After visiting with some friends/relatives back in my day, I was able to get some of them to talk about school punishments now versus ones back in our time here in the South. These discussions as well as some of the things I have read online including this site has been enlightening. One of the things I have noticed about here in the south is how much and how little some things have changed in regard to home and school corporal punishments. Both varieties are definitely down in frequency from my days of youth, but I found some things very interesting.
First was who can deliver swats vs who cannot. Back in my day both male and female administrators could deliver swats to either gender and no witness required. Then the witness thing began in the 1960’s and it seemed girls, especially those in 8th grade on up received them less and less as time wore on. Then somewhere around the late 90’s, girls began to get them more frequently, especially as they became a choice rather than a being told outright, they were getting them. Then closely behind this phenomenon, we began to see male administrators again being given the green light to swat the girls. Some of my friends’ granddaughters who live in the panhandle of Florida and nearby Alabama said they prefer men over the women giving them because the women are often harsher.
One 17-year-old 11th grader, who lives just across the Alabama border, said she has received 15 swats this year, 3 sets of 5, for tardies. She received 20 last year for the same reasons. She said “my butt can tolerate stinging for a few hours if that means not losing my Saturday.” She said when she assists the people in the office area by doing filing and such things, you can sometimes hear 3 or 4 paddling’s a day. You go into the principal’s office, they verify that this is your choice, bend over a chair and put your hands flat on the seat and wham, wham, wham, wham, wham. Then you sign a document that says that you agreed to the swats and you are not harmed or hold any grudges against the school or administrator.
The parents do not seem to care as long as it done properly. Maybe that saying “the more things change, the more things remain the same” has some merit.