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School CP - May 2004
New York Post, 11 May 2004
Queens teacher pleads guilty to spanking kids
By Eric Lenkowitz
May 11, 2004 -- The former dean of discipline at a Queens middle school has pleaded guilty to child endangerment for separately spanking four teen students in his van, The Post has learned.
William Rini, 48, was spared jail time after telling Judge Suzanne Melendez last Wednesday that he hit the four 13-year-old boys between Jan. 2 and May 31 of last year.
As part of the deal, the ex-social studies teacher from IS 145 in Jackson Heights agreed to never set foot in a classroom again as a teacher, prosecutors said.
He must also stay out of trouble for a year or he will go to jail.
The judge also issued a 3-year order of protection for the spanked students.
"It's a just and fair disposition," said a Patrick Clark, spokesman for District Attorney Richard Brown.
Clark said the Department of Education has been notified of the deal and the process of revoking his teaching license is under way.
Rini was initially charged with enlisting another student to lie about the spankings and offer his victims $65 apiece to keep their mouths shut - but that charge was later dismissed.
The Manhasset, L.I., resident, who was adviser to the cave-exploring club and the wrestling team, was arrested June 2 when one victim came forward.
Prosecutors said Rini drove the teens several blocks from school, offered them the choice of being spanked with his hand or a dog brush, and then struck each of them 20 to 40 times.
He initially faced up to two years in prison.
Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tuscaloosa News, Alabama, 13 May 2004
Doctor calls paddling excessive
By Stephanie Hoops
BIRMINGHAM: A Birmingham doctor who treated a Northport middle school student after his football coach paddled him is calling the paddling "shockingly egregious and excessively powerful."
Copyright © 2002 The Tuscaloosa News
The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee, 17 May 2004
Parents blast dress code and paddling
By Johnny Hutsell-Royster
DECATUR -- Approximately 50 people turned out for the Meigs County School Board meeting Thursday to complain about the new dress code that bans jeans, as well as to protest corporal punishment which one parent called "child abuse."
Given the floor to speak first, Missy Mashburn said her son had been paddled for not doing makeup work. She said she understood the punishment for that was to receive a zero for work not completed, not paddling.
Mashburn said she previously sent a note for her son's file, saying she was to be notified before corporal punishment was administered. She said when she had her son's file opened, the note was not included.
"I also wasn't contacted," she said. "When (Director of Schools Robert) Greene asked the teacher ... if she had contacted me, she said she had intended to but hadn't had the chance," Mashburn said.
"What would happen if I hit your kid?" she asked the Board and Greene. "I'd be charged with child abuse," she answered her own question. "I believe that my child has been abused. If parents don't protect their children, who will?" she asked.
"There is no consistency. I called Nashville (State Department of Education) and asked, 'What happens to teachers when they do wrong? How are teachers and principals disciplined? They said I should ask that question tonight, but I've gotten no answer," Mashburn said.
"I personally want corporal punishment stopped completely from Meigs County," she added.
Later in the meeting Greene referred to his administrative directive given to the school system from his office for the upcoming 2004-05 school year which reads:
•Be knowledgeable of the Meigs County Board of Education Policy.
•Each principal or designee shall be responsible for gathering written requests from each parent not wanting their child paddled.
•The principal shall prepare a school wide list of students not to be paddled.
•A copy of the list shall be distributed to all personnel that may be administering corporal punishment.
•All personnel are required to refer to the list before administering corporal punishment.
•If there is any question, the principal and /or parent should be contacted.
Greene said it's only an "administrative directive" and if the Board members want to make it part of School Board Policy, they can.
When the floor was given to parents who asked to speak against the new dress code policy, Lori Knox read a letter.
Knox said she had attended school in Meigs County and received a good education. She said in her childhood, denim jeans were allowed but did not help nor hinder the educational process.
"I realize times have changed and some parents don't monitor their children as closely as they should. But how (does) wearing a regular pair of four-pocket blue jeans interfere with a child's education?" she asked.
© 2004 East Tennessee Network - R.A.I.D. (Regionalized Access Internet Database). All rights reserved.
KTRE.com (KTRE-TV), Lufkin/Nacogdoches, Texas, 19 May 2004
Paddling Investigation - Pros And Cons Of Pops
By Donna McCollum
Groveton Police Chief Robert Meager is investigating the second complaint this year of injury to a child involving the Groveton Independent School District. Meager said the complaint was filed by Child Protective Services.
