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Thread: Expelled From College For Advocating Corporal Punishment

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    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Expelled From College For Advocating Corporal Punishment

    Syracuse, March 8 -- As a substitute teacher in the public schools here, Scott McConnell says students are often annoyed that he does not let them goof off in class. Yet he was not prepared for the sixth grader who walked up to his desk in November, handed in an assignment, and then swore at him.

    The profanity transported him back to his own days at Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Oklahoma in the 1980's, when there was a swift solution for wiseacres: the paddle.

    "It was a footlong piece of wood, and hung on every classroom wall like a symbol, a strong Christian symbol," said Mr. McConnell, who is 26. "Nobody wanted that paddle to come down."

    He said he had been a disruptive student, and routinely mouthed off until his fourth-grade teacher finally gave him three whacks to the backside. Physically, it did not hurt. But he felt humiliated and humbled.

    "I never wanted that again," Mr. McConnell recalled. "It was good for me."

    Supporting corporal punishment is one thing; advocating it is another, as Mr. McConnell recently learned. Studying for a graduate teaching degree at Le Moyne College, he wrote in a paper last fall that "corporal punishment has a place in the classroom." His teacher gave the paper an A-minus and wrote, "Interesting ideas - I've shared these with Dr. Leogrande," referring to Cathy Leogrande, who oversaw the college's graduate program.

    Unknown to Mr. McConnell, his view of discipline became a subject of discussion among Le Moyne officials. Five days before the spring semester began in January, Mr. McConnell learned that he had been dismissed from Le Moyne, a Jesuit college.

    "I have grave concerns regarding the mismatch between your personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals," Dr. Leogrande wrote in a letter, according to a copy provided by Mr. McConnell. "Your registration for spring 2005 courses has been withdrawn."

    Dr. Leogrande offered to meet with Mr. McConnell, and concluded, "Best wishes in your future endeavors."

    If the letter stunned Mr. McConnell, the "best wishes" part turned him into a campaigner. A mild-mannered former private in the Army, Mr. McConnell has taken up a free-speech banner with a tireless intensity, casting himself as a transplant from a conservative state abused by political correctness in more liberal New York. He also said that because he is an evangelical Christian, his views about sparing the rod and spoiling the child flowed partly from the Bible, and that Le Moyne was "spitting on that."

    He is working with First Amendment groups to try to pressure Le Moyne into apologizing and reinstating him, and is considering legal action as well as a formal appeal to the college. He says Le Moyne misconstrued his views: he believes children should not be paddled without their parents' permission. He said that even then, the principal, as the school's head disciplinarian, should deliver the punishment.

    "Judges live in the real world, and I think they would see that Scott got an A-minus on his paper and was expressing views on a campus that supports academic freedom," said David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group based in Philadelphia that is supporting Mr. McConnell. "It's hard to see a court looking kindly on Scott's expulsion."

    Dr. Leogrande did not respond to telephone messages. Le Moyne's provost, John Smarrelli, said the college had the right as a private institution to take action against Mr. McConnell because educators had grave concerns about his qualifications to teach under state law.

    New York is one of 28 states that ban corporal punishment; most of those that allow it are in the South and West. Most states did not ban corporal punishment until the late 1980's, after parents, educators, and other advocates began pressing for the laws. More than 342,000 students received corporal punishment in the 1999-2000 school year, in the most recent figures from the federal Education Department.

    Because it has an accredited school of education, moreover, Le Moyne officials said that the college was required to pledge that its graduates will be effective and law-abiding teachers who will foster a healthy classroom environment.

    "We have a responsibility to certify people who will be in accordance with New York State law and the rules of our accrediting agencies," Mr. Smarrelli said. In Mr. McConnell's case, he said, "We had evidence that led us to the contrary."

    Mr. McConnell said that he had been only conditionally admitted to the graduate program; typically, such students earn full admission by earning good grades and meeting other requirements. Mr. McConnell added that he had earned mostly A's and his fate rested largely on his November paper.

    Mr. Smarrelli said that the paper itself was "legitimate" and "reasonable," because the assignment sought Mr. McConnell's plan for managing a classroom. Yet Mr. McConnell's views were clearly not in the mainstream of most teachers' colleges.

