“Opt-In Policy” | Missouri School District Welcomes Return of Corporal Punishment

Sheena Monster
9 min readAug 28, 2022

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Opinion | Controversial Perspective

Don’t come for me…

I didn’t sit down to write this. I sat down to scroll through some TikTok before I leave to buy ingredients to make dog food. I know what you’re thinking, but no. My for-your-page is not dancing trends or even epic fails; there are some adorable and hilarious kid or animal videos strewed about. Mostly, though, my fyp is artists and breaking news updates; corruption and predators caught on live-stream. Some of you may be thinking that getting my news from Tiktok defeats the purpose of the app; I would have to argue that you’re missing the broader picture. The way many only know a small image of a much larger painting masterpiece. For me, social media is grossly misused by uneducated, depressed, and impoverished populations. The overworked working class, the loyal, and those in denial. The algorithm used to individualized your experience is designed by capitalists who benefit from consumption. [That means they do not turn a profit if you’re learning and growing and building a life that you actually want, they only profit if you remain broken down. But we knew that part already.]

Everything from the length of the videos to the content and ad integrity is strategically based on what you choose to consume. So, if you’re clicking on mindlessly entertaining trends, that’s what you’ll see — which seems fantastic at first. Then you find yourself stuck in hours-long trancelike states, numb to the world around you and confused about where the time went — or it keeps you in a pattern of avoidance, perpetuating the misery and mental illness you claim to loathe. The pattern repeats until the cycle breaks. That’s one of the first things they [should] teach you in therapy. Granted, some people will read this and roll their eyes and shrug me off. That’s fine; those paying attention will take notice — that’s how change happens. Someone wakes up and decides to walk against the crowd, consciously making each decision — they do their shadow work. Those few take note and make changes within themselves, then they find others who also have and many more who have not [but may after meeting them]. Not every seed planted will grow. I am told that is also okay, though I find it bothersome.

Source: Getty

I digress —

Tiktok is not the point here; the content is. I choose to watch breaking news and listen to the heartfelt perspectives of individuals outside of myself so that I can shape myself accordingly. Not to the standards of others, to my own — which is harder to achieve for some people; I’ve learned to keep my bar higher than many will bother to reach for. I don’t watch trash tv if I watch tv at all. I don’t invite people into my presence unless I believe their presence will enrich the experience. Thus far, the only people to disagree with that philosophy have meant to harm my peace; they’ve disrespected my boundaries, they’ve lied, and betrayed my trust — they’ve abused my compassion. I can’t say I’m missing out on anything of value by not having them in my life.

So, I learn from those with perspectives different from mine and watch news untainted by the corporate media. I allow my ego to accept and receive the messages expressed by those from the cultural backgrounds schools steer away from — yes, black history, but not solely. I follow native activists, latinx, one of the girls I follow teaches Chinese with her platform; I found her page the same day a friend from Italy mentioned he would like to learn Chinese [there’s that algorithm again…]. I watch things that keep me informed. I watch to learn something new; I stay tuned in to offer support to those that feel like their cries are falling on deaf ears. I listen to people who hate everything they think they know about me. Not everything they say is worthwhile, and I have gotten pretty good at weeding out what won’t serve my personal growth in less than three minutes. I reach for what motivates, for what nurtures growth. I follow what offers the life I want. Social media made it really easy to learn what people are thinking. The words they speak [and lip sync] say a lot about their environment, past and present. I pay attention to what they endorse because it helps me avoid the dangerous and damaging and be a better version of myself, to help leave a better world for your children. Because it’s our responsibility as decent human beings to understand those around us, at least enough to coexist without altercation. There is peace in unity, and a middle ground can be achieved — the obstacle is ego. Ego cannot be killed, but it does need to be reconciled. Two candles can burn side by side, and neither will steal the other’s light.

