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Corpun file 24499 at www.corpun.com
The Dallas Morning News, Texas, 14 June 2013
Irving ISD's new board may bring back corporal punishment
By Avi Selk
Irving ISD's new school board has been spared a vote on the rod.
School board President Steven Jones introduced a proposal Wednesday to reinstate corporal punishment, which Irving and most other school districts around Dallas ban.
The board, which Jones' allies took over after May's election, was supposed to vote on the plan next Monday. But after word of the paddle's potential return caused a fluster, Jones yanked his proposal off the agenda late Thursday afternoon.
"It's a different world. You can't go back in time" said trustee Valerie Jones, who pushed for the district's ban on corporal punishment in 2008 and worried that overturning it would invite lawsuits. "I'd be interested to hear what Steven's reasons are to bring it back. I don't know what they could possibly be."
Jones did not return requests for comment. He consulted with the Texas Association of School Boards to craft the proposal and bypassed the district's board policy committee, which normally vets such changes.
Corporal punishment was once widespread in the United States, but studies have questioned its effectiveness or linked it to disorders like anxiety and depression.
Texas is one of 19 states that still let districts use pain to punish students, though in 2011 the state passed a law allowing parents to opt their children out of the practice.
Nearly three-quarters of the state's 1,033 school districts allow corporal punishment, according to the Texas Association of School Boards. Just 124 have banned it and the rest have unclear policies.
But that ratio is flipped in the Dallas area, where only DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Lancaster and Wylie ISDs allow corporal punishment while 15 districts, including Irving and Dallas, prohibit it.
Movements to revive corporal punishment sometimes crop up -- Dallas ISD once dismissed a substitute teacher who led one -- but reversing a ban is rare. Temple ISD did so in 2009, and its school board president later said the mere threat of a paddle had dramatically improved students' behavior.
Irving banned the practice in 2008 after a bruised student sparked news coverage and threats of a lawsuit, according to former board president Ronda Huffstetler, who retired from the board last month.
She said the old board and staff had talked about expanding Irving's alternative education school to deal with "about 100 troublemakers" she blamed for most of the district's discipline problems.
But before those plans took shape, Jones and his allies began supplanting the old trustees and promising sweeping changes throughout the district.
A district spokeswoman said the board president may bring the paddling proposal back in July.
©2013, The Dallas Morning News Inc. All Rights Reserved
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
Two-minute news segment from Dallas TV station CBS-11 DFW, 14 June 2013, on the above story. A local mother supports school spanking. Gilbert Leal (pro-CP campaigner) is also interviewed. But a former member of the Irving ISD school board says she does not think the restoration of paddling would be a good idea.
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 24508 at www.corpun.com
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, 16 June 2013
Several charters say paddling part of their program
By Jane Roberts
The first time students disrespect a teacher at Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, they're on the way down the hall to see Mr. Curtis Weathers, the giant of man who played in the NFL and is the head of schools.
He has a paddle in his office; every MAHS student knows it, and a good number have seen it applied.
"Kids are smart, savvy. The truth is if they know all they are going to get is a talking-to, then that's not enough of a deterrent," said Weathers, who has administered a good whacking to every child who has needed it since MAHS, founded by 100 Black Men of Memphis, opened in 2003.
He says 90 percent of kids "do exactly as they are told every day and have no interest in becoming familiar with corporal punishment. But believe it or not, it's a deterrent for them as well. That is in the back of their mind, and they don't want any part of it," Weathers said.
As the unified MemphisShelby County School Board wrestles with the pros and cons of corporal punishment in meetings this week and next, the research laboratory may be just outside its door. Several charter schools here swear the paddle, along with frank discussions about what caused the misbehavior and how to head it off in the future, is the most effective way to quickly change behavior.
"For us, corporal punishment is not the first call or first reinforcement, but it's very much a part of our plan," said LeMoyne Robinson, executive director of the City University charter system here.
"Our parents sign a permission form and understand our discipline policy," he said. "I would say the majority of our parents are in agreement. We have parents on our board. They helped to decide our program policies and process. Corporal punishment has always been part of our discipline, and I don't believe our board would change it."
Neither would say how many students a year are paddled or how many repeat offenders they have.
At MAHS, boys are paddled across the rear by male administrators. Girls get lashes on their hands with a leather strap. And while some paddling takes place in Weathers' office, a good bit happens in school assemblies.