    For example, many educators focus on nurturing students' self-esteem, but Mr. McConnell scoffed at that idea in his paper. He said he would not favor some students over others, regardless of any special needs some might have.

    "I will help the child understand that respect of authority figures is more important than their self-esteem," he wrote.

    Some professors and college officials were also concerned that Mr. McConnell wrote that he opposed multiculturalism, a teaching method that places emphasis on non-Western cultures.

    In an interview, Mr. McConnell said he disliked "anti-American multiculturalism," and gave as an example a short story on the Sept. 11 attacks intended for classroom use. The story, published in a teachers' magazine in 2002 by the National Council for the Social Studies, was about young American boys teasing an Iraqi boy named Osama.

    Mr. Smarrelli said Le Moyne had to ensure that its students had the judgment, aptitude, temperament and other skills to succeed in challenging their students.

    But Dr. Smarrelli acknowledged that Le Moyne had not warned students like Mr. McConnell that they could be removed for expressing controversial beliefs, nor had the college said that education students must oppose corporal punishment or support multiculturalism.

    Joseph P. Frey, the assistant commissioner for quality assurance in the New York State Education Department, who monitors colleges and graduate schools, said he could not offer an opinion on the McConnell case because he did not know the specifics.

    Mr. Frey said: "One valid question is, 'Is the paper an academic exercise in terms of theories of education, or is it a belief that this is how Mr. McConnell will carry out corporal punishment in the classroom no matter what?' "

    Mr. Frey added, however, that private colleges have broad latitude in accepting or rejecting students. And he said that graduate education schools might face a threat to their accreditation, or legal action by school districts, if they produce teachers who fall into trouble.

    During an interview at the kitchen table in the comfortable suburban home he shares with his wife, Liz, a dentist, Mr. McConnell said he had wanted to instill civic virtues in students in the same way his teachers had in him.

    As a child, he moved from Texas to Florida and then to Oklahoma as his mother pursued failed marriages to "bad men," he said. Teachers became a source of stability and life lessons. They taught him to read, to respect others, and to serve his country by inspiring him to join the Army.

    "Because I didn't talk and think the same way that Le Moyne did, because I didn't drink their Kool-Aid, I received the ultimate punishment," Mr. McConnell said. "Corporal punishment is nothing compared to this."
    Link to the article from today's New York Times

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    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    By the way....if it wasn't clear already, I support McConnell in his attempt to make his views known, but personally take issue with his beliefs.

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    Senior Member BilltheButcher's Avatar
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    My wife is a teacher and her entire family are teachers, and three of them went to Lemoyne. It is very weird to hear the stories that go on with the kids today. I am amazed that the stuff goes on, middle school kids doing it in the bathrooms, kids sucker punching teachers, kids calling teachers f*gots etc.etc. The funny thing is, nothing really bad happens to these kids. the kids that are the trouble makers, come from families that could care less about them. THe parents wait for the schools to do something wrong so they can sue them and get their meal ticket. My wife works for a school district in the South, very poor area, we probably bought new sneakers for half the class this year. It is near impossible to discipline her students b/c the first thing the parents say when it comes to meetings is well what happen to their kid, why were they acting like that, and it is constantly inferred that it is a racial thing. Thankfully, this is her last few months teaching, (having first kid this summer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BilltheButcher
    My wife is a teacher and her entire family are teachers, and three of them went to Lemoyne. It is very weird to hear the stories that go on with the kids today. I am amazed that the stuff goes on, middle school kids doing it in the bathrooms, kids sucker punching teachers, kids calling teachers f*gots etc.etc. The funny thing is, nothing really bad happens to these kids. the kids that are the trouble makers, come from families that could care less about them. THe parents wait for the schools to do something wrong so they can sue them and get their meal ticket. My wife works for a school district in the South, very poor area, we probably bought new sneakers for half the class this year. It is near impossible to discipline her students b/c the first thing the parents say when it comes to meetings is well what happen to their kid, why were they acting like that, and it is constantly inferred that it is a racial thing. Thankfully, this is her last few months teaching, (having first kid this summer).
    My wife is an elementary teacher, and I agree... I can't believe the things that go on, even at an elementary level. When I was growing up, if my parents got a call from a teacher about something that happened at school, I knew I was in deep ****. But I am dumbfounded when my wife tells me about having to talk to a parent about their kid's behavior issues and the parent immediately jumps to the defense of the kid. Are you guys familiar with the colored bracelets kids wear, where each color signifies a different sexual act? There was a 6th grade student in my wife's class who would wear them halfway up his forearm and constantly play with them while in class. She made him take them off because they were becoming such a distraction. That night, she received a call from an angry mother, demanding to know why her son couldn't wear the bracelets at school. When my wife calmly explained not only the distraction factor, but what the bracelets signify, the parent said it was bull**** and her son could wear them if he wanted to.

