MSNBC Anchor Paddles Catholic School Over Corporal Punishment

MSNBC's Richard Lui questioned and generally disagreed with a St. Augustine High School alum who supported the school's 60 year tradition of corporal punishment – paddling – in a story MSNBC apparently thinks merits national attention.

Before the most recent school year, St. Augustine's, a Catholic high school in New Orleans, did away with corporal punishment after the Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond quietly voiced concerns about it with school officials. The archdiocese had actually forbade Catholic schools from using corporal punishment for years, but St. Augustine's kept with its paddling tradition.

The controversy is not over, as the majority of participants in a recent townhall discussion – alumni, teachers, parents, and students – actually supported corporal punishment as a means of character formation. Administration of paddling as punishment is featured in the guidebook given to parents before each school year, and they reportedly consent to it. Alumni have voiced their support of it in the past and even now. Yet MSNBC's Lui thought himself educated enough on the matter to comment on it.

Lui began by asking innocuous questions, although he was clearly concerned about the form of  punishment. When Reese clarified that the paddles were the size a fraternity might have used in the past for hazing, Lui responded that "that does not bring up good connotations when you bring up that example."

"Now a New Orleans Archbishop said here Judge, that there's some research out there that shows violence basically fosters violence. It's probably the last thing you want," Lui provocatively told Reese. When Reese concluded that the discipline was "successful" in forming good young men, Lui added that the punishment was "very debatable, as well."  


Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014