-By Alden Roosevelt

A 12-Year-Old Reporter Speaks Out on Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

  It is well known among my friends, family, and readership that I have been on a mission to stop corporal punishment in public schools. So, it was no surprise when a relevant article in the Wall Street Journal hit the news, that they all sent it to me.  It has come to my attention that Cassville County School District in Missouri, has recently made this topic come to light by sending forms home to parents asking for permission to beat their children. I am working on a letter to the Missouri governor concerning corporal punishment, though to my understanding it is not Governor Mike Parson who did this, it is the school district and I will do everything in my power to bring the importance of changing this old law to the governor’s attention. Hopefully he can make this practice illegal in Missouri.

It has also come to my attention that a principal in Florida, in a school district that claims not to tolerate corporal punishment, was caught on camera beating a six-year-old girl with a wooden paddle. The girl accidentally scratched a school computer. The principal allegedly called the child’s mother over to pay $50 for the damaged computer. Since the mom couldn’t speak any English, the mother secretly recorded the principal beating the child. The principal has not been fired, but is under investigation. In my opinion, if the mother had hit the principal the mother would be arrested. The principal has committed assault and battery, and in my personal point of view, should lose her job.

If I had children, I would certainly have second thoughts about leaving them with someone who had hit a child before. I don’t know him yet, but I bet Governor DeSantis wouldn’t like coming home from the Governor’s Ball to find that his babysitter had hit his kids for acting up in his absence, or breaking something by accident.  

This has upset me greatly. It is such a shame that the law supports this kind of abuse, and there are still 19 states in the USA who actively practice corporal punishment including Florida, though, supposedly not in Hendry County District, where the incident occurred.

Along with a handful of others, one of the governors I’ve written to is Governor DeSantis. I had hoped to get him to include getting rid of corporal punishment in schools, as part of his Bill of Parental Rights in Education. Surely it must be in a parent’s rights to know if their child is getting physically abused in school? On the bright side, at least the parents in Cassville Missouri School District get the chance to know what is happening to their kids at school. They actually have a say in whether they want to participate, or not. Most of these practices are happening rampantly and in the dark, without parent’ss’ knowledge, or consent.  I’m glad this issue is getting mainstream attention finally.

In response to my first published article three years ago, I received a letter from a journalist who pointed out that most of the 19 States in question were red States. However, at the same time, a republican woman wrote a heartfelt letter to me. She wondered whether if her father, a prominent attorney, had never beat her, if she would have lived a happier, more fulfilling life.  She was against corporal punishment in schools.

Alden Roosevelt Photo by Tim Birchby


We have to get past this red state, blue state division that does not serve us as a Commonwealth. Partisan also means a 16thth century weapon with a long shaft and a broad blade. We should put the weapons down and use the tools of reasoning instead. We need unity. A divided country can get nothing done and is ripe for conquering.  We shouldn’t be The Divided States of America.

I can only imagine what is happening in States like Georgia that allow such treatment. I want to go to the States with my friends who feel the same way as I do, and raise awareness like I did in DC. In all branches of the United States government and all work forces, corporal punishment is illegal, so I ask anyone listening, should children in schools be any different? 

A society can be seen clearly by how it treats it’s young and its elders. This should resonate across party lines. Our country is reckoning with its grave mistakes of yesteryear like slavery. When we look back on this treatment of children, I believe we will see yet another failure of empathy and humanity. 

Maybe there should be a kid’s cabinet to act as a moral compass when the grown-ups lose their way? We’d have to choose some stalwart children, who wouldn’t fall prey to the corporate candy lobbyists. 

If you know a governor, or happen to be a governor please let me know so we can work together and talk about this issue. Please spread the word about Westview News, and my article. Thank you, and have a great week!

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11 thoughts on “Misery in Missouri

    • Author gravatar

      There is a difference between spanking a child and beating a child.

      • Author gravatar

        Assault by any other name is still assault…

      • Author gravatar

        Go spank your coworkers and tell us how the resulting charges differ from any other method of assaulting them.
        You measure morality in the level of physical pain but you are not subject to the humiliation of such discipline in your work or home. Additionally children cannot choose to leave an abusive or humiliating environment, but you could. Imagine just the knowledge that you could be restrained and touched inappropriately against your will at any time, how would it affect your trust in authority?

    • Author gravatar

      Chances are if his parents were raised in MO. they faced the same punishment as he complains about today. I’m 73 now and I also faced the possibility and my have times changed, I don’t remember any school shootings then like now. I’d bet more kids finished high school too. You failed to recognize there is an alternative, behave in school and follow the rules so there’s no corporal punishment (paddling). I don’t even consider it corporal punishment. Act right and you’ll all be fine, it’s simple. Let adults run the world and the schools. What happens in schools affects many many more people in the long run. Schools shape our future citizens! I’m sure we all want to live with good citizens.

    • Author gravatar

      I think that if we had more spankings in schools and less participation awards the schools would be in better shape. Students who really want to learn should not have to be subjected to bully’s and little 12 year old girls who don’t know their rears from a hole in the ground except for what mommy and daddy tells them. There is a difference between spanking and beating!

    • Author gravatar

      When I was in the first grade, I didn’t do my phonics. After the first day, I was warned that I could get swats. I didn’t do them the next day either. Nor were they completed on the third day. I was given 3 swats, with a paddle, in the hallway, by my teacher. Her name was Mrs. Rickner. My parents didn’t get bent out of shape. No articles were written about it. But, do you know what it did accomplish? I did my phonics from then on. It doesn’t matter if it happened in Washington or new York. If you steal a car and the punishment is jail, but mommy and daddy don’t like it, does it mean the punishment should change? No. Mrs. Rickner didn’t beat me. Mrs. Rickner gave me 3 swats. I’m sure the child was not beaten, as you so adamantly claim. If punishment is earned, then punishment is due.

    • Author gravatar

      Thank you Alden for taking the time to write this thoughtful article. It gives me hope for our future when I see a young person like yourself truly understanding the meaning of morality and how we need to restore it immediately if we want to exist in a civilized world. I agree that children should not be beaten in school or anywhere for that matter. Keep speaking up and bringing light to the things that matter to you. May we all follow your good example.

    • Author gravatar

      Terrible that institutions have continued this practice! Truly archaic

    • Author gravatar

      I feel if more schools gave paddlings to students they might straighting up.Seems like parents can’t swat there kids or DHS is called on the parents.We didn’t have this problem when I was growing up.There was no school shootings kids got there swats at school they didn’t get beat like there calling it know.Back in the day if kids got in fight they fought it out went to principle office nite sent home to parents. Kids just got it out of there systems everything was fine after that. Parents need to start discipline there kids at home first!

    • Author gravatar

      I don’t think a lot of people understand the trauma that comes with being hit– especially by somebody who is supposed to care about you (whether that’s a parent, teacher, etc). Often children deemed “unruly” are the ones that don’t fit in with social expectations. they need compassion, not physical punishments. Way to go Alden!

    • Author gravatar

      I second a children’s cabinet to be our compass. If only that level of morality and purity led the way…

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