Meager can't provide any more details until after his investigation. However, the chief has completed his probe of a 10-year-old who was paddled by a Groveton coach. The case will be sent to the Trinity County District Attorney's office.
According to the child's mother, Lynn Causby, the punishment caused her son bleeding and bruises that didn't go away for weeks. Causby removed her child from the school and has filed civil and criminal complaints.
That story first reported last month generated reaction about corporal punishment in schools. Anti-paddling organizations from Ohio, California, and Texas responded. We also heard from those of you who said, 'A swat didn't hurt you so it won't hurt your child."
Paddling - The Pros and Cons
Often, the mere presence of Assistant High School Principal David Russell encourages good behavior at Central Heights Schools. Yet every student knows a trip to his end office could result with a paddling or pops.
"The first thing I ask them is if they have anything in their back pockets?", is what Russell says right before a paddling.
And, sometimes, just knowing about the paddle works. "There are some students who just the threat of knowing corporal punishment is there, that's enough to make them toe the line," said Russell.
It's not required by the state, but Central Heights sends a consent form home asking parents' permission to use corporal punishment.
The issue always leads to debate at the Matheny household. "There's definitely a place for it. A lot of times the only discipline children get sometimes are at school," said Kevin Matheny. His wife, Donna Matheny, thinks differently. "I just don't want it so easily administered that it's not abusive, but overdone."
No difference according to the Founder and President of People Opposed to Paddling Students Jimmy Dunne. "Paddling we consider to be legalized child abuse," said Dunne.
For 23 years, the former math teacher has led a national crusade against paddling and spanking. He has a collection of photographs of children's bruised buttocks who were paddled. "You can see how these children are hurt. Sometimes, it's even an injury that lasts for many, many years," according to Dunne.
The Houston resident has told school boards to national talk show host Phil Donohue that laws have a double standard in reporting injuries of children. "If they (educators) saw a bruise like that come from home, they would have to report it to the authorities. When it comes from within the school, they're not likely to report it because it's their own people doing this," explained Dunne.
Dunne contends paddling teaches kids to hit during conflicts, promotes anger, and leads to expensive lawsuits. All reasons why more school districts are putting the paddle away.
"It's been abolished now in 28 states. It should be abolished in Texas. We have a lot of it going on in East Texas where[as] it's been abolished in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin."
Those districts now resort to other forms of effective punishment that even Principal Russell may use before picking up his paddle. "Corporal punishment is not the only form of discipline that can correct things," said Russell.
So if other discipline measures work, why paddle at all? Russell says when asked that question he answers, "First of all, in Texas, it's legal."
But only in schools. Striking another person is not allowed in prisons, in the military, or in mental hospitals. Even so, some educators strongly believe a paddling is due payment for a child whose unruliness denies others an education.
In Texas, close to 74,000 students in public schools were hit for punishment during the 1999-2000 school year, according to the U.S. of Education, Office of Civil Rights.
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Sedalia Democrat, Missouri, 20 May 2004
'Old school' principal steps down after 33 years
By Jack Tynan
An "old school" principal will step down from the helm in Green Ridge.
Bob Stone will retire after sitting in the Green Ridge Elementary School principal's office for 33 years. He will return to the classroom as a part-time math teacher.
Mr. Stone, 54, maintained discipline in his school with a style some would question. A wooden paddle kept on his book shelf is more than a symbol. With parents' permission, it's been used to "swat" misbehaving students.
"I still, upon request, have used it," Mr. Stone said.
Mr. Stone said Dr. Benjamin Spock, an author who preached common sense instead of corporal punishment for children in the mid to late 1900s, "has been a huge detriment to education."
Recently a parent chose swats over a three-day suspension for his son.
Mr. Stone taught fourth-grade in Green Ridge for one year before being offered the principal's job. He'd announced a decision to move to another district when the more lucrative offer kept him in Green Ridge.
"That was $500 more, and I said 'Hey, yes.' Kind of mercenary I guess," Mr. Stone said.
With pygmy goats and chickens on his land outside of town, Mr. Stone now calls Green Ridge home. Traditional multi-generational families and a good staff made his experience positive, he said.
"Fortunately we still have a strong community," he said. "We've been extremely lucky here. We keep good teachers. They like the values here at school. Seeing (students) go out and be very productive, be very positive contributors to society, it makes you proud."
Copyright The Sedalia Democrat 2002
Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Georgia, 20 May 2004
Assistant principal not indicted in paddling
Grand jury tells school board to review policies
By Harry Franklin
A Meriwether County grand jury this week decided not to indict a Meriwether County assistant principal accused of cruelty to a child and other charges stemming from a Jan. 21 paddling of an elementary school student.
The grand jury also asked the county school board to review its disciplinary policies and procedures and recommended it include a clause requiring that a consenting parent be present whenever a child is paddled at school.
Superintendent Robert Hawk said the grand jury's recommendation for parental presence at paddlings could lead the school board to curtail or do away with corporal punishment.
Hawk said school officials are "certainly relieved" that Mountain View Elementary School Assistant Principal Anthony Crawford was not indicted on the charges of cruelty to children in the first degree, simple battery and reckless conduct. Crawford, 41, of Conley, is in his first year of employment with the school district.
"This parent was consulted the day it occurred," Hawk said Wednesday. "The parent was asked to pick up the child. But the parent didn't have time to come in and said to paddle him."
The grand jury recommendation "essentially kills the corporal punishment option," Hawk said. "If you have the parent come in, then obviously they should handle the punishment. We're not tied to a corporal punishment policy. It's just an option offered. Corporal punishment sends a message to a youngster that if he, in fact, does misbehave, he can be paddled. That will be an agenda item at the next board meeting. We want to weigh it carefully and see what we need to do."
Since the Jan. 21 incident, Hawk said no child has been paddled at the school.
"The principal is the final determinant whether corporal punishment is administered," he said. "I doubt he would sanction it in the future. It's not worth the possibilities. That's one option that's going to be severely restricted."
Indianapolis Star, 25 May 2004
IPS Board set to prohibit paddling
Members will vote tonight on corporal punishment ban; several parents voice support for disciplinary measure.
By Kim L. Hooper
Most parents who spoke at an Indianapolis Public School Board meeting Monday night said they backed spanking students and urged the district to continue to allow paddling.
But six of the seven board members said it's time for a change.
And with opposition that solid, the controversial disciplinary policy is likely to be struck from the books at tonight's board meeting, where Resolution No. 7503 should pass by majority vote. The resolution -- an update to the district's decades-old corporal punishment policy -- will prohibit the use of wooden paddles to spank children and repeal a 1985 rule.
"Corporal punishment is a lazy way to deal with behavior," said board member Kelly E. Bentley. "We have a responsibility to take more time with our kids."
But of the eight parents who spoke at Monday's meeting, just three spoke in favor of eliminating the policy. Overall, 15 people showed up for the meeting at IPS' central office Downtown; many of them were social workers in elementary schools in the district.
Parents Nikki and Adrian Jagow have children attending School 48, where two teachers drew attention after paddling six third-grade boys in March.
Those fifth-grade teachers, Ulysses Coleman and Rachelle Phifer, were suspended for five weeks pending the outcome of investigations by child protection workers and an internal IPS probe. Both were cleared of any wrongdoing and have since returned to their jobs.
Their absence from the classroom left a void for children when the district had to replace them with substitutes or unlicensed teachers.
"I think that's a greater problem than corporal punishment," Nikki Jagow told the board.
Phifer also attended the meeting and explained why she supports student spankings over other forms of discipline, such as expulsions or suspensions.
"I don't believe in suspensions because I can't teach them at home," said the 10-year veteran, who was joined by a small group of supporters.
Detractors assigned a multitude of ills to paddling, saying states that allow spanking have lower student achievement than those that prohibit the practice. Indiana is among 22 states that allow paddling, and the practice has been on the books in IPS for more than 30 years.
Dennis Palmore said he was paddled when he was a child in school and still carries the emotional scars.
"All it did for me is make me hate the people who hit me. . . . It's not right. . . . I had Columbine feelings for a long time," said Palmore, who is the guardian of his deceased sister's children, who attend School 69. "The little children don't get to say how they feel."
Cynthia D. Jackson collected essays from students on the issue and read them to the board. One child wrote that parents might sue schools if their children are spanked. Another wrote that some kids will hit back if they're struck.
"I think it's important that you hear their voices," Jackson said.
Jeff Charles traveled from Roseville, Mich., to attend Monday's meeting. Charles has an anti-paddling Internet site and is devoted to ending the practice. He brought a wooden paddle that he used in a demonstration as he tried to explain how spanking teaches children it's all right to use violence to resolve problems.
"The highest prison states are paddling states," he said.
