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Corpun file 24072 at www.corpun.com
Houma Courier, Louisiana, 10 July 2012
Local schools end last vestiges of corporal punishment
By Matthew Albright
The Terrebonne Parish School Board voted last week to eliminate its policies for corporal punishment, removing the last vestiges of the practice from the Houma-Thibodaux area.
Corporal punishment is the disciplinary tactic of using pain -- paddling, spanking, etc. -- to discourage behavior.
School officials say the move is largely procedural -- schools stopped actually using corporal punishment years ago, so the board simply eliminated the policy.
"We decided a long time ago that corporal punishment is something that, if it is used, should be done by a parent," said Superintendent Philip Martin. "It sends a lot of bad signals to kids about school."
Lafourche moved to eliminate its policies last year, said spokesman Floyd Benoit.
"We got rid of our policy on that about a year ago, but we haven't actually done it for years," Benoit said.
The Houma-Thibodaux Diocese's schools also haven't used corporal punishment for "a very long time," Superintendent Marian Fertitta said.
Corporal punishment is on the decline nationally. Whereas it was once nearly universal, only 19 states now allow paddling in schools, according to the Center for Effective Discipline.
Most developed nations also ban the practice.
The punishment's popularity has decreased as experts increasingly disapprove. Many child psychologists and psychiatrists oppose corporal punishment, saying the practice can disrupt children's development and set a bad example.
Those experts also say corporal punishment doesn't necessarily even work. Martin, who once administered corporal punishment himself as a principal, said that's been his experience.
"I came to the conclusion on my own that this simply does not work," Martin said. "In terms of impacting behavior, I found it really didn't."
Martin said the school's disciplinary records don't show an increase in suspensions or expulsions after schools stopped paddling students. If anything, the number has decreased over the years.
Benoit also pointed out that the school board started facing an increasing number of lawsuits from angry parents before corporal punishment was stopped.
"With all the lawsuits we were getting, we decided it would be best if we turned toward alternate ways of doing discipline," Benoit said.
Still, many local residents say corporal punishment is a necessary way of keeping kids in line. They argue schools suffer because of unruly students who disrupt class.
"Paddling worked for years to get children in line who might not have good guidance at home," wrote Judson Smith on Facebook. "Paddling worked when parents didn't."
Some parents think other, less intense disciplinary measures, like suspension or detention, aren't as effective.
"That's a big problem with today's youth. They act up and do whatever in school because all they'll get is suspended or detention," wrote Steve Detiveaux. "While I never received a paddling in school, I remember hearing kids in the hall get one, and that was enough right there to keep me out of trouble."
Other parents said they're not opposed to corporal punishment, but they don't think the schools should be responsible for administering it.
"I don't think it's the school's place to hit a child; it's a parenting issue," wrote Melissa Lirette. "I always told the school the same thing most parents tell schools: if my child is misbehaving at school, contact me and I will discipline him."
Others say they're against corporal punishment altogether.
"I'm sorry, but physical punishment has no place in a school," wrote Justin Ward. "It's barbaric, and it serves no purpose other than to teach children that the most effective way to get what you want is to physically attack someone until you get it."
Copyright © 2012 HoumaToday.com -- All rights reserved.
Corpun file 24071 at www.corpun.com
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, 27 July 2012
Jefferson Parish public schools formally drop their policy on using the paddle
By Mark Waller, The Times-Picayune
The Jefferson Parish School Board this week scrapped a mostly vestigial policy that spelled out how educators can use the paddle as a discipline strategy. Educators said they no longer endorse corporal punishment in schools and that they found only one example of a Jefferson public school using it in the last few years.
"We do have a policy in our district that allows corporal punishment, and we do allow it within certain parameters in our elementary and middle schools," Richard Carpenter, deputy superintendent for instruction, told School Board members in a meeting Wednesday.
"These types of actions or consequences are better done at home," he said. "It's a parent decision. It's just existing on our books and we thought we should address something that we no longer believe in."
Before Wednesday's board vote repealing it, the policy stated, "that corporal punishment shall be defined as not more than three swats on the buttocks with a paddle. Elementary and middle school principals and assistant principals may administer reasonable corporal punishment with prior written consent of the parent/legal guardian, in the presence of a witness, after other reasonable means of disciplining the student have been attempted."
Carpenter said a survey of elementary and middle schools found only one elementary campus that used the paddle one time over a three-year period.
He said the schools haven't received any complaints or discovered problems with corporal punishment being used. The board's policy repeal, however, said it "sends an inappropriate and inaccurate message that our system condones the use of physical force."
"The message we wish to send to our students is that violence is not an acceptable means of solving problems," the document says.
The issue of corporal punishment flared up in 2010 and 2011 at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans after the Catholic Josephite Order that owns the school called for an end to a longtime tradition of using the paddle there. Archbishop Gregory Aymond joined in insisting that the practice must stop because it defied Catholic values.
That sparked protests and resistance from parents, alumni and St. Augustine officials, who argued that the paddle was a signature feature in a character-building regimen that helped produce years of successful graduates.
An ensuing legal dispute ended late last year with the installation of a new leadership structure and the permanent banning of corporal punishment at St. Augustine.
© 2012 NOLA.com. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 24080 at www.corpun.com
The Crossville Chronicle, Tennessee, 31 July 2012
Corporal punishment change gets nod
By Heather Mullinix
CROSSVILLE -- A proposed policy change on how parents can opt
out of corporal punishment in the school system passed on first
reading by the Cumberland County Board of Education Thursday.
© 2012 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
Three-minute news segment from local TV station WATE-TV, Knoxville TN (26 July 2012) on the above decision. A member of the school board speaks in support of the change from "opting in" to "opting out", particularly in order to reduce paperwork. He is followed by the one school board member who opposes CP altogether. Parents say they have no problem with it.
HERE IS THE CLIP:
IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.
Corpun file 24074 at www.corpun.com
Enterprise-Journal, McComb, Mississippi, 31 July 2012
McComb schools tweak discipline, phone policies
By Karen Freeman
With a new school year's beginning just days away, McComb School District Superintendent Therese Palmertree said she's looking forward to pivotal growth in all schools in the district.
When the school board met on July 17, Palmertree thanked trustees for their vision and support of the administration.
Palmertree called on parents to do their part. "Make sure kids are here and on time. This will be a major focus this year."
Maintaining discipline also is key, and this month, trustees approved a revised corporal punishment policy.
Under the policy, a principal or assistant principal may paddle a student -- as long as there is parental or guardian approval and a certified school employee witnesses the punishment.
Palmertree said she wants to make certain that if parents change their minds concerning corporal punishment, the school has those decisions on record.
Otken Elementary School principal Camita Nobles said some in the community were concerned that the McComb School District "spared the rod, so to speak," and had put together a petition for the district to use corporal punishment if necessary. Nobles said a group of pastors and others behind the petition wanted to know why punishment was not an option. "They wanted their voices to be heard."
Palmertree said corporal punishment was never taken away as a policy in the district, which backs positive behavior support and intervention.
"We'll try this this year," she said. "We want to keep children in school ... We'll monitor behavior and stay on top of it."
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