    Here's something else I've learned. Pysical development rates are out of control. Did you know that girls are starting puberty around 3rd and 4th grade? It's no wonder all these little kids are sexually active.

    Kids are completely out of control. There needs to be some sort of qualifying exam before adults are allowed to reproduce... like everyone is born sterile and are given the antidote upon passing the exam. Then we wouldn't have people living in trailers with 12 kids (not exagerating) or siblings with the same mother and different fathers.

    This whole issue really gets me going... it's not a bad thing for a kid to be scared ****less of discipline. This whole "go-sit-in-the-corner-and-think-about-what-you've-done" approach does nothing but teach kids that there are no consequences to their actions. Put a little fear in 'em.
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  5. #5
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Those crazy liberal Christ-hating anti-American Jesuits!

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  6. #6
    Down with the Sickness
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    Paddling is ok in my eyes, if my son got out of line inschool i would want to be called first if it happened again then take him to the office and paddle his ass. Of course it would have to be controlled and on his hiney, nothing psycho like hitting his head or just barraging him with a beating. I think kids need that these days, this psycho babble bull**** doesn't seem to work that the "experts" say will.

  7. #7
    System's BiAtch! _8_Ball's Avatar
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    I think most kids these days need a good beatdown...

    BUT, unfortunetly, it's all because of lazy parenting... so the Parents need to be killed, while the kids are getting a beatdown...

    Seriously though, I'm SOOO tired of this "think of the children" mentality...

    Your thoughts?

    8

  8. #8
    Banned phreak's Avatar
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    Have parents sign a release form for their kids' admission to a school, stating that if the kids do something wrong then the parents will be fined. Result: parents will have an incentive again to discipline their children.

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    now we're talking...

    "Well Billy, we are still paying off your detentions...no new clothes this summer"

    we don't have to hit kids to get through to them

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    Down with the Sickness
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    Phreak you have a very good idea and they can use that money to put new computers books and such into the education system. That would be awesome, for detentin it is 150.00 for suspension it is 150.00 a day. Man the parents would really start beating and reprimanding their kids how they should.

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    Too Beaucoup -sin-'s Avatar
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    My grandfather was a principal at a local high school in the 60's. He called his paddle "the board of education".
    Last edited by -sin-; 03-11-2005 at 05:03 PM.

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    big pimpin biggimp's Avatar
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    i also find it surprising how many people nowadays think spanking is like child abuse. i was at walmart the other day, and some lady spanked her kid for crying and acting like an idiot. well then some other lady comes up and starts yelling at her, telling her she should call the cops for child abuse!!! wtf???
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    the swing of things today on issues like this really ticks me off... yes, there are ways to punish kids without beating them, but these days its like people dont even punish them. a good alternative to beating children is to destroy their favorite toy in front of them.


    *idiot kid*: daddy daddy, i want the new playhouse for my barbie!!
    *cool dad*: now honey, a lot of kids dont even have barbies [snatches barbie away] LIKE YOU![breaks it in half and hands it back]
    Last edited by jack_of_all; 03-13-2005 at 06:43 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by -sin-
    My grandfather was a principal at a local high school in the 60's. He called his paddle "the board of education".
    yep, and it's applied to the "seat of learning."

    I don't even know where to start. People's thinking is so messed up and backwards. I am normally not a pessimist, but I wonder if there is any hope of salvaging our public schools when teaching college's are so clueless.

    I have a brother, 2 sisters-in-law, a step-sister, and a step-mother who are or were public school teachers. They are/were all very good, but the lack of parental sanity and classroom discipline is driving many good teachers out of the classroom.

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