HCS Board Meeting, 8/4/11. Thank you, Dr. Wardynski for Taking a Stand Against Corporal Punishment

Dr. Casey Wardynski, the new superintendent of the Huntsville [AL] City Schools,  proposed at the School Board meeting this evening that corporal punishment be eliminated within the system. I guess this will be put to a vote next meeting.

Thank you, Dr. Wardynski.

Thank you for having the common sense to suggest that if an officer is not allowed to beat a soldier who breaks a rule, then surely an adult educator should not be permitted to use corporal punishment on a child.

Thank you for having the insight to suggest to the Board that giving an adult the right to hit a child while decrying bullying in the schools just doesn’t make sense.

I don’t know why in 2011 the HCS still had a policy regarding procedures for hitting kids. I guess I assumed that if in the 21st century it still did, and this is not unusual, I believe, among Alabama schools, then the situation was simply hopeless. In fact, one of the reasons why when my son was born in 1989 I never thought about sending him to public school was because I couldn’t bear to think of that happening to him. I knew too that even if he turned out to be a well-behaved kid, as he did, that wouldn’t be enough to keep him safe from overgrown schoolyard bullies. When I was growing up kids got hit for crimes like coming in last running laps at PE. I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

Three out of five Board members commented.

Laurie McCaulley said she thought the teachers and administrators in the schools would be relieved because now they wouldn’t have to worry about being sued. Of course, they could have avoided that pain simply by not hitting kids, but I won’t quibble.

David Blair expressed concern that teachers and administrators will know that they are still allowed to touch kids if they need to do so to break up a fight. I don’t see the connection between denying ritualized infliction of pain for punishment and preventing kids from doing damage to each other. It’s a little like confusing delivering a hard, brutal punch to a defenseless person’s midsection and performing the Heimlich maneuver.

And speaking of confusion, there’s Dr. Jennie Robinson. She seems to think that like Dr. Wardynski, she has just now arrived in Huntsville. She was enthusiastic about his proposal (good), but this begs a question, does it not? If it is such a good idea now, why didn’t she work toward the elimination of corporal punishment when she was first elected to the Board in 2002? Or the next year, 2003? 2004? 2005? 2006? 2007? 2008? 2009? 2010? Last month? I went 25 pages deep into a Google search for “Jennie Robinson” + Huntsville and found no indication that she has ever taken a stand against corporal punishment. Why not?

Later, Robinson also acted as if she had been pressing for a report on Special Ed staffing for months. Pressing whom? Guess who offered up a report tonight? Dr. Wardynski. (I wonder what Dr. Ann Roy Moore accomplished this week to justify continuing to collect her pay?)

Must Dr. Wardynski do everything himself?

It remains to be seen, however, if the data he was supplied is accurate. I hope heads roll if it isn’t.

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