she finished her oratory, she gently opened her desk drawer and pulled out a leather razor strap. Shaking it convincingly before the class she left no doubt as to whether she would use it if a need arose. Infractions of the rules might just get you a few lashes from my leather strap!
We were no strangers to corporal punishment and there was a firm belief quick correction yielded a good result. There were times we had seen students who misbehaved get spankings from our teachers. Most of the time the guilty were taken outside the classroom but we could hear the spankings administered to the bad boys and sometime girls. A few raps on the rear end or on the palm with a ruler were the extent of the punishment. Some of us laughed because so and so had gotten a spanking but we all knew the punishment fit the crime and the embarrassment of a spanking was at times worse than the spanking itself.
As we left our elementary school the corporal punishment became less common. Teachers used another means of punishment. Writing a few hundred times,"I must not chew gum in class." or some other sentence was a punishment none liked. Leave it to the ingenuity of some student to use a rubber band to bind three pencils together to write those words of wisdom, in some cases at least 500 times. A few teachers soon got wise to the multiple pencil trick and the sentences bordered on a paragraph!
Today in most states corporal punishment is something almost unheard but for those of us who grew up in the 1950's and 1960's I feel we became better people knowing our bad behavior would not be tolerated and we might suffer the wrath of our infractions by the board of education being applied to the seat of learning. As a matter of record I never received a paddling during my school career not because I was a good kid but mainly because I never got caught in my menace. My parents always told me and my siblings if we got a spanking at school for misbehaving, we would get another one when we got home.