‘Should Student Athletes Be Paddled?' Um, No

There are a few things that I'm convinced happen only on episodes of cable cop shows. Stuff like, say, when a boyfriend finds out his girlfriend is really a man, and then kills her, and then the family kills the boyfriend, and only the intuitive nature and scientific skills of the show's detectives can solve the whole sordid mess. That stuff doesn't happen in real life. Does it?

Another thing I was pretty sure people didn't even do anymore: spank their kids. The notion that corporal punishment is somehow a more effective means of disciplining a child seems antiquated and morally fuzzy, at best, and abusive at worst. But I'm not a parent, so I don't really know. Do people still spank their kids?

They may not, but their coaches might. According to this Chicago Sun-Times story, which we linked to earlier this morning, a volleyball player at Simeon High School was, for the grave crime of missing serves during a game, paddled by his coach. After the player came forward to report the incident, the coach was fired, the paddle was presumably brought low, and the player was ostracized by teammates and fans to the point that he had to quit the team.

Now there's an initiative by Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan to "fire any coach" who violently punishes his players. Well, yes. This is one of these things where a rule, or an initiative, or anything of the sort seems superfluous. Of course a coach like that should be fired. Spanking one's own children, while questionable, is one thing. Beating another's -- for the cost of high school athletics, no less -- is so plainly wrong it almost belies explanation.

So, aspiring high school football coaches/gym teachers/drill instructors of the world: If you read this story and find yourself getting nervous, then you should think about a different line of work. Please try not to hit anyone on your way out.

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