May 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Real Star Headline: “Rockhurst High used paddling for discipline”

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If any more proof were needed of the Kansas City Star’s flaming anti-Catholic prejudice, reporters Katy Bergen and Mara Rose Williams served up evidence aplenty with an article about “paddling” at Rockhurst High that reads like something out of the Onion.

Oh, by the way, the paddling incident took place more than 50 years ago. The reporters are likely too young to know any better, but everyone got paddled more than 50 years ago. Although Rockhurst High abandoned corporal punishment years ago, many public schools still paddle students. The horror!

According to the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children: “19 states in the US still paddle children with boards in public schools. . . . Each year, conservatively 166,807 children are paddled, spanked or otherwise struck by public school faculty.” Those 19 states include Kansas and Missouri.

The Missouri law, which is typical, reads as follows:  “If the district uses corporal punishment as a form a discipline, the local board of education must adopt a policy regarding the use and administration of corporal punishment. This policy may also address the question of whether a parent will be notified prior to the use of corporal punishment or whether the parent may elect an alternative form of student discipline (usually out-of-school suspension).”

The pain was “excruciating” says “Change Agent” Kelly Gerling.

Not knowing anything about anything and apparently having no adult editors, the Star reporters wrote this story with the breathless fervor of Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate. Their deep throat is Kelly Gerling, a 64-year-old Seattle psychologist. Curiously, Gerling makes no mention of Rockhurst on his Facebook page. He lists himself as having gone to “Bishop Miege High School.”

A former Rockhurst president has sent Gerling a note of apology. The bishop of the diocese offered to meet with him, but that is not enough for the aggrieved “Change Agent.”

“He wants a public apology extended to the Rockhurst High School community,” say the reporters with what appear to be straight faces. “One that includes both a permanent record and some kind of reparation for the church’s history of corporal punishment, such as Virginia’s resolution disavowing slavery or Boston Archbishop Bernard Law’s plea for forgiveness from sexual abuse victims.”

One smells a class action suit brewing here. This suit should be laughed out of any court in which a judge is aware of the difference–however trivial–between paddling an errant teen and shackling a captured African, sending him on a hellish voyage across the Atlantic, and selling him into slavery.

From his Facebook page one gets the impression that Gerling is an off-the-shelf Seattle liberal with an odd fondness for British “progressives,” especially Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. He is big on mother earth and vapid ecumenical speakers and has called President Trump a “war criminal”–huh?–for threatening Syria. Gerling’s campaign many be as much a personal cry for help as a call for class action justice.

There is no explanation, however, for the Star’s running this ahistorical paddling nonsense other than flat out anti-Catholic bigotry. If anyone is owed an apology it is the faculty and alumni of Rockhurst High.


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