"The behavior is generally very public," Weathers said. "People want you to paddle in private, but they didn't commit the offense in private. Everybody can learn from what the mistake was."
In 2004, spanking was banned in Memphis City Schools. It's still an option in Shelby County Schools, but is no longer applied.
Other charters are adamant that corporal punishment accomplishes nothing that a more thoughtful approach won't solve.
"A lot of times, behavior infractions are due to what instruction looks like in the classroom," said Jamal McCall, head of KIPP Memphis. "If the lesson is stronger and students are engaged, there is less opportunity for them to act up.
"I don't think that any discipline infraction that would take place in schools warrants corporal punishment," he said.
Tom Beazley, executive director of Promise Academy in North Memphis, says his board discussed corporal punishment but decided against it. "We are an elementary school; we don't think that is appropriate."
But Promise does use physical change to discipline. For instance, Beazley said, "if we have an antsy child that tips over a chair, we will have that child stand."
MAHS gives students three chances to improve in most cases. They can expect punishment for uniform infractions, gossiping, tardiness, attitude issues, fighting and missing class.
"You can't curse my teacher and not see me," Weathers said.
By policy, no one gets more than three lashes, said Rev. Derrick Joyce, chairman of the MAHS board. "The debriefing time is critical. It allows the student to have involvement in why this is occurring; it allows them to take ownership. What we have seen is that we get very few repeat offenders. It creates a consciousness of consequences and minimalizes acceleration of brawls and fights we are seeing in lots of schools across the country.
"We serve 38108; that's Nutbush, which has the highest infant mortality rate in America. Fifty percent have not completed high school; and we have a 30 percent unemployment rate. Last year, MAHS ranked No. 1 in AYUP (Average Yearly Progress) in reading and No. 8 in math.
"That's not by chance. Corporal punishment helps us in terms of behavior modification for some students and reduces the probability of other students causing problems," he says. "We had only three to four males expelled for fighting last year in a school of 400."
In 2009, a California woman who runs The Hitting Stops Here nonprofit group, threatened to block MAHS' entrance in a public protest. Although she called off the rally when TV cameras didn't show up, Weathers is sensitive to the publicity, particularly during summer recruiting.
"There is a lot that goes into our discipline other than paddling kids," Weathers says.
"We help our parents raise kids. That's what we do. We don't apologize for it. Discipline is part of it. People do it differently, and if they are having success without, that's great. We think with the way we handle it, we get the results we want."
Corpun file 24546 at www.corpun.com
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 27 June 2013
Tangipahoa board discusses corporal punishment option
By Robert Stewart
AMITE -- The Tangipahoa Parish School Board on Thursday approved a number of revisions to the school system's policies, but a potential future policy change could mean a return to corporal punishment for errant students.
The board held a special meeting Thursday to approve reports from its policy and personnel committees, which met Tuesday and Thursday of this week.
The board approved a new credit recovery program to let students earn high school credit for courses they have failed in the past.
The board also voted to limit the length of suspensions for students to the remaining days in a school year. The original policy allowed for suspensions to carry over into the next year.
Board members may discuss, at a later date, the idea of reintroducing corporal punishment into the school system as a way to discipline out-of-line students.
Board member Gail Pittman-McDaniel requested in May to have the board's policy committee reconsider its ban on corporal punishment. The policy was last revised in 2010.
Pittman-McDaniel said at the time that parents, teachers and principals have asked her why spanking is no longer allowed at the schools.
The committee discussed the corporal punishment idea Tuesday but took no action on the item, deciding it will ask school administrators and disciplinarians for more input on the issue, said Sandra Bailey-Simmons, a member of the committee.
Bailey-Simmons said she has received only one email about the issue and no calls.
Bailey-Simmons said spanking students was effective when she was a teacher in the 1970s, but she added that the school system eventually became embroiled in numerous lawsuits over abuse because of corporal punishment.
She said the school system needs to do something about discipline in the parish's public schools, but she suggested that many parents are not disciplining their children at home.
"To me if parents want the school to do that, then I think the parent needs to take responsibility and spank their own child," she said.
Board member Al Link, during Thursday's board meeting, applauded the issue being discussed, saying the school system "really need(s) to get on top of this discipline situation."
"Nobody seems to know what to do with these students," he said.
Link did not say whether he approved of corporal punishment as a disciplinary method.
Other business Thursday included:
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