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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Spanks for the memories!

Editor’s Notebook: Spanks for the memories!

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It’s an easy crutch, going back into the local-history file, but a fun one nonetheless, and we’ll start with one from this coming week in 1958, from the pages of the Northern Virginia Sun.

The House of Delegates voted 75-5 to permit teachers to spank students, according to coverage. Apparently the measure simply ratified some existing practice, as, according to the article, Fairfax County allowed the whacking of miscreants, although Arlington did not.

As one who received the occasional rap on the bottom from my mother (the enforcer in the family) through my formative years, I personally have no problem with the concept of spanking when practiced intra-family and with some degree of proportionality. (Send your hate mail elsewhere …)

That said, I’m not sure I would have been in favor of teachers having the power to whack away with corporal punishment. Seems one step too far, and sort of outside their job description.


AND THEY’RE ABOUT TO DO IT AGAIN: An issue of the Sun from back this time of year in 1949 notes that Arlington’s first school union has been formed.

And with the Arlington County Board and School Board about to embark on collective bargaining again, sane voices everywhere channel their inner Sheriff Buford T. Justice: “Oh, you can think about it, but doooooooon’t do it.”

But they’re going to, of course. Will give them a momentary sugar high and enable them to write a press release about how noble they are. Then they’ll have to live with the ramifications … at least until the General Assembly steps in, as it has before, and resumes the ban on collective bargaining by state- and local-government employees.

Lather, rinse, repeat, politics-style.

SEEMS RATHER SANE: One of my favorite local-history items come from this time of year in 1993, when the Northern Virginia Sun reported that the General Assembly approved legislation that, for the first time, made it a crime to carry cigarettes or other smoking materials into coal mines.

Seems the prudent thing to do.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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