Marybeth Hicks

So it’s possible more than 20 percent of students do deserve a visit with the principal, but their teachers are reluctant to send them hoofing down the hall. Better to issue a warning, take a deep breath and attempt to “manage” the classroom rather than take control of it. It’s a strategy of appeasement, and by all accounts, it’s not working.

Meanwhile, in the central Texas town of Temple, a trip to the principal’s office now could include a date with an old fashioned wooden paddle. This “old school” practice was reinstituted by a unanimous vote of the city’s school board at the behest of (shocker) parents who believe their children need a stronger disciplinary code.

Media reports indicate there has been only one actual paddling episode, yet behavior in the high school is measurably improved. Proving that children don’t always need to be paddled; they just need to believe it’s possible.

Much of the educational literature on school discipline is filled with jargon and psychobabble about outcomes and interventions and tying consequences to the undesirable behaviors in question. School discipline — when it is meted out — generally includes in-school or out-of-school suspension, which means if you’re bad, you get to skip class.

Gosh. I wonder why kids act out?

I’m not necessarily suggesting that all schools bring back the paddle. Other consequences can be equally effective. (For example, misbehavior at my daughter’s Catholic school can result in devotionals prayed in the chapel with the principal on Saturday morning).

The point is, schools with excellent discipline have better academic track records. They also are likely to have a well-worn path between the classrooms and the principal’s office.

Or at least, they should.


Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).