To The Laconia Sun,
In a recent letter to The Sun, Bev Buker implies that the answer for school kids with emotional problems is to hit them. She specifically targeted "bi polar" kids. Does she know what that term means? I wonder if she also advocates this for children with learning disabilities? There was a time when kids with emotional issues and learning disabilities like ADHD were labeled as "bad" and worthy of a "whuppin'".
One supposes Ms. Buker is one of those people with nostalgia, with a longing for the "good old days" which, as any historian can tell you, really never existed except in myth. Most of us were raised with "when I was your age" and how things better and worse in the "good old days". Unlike some writers to The Sun maintain, education was not necessarily better in their day. One thing that was worse was the use of corporal punishment in schools.
I have studied school corporal punishment and I am also of a generation to have had more practical exercises in the topic. It was common then and few questioned it. In 1st grade the teacher hit students over the head with the larger, teachers' editions of our textbooks. She also slapped students on the face, In 2nd grade, the teacher and her principal, used a ping pong paddle. My 3rd grade teacher used a yard stick across the back of the thighs while another teacher, in the 4th grade, made students sit in what she called her "torture chair" while she beat them across the top of the thighs with a ruler. My junior high principal used a paddle.
Kids with what today would be considered learning disabilities were often punished corporally. In 2nd grade, I had problems in math and especially with adding two-digit numbers and "carrying". I got paddled for that. Needless to say, it resulted in my not being overly fond of math for a long time — until I realized I was better at it than I (or others) thought.
In junior high school, the principal administered to me what we kids called "cracks" a few times and at the time, I believed I "deserved" it so usually "took it like a man". However, the last time he paddled me, I had done nothing wrong and so he had to fight for that last paddling. Eventually, with the help of other teachers he won but not before his office was a wreck. No one had ever stood up to him before and after he had calmed down, he called me in and said that in the future he would paddle me when he judged it appropriate and I was to take it. But, he never paddled me again.
Of course, for more minor offenses, teachers often made students write sentences over and over such as, "I will never again talk back to the teacher while chewing gum (or tobacco) in class." I guess technically, writing sentences could be a form of corporal punishment since it resulted in writers' cramp. I wonder how many kids were turned off to writing because of these useless exercises used in a punitive manner?
But that was far better than my 8th grade science teacher who punished the whole class by making us hold hands and one person at each end of the line hold a wire connected to a hand-cranked generator. I heard he went on to teach criminal justice at the college level. I always wondered if he served as an advisor to some dictatorship's secret police organization that used electric shock as a form of torture.
While one might concede that parents may have a very limited right to employ physical punishment (such as mom slapping a toddlers hand when he or she reaches for a boiling pot of water), it should not be allowed in any school. Except in the case mentioned above, parents should not hit kids either. I know a lot of parents who have raised perfectly normal and well-behaved kids without resorting to corporal punishment.
As for educators, they often did not administer it fairly. In many cases, teachers had favorites and "whipping boys". Even the "good old days" there were many teachers and administrators who ran good schools without the paddle so there is no excuse educators who feel the need to hit kids should think about another profession. Except in the case mentioned above, parents should not hit kids either. I know a lot of parents who have raised perfectly normal and well-behaved kids without resorting to corporal punishment.
However, the days of corporal punishment in schools are far from over. Today, many school districts have abolished corporal punishment but it still exists in a number of public schools, often in the South. When I was teaching at a college in Missouri, I partnered with a high school where the students were taking a course from me via two-way television. One day, as class was coming to an end, the high school principal came into their studio and I said, " Hi, Mr. ____. You have some hard-working and smart students there." He said, "well of course. We still use the 'board of education' around here." I thought he must be joking but after he left the students told me he was not.
Even in many states where it has been abolished, it is still legal in private schools. While Catholic school students no longer have to fear the nuns rapping their knuckles with a ruler, corporal punishment still exists in a lot of evangelical "Christian" schools. In cases where it is permitted in public and/or private schools, parents have to write a note authorizing the school to paddle their child. I am not sure that his is a "right" that parents can sign away to school officials. What about the rights of the child?
In spite of claims to the contrary, few adults, parents or teachers, hit kids solely "for their own good". Adults usually hit kids for the same reason they hit adults: because they are angry. Corporal punishment amounts to a form of child abuse and should be outlawed in all states as it has been in many other countries. I am not sure what "lesson" corporal punishment teaches unless it is that big people can bully little people with the threat of violence. This may not be a lesson we want to teach.