Source: Getty

These aren’t even my kids

I do not have children — primarily by choice, a kiss from the gods to seal the deal. People either fill with sympathy or assume I don’t like kids; both lack perspective. See, I love kids — paying attention to children helps adults understand the consequences of their actions, which probably explains why they feel the need to stifle innocence and self-love. I have seen some super toxic parenting advice online, and my opinion is always deemed ill-informed. Never mind that I spend almost all of my “free” time studying the products of adverse childhood experiences, or that I have decided to pursue special interests academically and professionally — or that I am the product of childhood trauma. Still, in their humble opinion, I lack perspective. It could never be that they’re too close to appreciate the pattern. [Funny, it always comes back to ego…]

None of this is to say that parents do not care about their children; I’m sure most toxic parenting habits are born out of love. That doesn’t make it any less damaging. So, if you genuinely love your kids and want what’s best for them, please swallow hard and have a seat. All I want here is to make one thing abundantly clear. People like me care about your children. We want your children to grow into healthy adults with ambition and a legitimate chance at success. Not thirty-five thousand a year in a red state, working in a career they hate or a profession that hardly pays enough to afford the finer things and student loans. No, I want your child to have to audacity to believe they deserve success so brilliant and unique they surprise you; I want them to have the security of self to embody their sincerest, purest happiness. Children don’t ask to be here anymore than women now have the right to choose to carry them, and they should not be forced to appreciate the toxicity of generational trauma. Verbal abuse is not love; abandonment is not love — neglect is not love.

Some of those who call themselves parents dim the shine of a bright bundle of stardust and then shame them into their grave for not meeting impossible standards created for their life — from their “superior” perspective. After they’re gone, those parents sing “Oh, woe is me” while asking people how anyone could be so selfish — you should ask yourself what could have caused them so much pain. Truth be told, aversion to disappointing our parents is biologically ingrained. We are genetically programmed to adhere to their guidance and to seek their approval; not because they’re correct hell, half the time, they didn’t even plan the pregnancy — even if they chose it. There is a great deal of unlearning and learning involved in healing from the damage of toxic parenting — many people never recover.

Source: Getty

Corporal Punishment breeds social decay

While scrolling through Tiktok this morning, I landed on a video addressing a ruling in the Midwest that baffled my mind, so much so that it inspired this rambling.

“A southwestern Missouri school district says it will allow students to be spanked if parents give their permission”

I suggest an in-depth investigation into every family that condones corporal punishment, and I question the integrity of every educator perpetrating this gross misuse of authority. In ten minutes, you can find hundreds if not thousands of studies that show why this is a bad idea — I got 114,000 results in 0.11 seconds; google scholar is free.

Something tells me that this is going to backfire. We already have a record number of school shootings, more than two-thousand active serial killers [that’s a national estimate, not global]. We exist in a decades-long mental health crisis, exacerbated by a persistent pandemic that people seem to think is over [it’s not, and add on monkeypox; not a sexually transmitted infection]. Now, you want to spank children ill-equipped to respond to their emotions whilst also existing in all this chaos? Chaos wholly perpetuated by adults, mind you.

Don’t get it twisted; I also do not condone helicopter parenting or sheltering your children with falsehoods and fallacies that leave them naïve to reality. One extreme in exchange for another is a ludicrous practice. Santa Clause may exist, but so too does Krampus. The idea is balance. Of course, this concept doesn’t pad the pockets of the rich, and their brainwashed would-be apprentices carry all the angst and gusto to add smoke to their house of mirrors.

Yes, kids need to learn boundaries; this means they have to learn to accept the word no, and that it’s okay to use it. As parents, it is your job to equip your children with the coping skills needed to build and maintain healthy boundaries. It is also your responsibility to teach them how to respect the boundaries of others. This cannot be done by forcing your perspective on others or attempting to change who they are. Changing their core is the exact opposite of what should happen. Children are a product of their environment — that doesn’t mean they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes, but they are likely to adopt parallel toxic patterns. Children and adolescents learn from what adults do and how we react and respond to minor inconveniences and significant life events. Children hear our words and decide what to do with them based on their experiences and their perceptions. Identity crises are born in masking our authentic selves to accommodate the community we as adults choose to create.

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

Don’t take my word for it…

Education is supposed to be considerably more than regurgitated information based on a whitewashed perspective of history. The idea that librarians are quitting their jobs, removing books from shelves, disallowed to suggest controversial titles is disconcerting. The possibility that we as a nation have clung so hard to resentment that we cannot see what is happening is overwhelming. Label me as you will, but do yourself a favour and at least self-study until the anger no longer burns like fire in your chest. Learn and transform yourself into a saviour of humanity worthy of the authority of parenthood. Read things that hurt your feelings, then unpack why you feel so bruised. Act and speak with intention, not for the sake of tradition but your children. Your words carry weight, and their impact lasts a lifetime.

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