Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, wooden canes were used to enforce discipline in the classroom. The leather strap was introduced in the 1850s, along with the hickory switch a narrow branch of green wood, often cut by the student in trouble. By the 1890s the paddle was introduced and usually kept within sight behind the teachers desk. The threat of these devices was used as a motivator for students to behave in school.
Todays schools no longer use such instruments to enforce discipline. In most states, corporal punishment is not permitted, and it is rarely used where it is permitted. Educators employ a variety of discipline measures, from revoking recess privileges to suspending or expelling the student from school. Because a disruptive student can interfere with all students learning, modern behavioral modification methods attempt to address underlying reasons or motivations for student misbehavior and tailor consequences to fit the transgression. School administrators seek to encourage a positive association with school along with socially acceptable behavior.
Then & Now: