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Corpun file 26128 at www.corpun.com
The Gainesville Sun, Florida, 5 April 2015
Different schools of thought on paddling
By Erin Jester
As more national organizations have spoken out against it, corporal punishment seems to have fallen out of favor for all but the most "old school" of disciplinarians.
But one holdout on the practice is public schools.
Nineteen states, including Florida, allow corporal punishment in public schools, according to the most recent data available from the Center for Effective Discipline, even as groups such as the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association oppose it.
Corporal punishment is allowed in Florida public schools, but the power to set policies or to ban it rests with local school boards. School districts that use corporal punishment must review their policies every three years.
There's no regulation on the method of physical punishment, although the device of choice in Florida is the paddle, usually wooden.
Districts are not required to get a parent's permission before paddling a student, although most do, and parents may file paperwork with a school that prevents their children from being paddled.
During the 2012-13 school year, which was the most recent data made available by the Florida Department of Education, 28 of the state's 67 school districts still allowed corporal punishment in the form of paddling.
Alachua County banned the practice in 1989. Local school board members said the issue hasn't resurfaced, and it's unlikely to do so.
Regardless, several nearby districts, as well as many of the Panhandle counties, are still using the paddle.
Suwannee County reported the most paddlings in 2012-13, with 359 occurrences in both elementary and secondary school.
Holmes County, where high school students make the paddles in their wood shop class, had the highest percentage of paddlings compared to the student population, at a rate of 9.2 percent.
In 2012-13, paddling was also reported in Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.
"It's in our school conduct code, but it's normally requested by the parents," said Carlton Faulk, superintendent of Union County Public Schools, which reported 138 paddling incidents in 2012-13.
Faulk said students usually choose to be paddled rather than suspended, but parents must still approve the punishment.
In Dixie County, Superintendent Mark Rains said paddling is used only in elementary schools, but it's getting more rare -- the district of about 2,000 students reported 16 incidents in 2012-13.
In some areas, corporal punishment is falling out of favor even faster.
"Clay County doesn't have an all-out ban on it, but ... it's in limited cases," said Gavin Rollins, a spokesman for the district.
While the 35,000-student district reported 34 paddlings in 2012-13, Rollins said no incidents had been reported so far this year.
"(The policy) is something student services are reviewing and evaluating," he said.
Over the years, other districts have defended their choice to continue using corporal punishment as an effective disciplinary tool, one that some parents prefer having as an option.
"It's sort of developed over the years into this cultural issue, and I think the problem is that whether we give the choice to children or parents or even principals, we have to take a step back from whether or not it works or it's effective," said Joseph Gagnon, an associate professor of education at the University of Florida who recently co-authored a study detailing the use of corporal punishment in Florida schools and calling for an end to the practice.
"Honestly, to give a child or an adolescent that kind of a choice, I think it's inappropriate to put that on them," Gagnon said, referencing the oft-repeated claim that students prefer being paddled over an out-of-school suspension.
By contrast, child care providers who contract with affiliates of the Florida Department of Children and Families, such as local Early Learning Coalitions, are strictly prohibited from striking or paddling children.
"There's zero tolerance for all corporal punishment," said Nancy Lebold-Dearden, director of program services for the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County.
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Corpun file 26049 at www.corpun.com
The Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, 16 April 2015
Natchitoches educator charged in 2nd incident in school
By Melissa Gregory
An assistant principal at a Natchitoches Parish public school has been charged with battery for allegedly hitting a teacher on the buttocks with a paddle, according to police.
Just late last month, the principal at the same school -- Frankie Ray Jackson Sr. Technical Center -- was arrested on several charges after a student alleged that he was abused by the man.
In this case, a female teacher on Feb. 10 told the school resource officer that the school's assistant principal, Hugo Vogel, had hit her on the buttocks with a paddle.
The incident was reported to the Natchitoches Police Department's criminal investigations division for further investigation, which led to a warrant for 64-year-old Vogel.
Vogel was arrested Monday at the school, charged with simple battery. He later was released on a $3,000 bond.
Natchitoches Parish School District Superintendent told The Town Talk that he placed Vogel on paid leave Tuesday while he checked with police on the incident. Since Vogel's charge is a misdemeanor, he was allowed to return to work on Wednesday, said Skinner.
The school serves four distinct groups of students, according to the Natchitoches Parish School District's website. Those groups include students in a one-year remediation program to earn their high school diplomas, students in the Accelerated Student Academic Pathway program, students with special needs or disabilities and students that may have been expelled from their home schools.
In the earlier incident, principal Bobby Joe Benjamin Jr., 41, was charged with cruelty to juveniles, aggravated battery, simple battery and second-degree battery. He bonded out of jail on a $9,500 property bond.
An investigation had started after an 11-year-old boy's mother complained that her son had been punched, thrown against a wall and paddled by Benjamin.
Benjamin remains on leave, according to Skinner. He said his investigation into the incident should be finished soon, at which time he would make a suggestion on Benjamin's employment status.
Corpun file 26112 at www.corpun.com
The Daily Tribune, Mount Pleasant, Texas, 28 April 2015
MPISD shuffling more administrators
By Marcia Davis
Mount Pleasant ISD trustees announced several new
administrative transfers and staff changes Monday.
In other business, the board adjusted one line of the school discipline policy which specified that corporal punishment has to be administered by an adult employee of the same sex as the student.
The board voted to change that line, since, according to Saxton, the elementary schools have mostly female principals.
She said the policy was changed to specify that, if corporal punishment is administered, there has to be two adults in the room, with one of the adults the same gender as the student being punished.
The board also approved a CTE computer purchase of 25 laptops for $15,475, and 50 desktop computers at $43,794.50.
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