I really think that discipline is necessary sometimes. I remember that even teachers used to spank. Do you think it is still a good system of discipline for today?

"Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after" (Ecclesiastes 1:10-11).

Man has often fooled himself into believing that "new" ideas are improvements on old methods. Though the Bible states, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15), somehow people have become convinced that discipline can take place without corporal punishment. I do see signs of people slowly becoming aware that popular methods of running the classroom are not working, but I don't foresee the situation changing in the near future. Currently 28 states in the United States ban teachers from using corporal punishment. Even in those states which permit spanking, many local school districts choose not use this form of discipline.

In some ways, I understand the concern. In the past, there was a general acceptance of moral principles. You could expect most people, students as well as teachers, to follow biblically based principles. But now that we have expelled religion from government and schools, we have a problem with behavior. Parents are rightly concerned that if the practice of spanking were re-introduced, would the teacher abuse it? Yet, the problem does not center around whether spanking works, but can we trust teachers who work for an institution that has rejected God?

Discipline has become more and more difficult to maintain in the public schools. The reliance on behavior modifying drugs, such as Ritalin, is just one consequence of the decision not to use corporal punishment in schools. Children, especially boys, will misbehave. Instead of teaching them to control their behavior, they are drugged so that they lose all will to misbehave. Such will eventually backfire; eventually the drug use will stop, but the children never learn self-control.

Rather than exposing their children to the misguided understanding of today's educators and the unruly behavior of fellow students, a large number of families have taken their children out of public schools and placed them in private schools or home schools. If the trend continues, laws of economics will likely cause public school systems to collapse; but it is unlikely that they will go quietly or easily.

See also:

Why attitudes toward spanking are changing


March 15, 2005