In their own words—young women who were paddled as teens share their experiences. (Note in this section the opening letter is taken from a middle-aged woman who is not anonymous. The rest of the quotes were taken from recent interviews of young women who were recently abused in “Christian” schools under the pretence of discipline.
| [Forced] kneeling is just another [type of physical abuse] to impose pain and suffering on someone with less power than the authority figure. I know from personal experience. I attended Catholic school from 6th through 12th grade in Jacksonville, FL. During 6-7-8th grades at St Paul's Catholic School, this was a common punishment for minor misdeeds in class. We had to kneel on the bare floor with our hands outstretched for 30-minute increments. They could easily be compounded into 1-2 hours of kneeling. If our crime was severe by the teacher’s standards, we had to suspend bibles in our outstretched hands. We were told that this was to remind us of our sins and the suffering that Jesus went through for us. Despite being a good student academically, I was a talker. I did this kneeling many times. On one such occasion, I knelt for about 3 hours (from lunch until the end of the school day at 3:00 PM). I had lost my retainer in the trash at lunch and was blocking the line to throw away trash while searching for it. At the end of the day, my legs had gone numb and I was unable to walk. I was then paddled for not leaving the room after the bell rang. Catholic school is a hidden bastion of abuse even in many "non-corporal punishment" states.|
| When we as a society chose to label pain and suffering as discipline, we are resorting to barbarism. Children deserve an education that prepares them for life without causing them to fear life itself. Surely teachers can maintain discipline and order without causing physical pain. If not, perhaps we should send the teachers back to school. Let's hope that teacher’s educators do not treat them with this level of disrespect.
--- Michaela S Curtis, RN, BS
|…they used corporal punishment regularly through all grades. It was a common method of disciplining students even for minor offences such as dress code, running in the hall, talking in class, tardies and so on, plus poor grades or a low score on a test, and of course more serious misdemeanours like smoking, profanity or cutting class. You were not given any options.|
| There wasn’t a day that went by probably without someone getting licks.|
| [The strap] was a long thick length with a handle and it stung real bad when they hit you with it. They used it on your butt, skirt up, on your panties. Most times you had to lie over a high stool in the office, but if it was serious you got taken to the gym and put over a trestle for more licks. Afterwards you prayed with the person who punished you and the witness.|
| I have a friend … who went on fall camp with our church. Camp rules include the strap. It was given by Father Smith in the office. Katie got licks twice when she was 16. She had to bend over a chair. She was told to pull her jeans down and was hit on the butt. Father Smith did the beating and Father Anderson and someone else (a female) witnessed. Katie said she got 6 licks the first time and 10 licks the second. I also nearly got the strap in 1998 but another girl owned up. So I have not had the strap. It was Bible study camp and spiritual classes. They do a lot of singing and team activity things.|