Paddling Solutions You Can’t Beat

Welcome to our annual celebration of adult schoolboy Spankings. While we tend to focus primarily on adult schoolboy Spankings, actual schoolboy Spankings may be less common than the 1970s, but they are on the rise again. How do we know this? National Public Radio! They provided an excellent detailed story about how the paddle you see on the desk below is applied to the behinds of schoolboys in North Carolina. Join us today and every day this week for a different post celebrating this old schoolboy tradition.

A Look at Principal Matheson

Another in our series of Men Who Spank

 Principal Matheson for NPR
When it comes to paddling, Principal Matheson says, 
“You can’t beat it!”  (
Mike Belleme for NPR)

So this is just an excellent report, obviously. The sort of thing you’d see on, but it’s great to bring you this here at cornertime Confidential. Hope you are enjoying Adult Schoolboy Spankings Celebration Week.

When it comes to paddling, Principal Matheson  grew up with many of his students’ parents. The school’s policy is to talk with parents before any student is paddled. “It’s something the family decides,” Matheson says. This audio report from NPR below gives you a ton of detail about why boys like us have such memories of high school and junior high. And this principal is creating a whole new generation of paddled boys who appreciate his handiwork.

Maybe not the principal’s intention, butt….as in the previous 5 years, we’ll celebrate the latest man who thinks paddling boys is the solution, and says so proudly. To reiterate, how anyone thinks learning has anything to do with Corporal Punishment is a complete mystery to me, “Oh, you don’t know your multiplication tables, OK <<whack>> now do you know them?” That’s how public education gets a bad name.

However, I still think that if there are principals and superintendents who publicly crow about what excellent results they get from paddling and whipping boy’s bottoms, then let’s showcase them.

Here’s what NPR had to say about Principal Matheson here:

 Map of the US
Is anyone as surprised as I am that Alaska does NOT permit CP?

Robbinsville High School sits in a small gap in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Green slopes dotted with cattle hug in around the school before they rise into a thick cover of pine trees.

David Matheson is the principal here. And he’s the only high school principal in the state who still performs corporal punishment. At Robbinsville, corporal punishment takes the form of paddling – a few licks on the backside Matheson delivers with a long wooden paddle.

North Carolina state law describes corporal punishment, as “The intentional infliction of physical pain upon the body of a student as a disciplinary measure.”

Robbinsville High School’s policy allows students to request a paddling in place of in-school-suspension, or ISS. Last year, 22 students chose it.

“Most kids will tell you that they choose the paddling so they don’t miss class,” Matheson says.

One of those students is Allison Collins. She’s a senior now and says she chose to be paddled her sophomore year after her phone went off in class. She describes it as, “My first time ever being in trouble.”

Collins went to the assistant principal’s office where she was told she had a day of in-school-suspension. Collins told Principal Matheson she’d rather take a paddling and so he called her father to get permission.


 Principal Matheson's Paddle
Photo courtesy of Mike Belleme, NPR

“And my dad was like, ‘Just paddle her,'” she says. “Because down here in the mountains, we do it the old-school way.”

That’s the policy here. Principal Matheson paddles a student only if he gets permission from their parent. And, he says, very few parents opt out. Matheson grew up here and went to school with a lot of his students’ parents. “It’s something that the family decides,” he adds.

Nationwide, it’s not unusual for parents to support the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline. Recent surveys show about 75 percent of Americans believe it’s sometimes necessary to spank a child.

“I think it goes back to traditional values,” says Cheri Lynn, a Robbinsville parent who substitutes as a band teacher and coaches the school’s shooting team. “A lot of parents still hold to the traditional values of corporal punishment. They use it at home, and so the school is an extension of home.”

In a classroom down the hall, Beau Cronland, a student teacher, says he didn’t know the school used corporal punishment until he sent one of his freshman to the office for talking. “Kids talk,” he says, “I don’t think they should get spanked for it, or paddled.”

Tom Vitaglione, of the child-advocacy group NC Child, says for years he’s been sending school leaders research papers showing corporal punishment leads to bad outcomes for students: higher drop-out rates, increased rates of depression and substance abuse and increased violent episodes down the road.

Principal Matheson says he’s seen that research, but he still believes paddling is an effective form of discipline. “I think if more schools did it, we’d have a whole lot better society. I do, I believe that.”

Vitaglione takes issue with that: “When it gets to schools, we now have an agent of the state hitting a child,” he says. “And we don’t believe that should happen.”

When he started this work, more than thirty years ago, thousands of children in North Carolina were struck each year. Now, Robbinsville High is one of just a few schools that still use it. The latest numbers show about 70 students were paddled in the state last school year.

A recent investigation by Education Week shows that in the 2013-2014 school year, about 110,000 students were physically punished nationwide. That’s in part because in some states, including Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, tens of thousands of students are paddled every year.

Child advocates are working toward zero paddlings in North Carolina. They’re asking state legislators to outlaw the practice in schools for good. That’s happening nationwide, too.

As NPR Ed reported in December, dozens of groups, including the National PTA, Children’s Defense Fund and American Academy of Pediatrics signed a letter of their own, supporting an end to corporal punishment.


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