Indianapolis Star, 26 May 2004
IPS Board votes to end paddling
Decision seen as step toward statewide ban; practice is losing favor in districts nationwide.
By Theodore Kim
The Indianapolis Public School Board moved to eliminate corporal punishment at its 79 schools Tuesday, bringing an end to a decades-old policy and galvanizing the efforts of advocates seeking a statewide ban.
In a landmark decision monitored closely by national groups, the board voted 6-1 to strike a policy allowing teachers to discipline students by spanking them with a wooden paddle. The vote was held at the board's meeting room in Downtown Indianapolis.
Most IPS schools abandoned the act of paddling years ago, as many educators came to view the approach as a relic of a bygone era. But the debate resurfaced in March when two IPS teachers were suspended for five weeks after they paddled six third-grade boys. Both teachers have since been cleared of any wrongdoing and returned to their jobs.
Paddling opponents hailed the vote as a turning point in Indiana, which is one of 22 states that allow the practice. The state has allowed the punishment for at least 30 years, last revising the law in 1995.
IPS Superintendent Duncan Pat Pritchett characterized the vote as a historic occasion.
Indianapolis had been one of the largest districts in the nation still allowing some form of corporal punishment, advocates say. About 90 of the nation's 100 largest school districts have banned corporal punishment. Pritchett said IPS, which has a student enrollment of about 40,000, sits just outside the top 100.
"It's a national trend, and we're following it," he said.
Board President Marianna R. Zaphiriou said the district had a duty to change.
"It is time for us as a public educational institution to be a role model," she said, "and say that hitting children is not acceptable."
Advocates of corporal punishment maintain the practice is a time-honored and effective form of discipline -- more efficient and persuasive than, say, suspensions or detention. Others point to how the practice is often underscored as a legitimate disciplinary tool in many religions, including Christianity.
"For those who believe corporal punishment is not a deterrent, they are not being honest," said board member Michael D. Brown, a local pastor who cast the lone vote against the ban. "It is a deterrent. And if they take that away, they are taking an option away from teachers and parents."
Brown said a sizeable number of parents still champion the practice. As evidence, he referred to a sparsely attended public hearing on the matter held Monday; five of the eight parents who testified spoke favorably about IPS' policy.
But opponents in recent years have charted a national progression away from paddling. Their case is anchored by a growing body of research suggesting that repeated physical maltreatment could lower student achievement and inflict lasting harm on student psyches.
The seeds of reform are evident even in the Deep South, where support for corporal punishment remains the strongest, said Nadine Block, a retired school psychologist and director for the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio, an anti-corporal punishment group.
School officials in Dallas last fall approved a partial ban of the practice, requiring that parents give written permission before their child is disciplined. Educators in Georgia are considering a similar measure that would oblige parents to be present during the act. Pennsylvania lawmakers are expected to ban the practice sometime this year, making the state the 29th to do so.
This month, meanwhile, leaders of the United Methodist Church passed a resolution opposing corporal punishment, saying that it "models aggressive behavior."
"What we're seeing is a melting of the opposition," Block said. "Once it's banned, people often say, 'I can't believe we used to do that.' I would like to see the last paddle hung in the Smithsonian one day. "
Block said the board's vote puts pressure on the Indiana legislature to adopt a statewide ban, though lawmakers have so far shown little serious interest in passing such a measure.
Peggy Hattiex-Penn, who represents two-thirds of IPS' roughly 3,000 teachers as president of the Indianapolis Education Association, sees corporal punishment as a fading practice. It's not backed by research, she said, adds to the threat of legal action against educators and burdens many young teachers with the unfamiliar responsibility of dishing out physical punishment.
As a new generation of teachers is hired into the ranks of IPS and other major school districts across the nation, Hattiex-Penn said, the days of the wooden paddle are numbered.
"The research says it doesn't help any," she said. "And I don't think it's really worth it. The teachers, they just don't want to get into that. It just doesn't work."
Board members Mary E. Busch, Clarke C. Campbell, Kelly E. Bentley, Delores J. Brents and Diane Arnold also voted in favor of the paddling ban.
Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, 26 May 2004
Hamilton coach paddled players
By Jody Callahan
Three Hamilton High basketball players said Tuesday that coach Ted Anderson paddled them for missing free throws in a game.
Jeremy Williams, Broderick Gilchrist and Paul Hagler, practicing at the school Tuesday, each said Anderson gave them one swat at halftime of a December 2003 game in Los Angeles.
