As usual, the Human Rights Watch/ACLU activists inject claims of racial discrimination into the mix -- repeatedly underscoring that many of the remaining states that allow corporal punishment are in the South. They infer deliberate targeting of black students based on statistics that reportedly show that "in the 13 southern states where corporal punishment is most prevalent, African-American students are punished at 1.4 times the rate that would be expected given their numbers in the student population, and African-American girls are 2.1 times more likely to be paddled than might be expected."
But that disproportion does not automatically equal discrimination. What they don't tell you are the races or ethnicities of the victims of the thugs being disciplined. What they don't bother to mention -- because it doesn't fit the America-as-torturer-of-minorities narrative -- is the unmitigated violence perpetrated in American classrooms against minority teachers.
The recent videotaped beating of black Baltimore teacher Jolita Berry by a black female student -- as other black students cheered and screamed, "Hit her!" -- exposed the continuing chaos in inner-city districts. In that school system alone, 112 students were expelled for assaults on staff members this school year.
Federal education statistics show that between 1996 and 2000, 599,000 violent crimes against teachers at school were reported. On average, the feds say, in each year from 1996 to 2000, about 28 out of every 1,000 teachers were the victims of violent crime at school, and three out of every 1,000 were victims of serious violent crime (i.e., rape, sexual assault, robbery or aggravated assault). Violence against teachers is higher at urban schools.
America's problem isn't that we're too tough and cruel in the classroom. It's that we've become too soft and placative, too ashamed and timid to assert authority and take unilateral action to guarantee a secure environment. Exactly where the human rights groups want us.