E. Scott Cracraft
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 09:03
To The Laconia Sun,
I would like to congratulate Michael Pelczar and Jonathan James for being appointed to the open seats on the Meredith Board of Selectmen.
After meeting Michael while running for one of the positions, I was really impressed with this young man. Jonathan I have known since he moved to Meredith. I think both were excellent choices and I know both will serve Meredith well.
I want to thank the three selectmen for interviewing the candidates and making what I think is a good choice.
L. Michael Hatch
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 09:52
To The Daily Sun,
The Gilmanton Historical District Commission is in need of volunteers to serve. There are one permanent and three alternate positions that are vacant. The responsibilities are attending a monthly meeting that last from one to two hours and supporting the procedures and rules that have been adopted through the public hearing process and passed by the commission. You need not reside in the historical districts, but should have an interest in maintaining the historical appearance of the districts.
If you are interested or have any further questions, please call me.
Ernie Hudziec, Chair
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 09:49
To The Daily Sun,
Attention Pine Gardens residents:
On April 27 at 6 p.m., there will be a meeting for all residents living within Pine Gardens Mobile Home Park in Belmont, to discuss the formation of a Tenants' Association.
Tenants' Associations are organized for several reasons. They educate residents on their rights and responsibilities as tenants in a manufactured housing park, they foster community interactions where neighbors look out for one another, and if the park was ever to be sold, the tenants would have the first opportunity to purchase it as a cooperative.
There will be a member of the Manufactured Home Owners & Tenants Association of New Hampshire (MOTA-NH) available to assist us with any questions and concerns we may have. If you would like to attend this meeting, or are interested in being involved, please contact us via telephone, text message or e-mail for additional information. We are one of the few parks in the area who do not have an association in place.
We are very excited about this opportunity and look forward to hearing from you.
Judy Estes - 630-4074
Simone Henderson - 581-5691
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 09:46
To The Daily Sun,
There is a real, simple and most positive means to provide Social Security reform.
First of all, Social Security was and still remains a user-tax program. Benefits are provided based on your contributions. This was never to be intended to be the entitlement program that it has become today. Benefits were provided based on the level of income combined with contributions.
The program was not designed to assist immigrants, criminals, freeloaders, etc. This is a non-prejudicial approach and common-sense way to fix the program as it is today. It must be repeated here, this was a payer-designed program. In other words, if you did not contribute to the program, you get no benefits. Period. Disability payments were added as other benefits were added later, but one always had to contribute to the system.
Yes, Social Security is under attack, but for the wrong reasons. Social Security is the bulwark of retirement financing for many senior citizens who worked hard all their lives to develop an additional, stable source of income upon retirement. These beneficiaries paid for these benefits. Social Security, placed on the right track, can supplement many people for many years.
Many immigrants come to this country, draw a Social Security number and then illegally draw benefits without contributing. Many of these immigrants are able-bodied and can contribute to the system which in turn could then enable them to be eligible for benefits. It is insulting to see fellow Americans try to claim benefits for which they did not pay for, and profit from this illegal means. In short, many beneficiaries are subsidizing these illegal distributions in the form of reduce retirement benefits and reduced medical benefits that they paid for.
It is also insulting that our own federal government raids these funds in the name of loans to provide extra funding for military and other ventures the government seeks to provide, even though those beneficiaries have not paid one penny for these benefits. George Bush raided our monies for wars we did not authorize. If we had those funds back, many of us would enjoy higher incomes.
This is not an entitlement program. Due to the overload of peoples obtaining benefits without paying in is the major cause for the financial crisis in Social Security. The solution is quite simple. Stop paying benefits to those who have not contributed — everyone. If these people come here expecting entitlements, then the federal government should have separate programs for these people, not take from our Social Security, that we paid for. The benefits would be markedly increased if we did not have these freeloaders in our system.
Secondly, prevent any federal government raiding of our funds. Get it somewhere else, this is our money, not the U.S. government, immigrants or any one else not contributing to the system.
One argument given once: These freeloaders come over here and have nothing. Unacceptable. Many of us worked hard. Immigrants of the past came here to work and be free, learn English as well as American life, including paying into Social Security. Through working hard as many of us try to do, they can earn those benefits just as we did. Anyone, regardless of religion, race, or creed, who can work, should do so to earn these benefits. This will make for a very stable benefit program for all. And, this will increase those benefits with continued contributions and ... make better benefits as we all get older.
Return Social Security to the people, the people who really make the system. Then Social Security will truly be the benefit program, as it was originally designed to be.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 09:43