"It didn't seem right to me," said Williams, 16.
"It'll make you play better," Hagler said.
Anderson, who has coached at Hamilton for more than 20 years, denied paddling for basketball-related reasons.
"Mostly for grades and misbehavior," a subdued Anderson said Tuesday, before heading to the gym.
The players agreed that Anderson usually paddled for disciplinary reasons.
"Disobeying the teacher. Doing something out of line," Williams said.
Four of the five players interviewed for this story said they'd been paddled, while the fifth was new to the team.
Anderson is key in a Monday report that outlines more troubles at the South Memphis high school.
Memphis City Schools Supt. Carol Johnson said Tuesday she hadn't yet met with human resources director Michael Goar about possible action.
Anderson has paddled several players for poor play while verbally abusing others, including calling some players a "bitch," the report said. It also says he hit a player in the chest with a "closed fist."
According to city schools' policy, corporal punishment is to be given "by the principal, acting principal, assistant principal or the teacher involved, provided permission is granted by and the punishment witnessed by one of the three previously mentioned administrative persons."
The report also said he made improper sexual comments to a fellow teacher and mentions possible sexual contact with students, though it says that can't be proven.
The report also says that four basketball players cheated on the TCAP test and that other athletes cheated on the ACT exam.
An unnamed teacher gave as many as 42 Gateway test answers in two of his classes, the report states.
Former assistant principal Van Snyder is accused in the report of making sexual comments or overtures to at least four students. Snyder resigned April 23. A letter in his personnel file gave no details, but he was put on paid leave March 24.
This report follows earlier turmoil at Hamilton, when former football coach Jeff Sawyer fathered a child with a student, then tried to arrange an abortion.
Former principal Osceola 'Sonny' Hicks lost his job in the wake of that investigation.
Anderson called the new allegations "ludicrous," saying that many of the claims came from a disgruntled former player.
He wouldn't name the player, but said it wasn't Shawne Williams, a University of Memphis signee who transferred to a prep school earlier this year. Williams couldn't be reached for comment.
"Witch hunt. Just digging for stuff, just trying to dig something up," Anderson said.
He also denied any improper contact with students or the teacher.
Others rallied behind Anderson, who is also Hamilton's athletic director.
"I've known Coach A a long time, and he's one of the best coaches I've been around," said Arthur Faulkner, whose son Omari played for Anderson.
Faulkner said he was unaware of any paddling or name calling.
Former NBA player Todd Day, a Hamilton graduate and Anderson's stepson, said he was frequently paddled, but mostly for disciplinary reasons. He added that discipline could be classroom- or basketball-related.
"He's the kind of coach, if you were cutting up at school, he'd wait and get you at practice," said Day, who attended Tuesday's practice.
Day also said he's heard Anderson use the word "bitch," but never toward players.
Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association executive director Ronnie Carter said few of the report's alleged violations came under his purview.
Michael Erskine contributed to this report.
Copyright 2004, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Indianapolis Star, 27 May 2004
A wise decision to ban the paddle
Our position is: Corporal punishment of students has more long-term drawbacks than benefits.
The Indianapolis Public School Board wisely abandoned a long-standing policy of paddling pupils who misbehave. Now it is up to school officials, teachers and parents to find more effective ways of dealing with problem students.
Corporal punishment is largely disappearing from the nation's educational landscape. Even in the 22 states, including Indiana, that still allow paddling, more than half the children attend school districts that prohibit the practice. Three decades ago, an estimated 1.5 million students were spanked in the nation's schools each year. As of 2000, the number had dropped to 342,038.
More than 107 organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of State Boards of Education and the National Education Association oppose physical punishment.
And with good reason.
There is little evidence that corporal punishment brings about positive, long-term changes in students' unwanted behavior. Although paddling or spanking may produce short-term results, the growing evidence is that over the long haul it makes children more rebellious, more aggressive, more violent and more likely to act out.
Teachers and principals certainly need the authority to remove disruptive students from the classroom, and school if necessary, to maintain order and promote learning. Especially in large school districts such as IPS, alternative schools staffed with people trained to deal with problem children often work well.
Schools also need to make parents more effective partners in the disciplining of their children. In some instances, parents may opt to administer some form of corporal punishment at home after being notified of problems at school. That's their business.
Institutional violence has been outlawed against women, sailors, domestic servants, prisoners and those who are insane. The school board was right to end its use in the form of paddling students.
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