First, I will say that the foundation of a discipline policy should be based on the following criteria: 1. Tell students what your expectations are in the beginning on the first day. Tell them what to do and what not to do. Let them know what inappropriate behavior is and the penalty for misbehaving. Remind students of the rules periodically before problems arise. 2. Stress respect. Students must have respect for themselves, respect for their classmates, respect for the school, and respect for the staff. 3. Be consistent and fair. Everyone has to be treated the same. 4. When dealing with a student, be firm, but always remain calm and unemotional. Some students will try and get under your skin and rattle you. Do not let them have control over you.
At every private school I have worked at, corporal punishment was part of the discipline policy. It is at Bayou Academy, as well. However, I have not had to paddle but two students since the year began in August. I want to emphasize that discipline is really a matter of the heart. Every form of discipline should have a goal of correcting behavior and changing the heart of the individual. At the school, we are part-time shepherds of the hearts of our students, and dealing with attitudes of rebellion as early as possible is important. Every child is born with rebellion and foolishness in his heart. Biblically, the rod of correction is the standard form of discipline in God’s child-rearing system, especially for younger children. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Christian parents cannot escape the numerous biblical references to the physical discipline of children.
Perhaps, I should concentrate on how corporal punishment should be administered in a Christian school. It must never be done out of anger. There must always be an adult witness, but I want one to help guide me and give me counsel afterwards. All spankings start with a prayer: not just to touch the heart of the student, but to touch the heart of the paddler to ensure that he is just, reasonable, consistent, and tough. I know that if I communicate to a student that I am disciplining because I care about him, I eventually will start to reach their heart.
At Bayou Academy, paddling is the last resort. At times, it must be done to change the heart of a child, particularly if they have a hardened heart, have not been disciplined at home, or, if the offense warrants paddling. Proverbs 13:24 gives us a sobering truth: God says we hate our children if we refuse to discipline them biblically. It is not easy for a loving adult to discipline a student, but it is necessary. It is our greatest responsibility at a school, to nurture and guide our students. Lack of discipline shows a lack of concern for the character development of our students. Without correction, students grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and little direction to their lives. Discipline is something we do FOR a student not what we do TO a student.
Yes, I believe in Christian corporal punishment, but supplemented by having our students learn the scriptures and to seek God’s wisdom for themselves. And sometimes, that means a paddling has to be administered.