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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2005   :  US Schools May 2005

-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED STATES

School CP - May 2005



Corpun file 15707

Ironton Tribune, Ohio, 1 May 2005

Battle over the paddle

By Justin McElroy
The Ironton Tribune

Burlington Elementary second-grader Andrew Maynard was almost paddled this week, before Andrew said he decided to shape up a little bit.

Though Andrew wasn't sure what caused the switch in behavior, his step-sister, Talynn Burgess, is quick to answer.

"Because he doesn't wanna get whipped with the paddle," she said with a grin.

While she keeps close tabs on her step-brother's activities, the second-grader said she's never gotten close to being the subject of a paddling.

"And I don't intend to," Talynn said, laughing.

Why?

"Because I'm too good!"

Burlington is just one of the schools in the South Point district that allow paddling, a practice which some feel is a necessary educational and disciplinary tool, no matter how much anti-corporal punishment groups may disagree with the practice.

Number three with a paddle

Of the 611 school districts in Ohio, only 23 reported utilizing paddling last year. Three of those are in Lawrence County, which has a higher concentration than any other county in the state. Ironton City Schools, Fairland Local and South Point Local all used corporal punishment in 2003-2004 school year.

With 56 paddlings administered last school year, the third-highest total in the state, South Point in particular has come under fire from anti-corporal punishment groups such as the Columbus-based Center for Effective Discipline. In comparison, Ironton schools reported six paddlings and Fairland reported three.

That number is actually down from 2002-2003, in which South Point schools reported 74 paddlings, which set them at fourth in the state.

Laura Maynard is Andrew's mother. She is one of the many South Point parents who says she doesn't have a problem with the practice, on principle, as long as it is warranted.

"I guess I agree with it, if it's needed," Maynard said.

A last resort

Nadine Block, Executive Director of the Center for Effective Discipline, said that although it has been outlawed in many states, in the locations (such as Ohio) where the practice continues, it's largely out of habit.

"In many ways, the community supports it, they think it works, they've done it forever, and they don't know what they'd do without it," Block said. "There are people who just believe that hitting children is necessary for them to grow up."

Mark Christian is the principal of Burlington Elementary. He regularly applies paddlings, but says that he uses them only as a last resort, in accordance with policy. He wrote his college thesis on corporal punishment, and believes it is an effective discipline not just for the students who are spanked, but also the ones who aren't.

"The kids who do not get paddled, I think it's a deterrent for them," Christian said. "I know I got paddled in school, and I worried about getting paddled in school, and that kind of molded the decisions I made, so I assume it's still the same way. So, I think it works especially as a deterrent. We seldom give a second paddling. Usually, they get one and that's it."

Paddling and abuse

Whether or not the schools believe the practice is effective, Block said she and her group firmly oppose all forms of corporal punishment, which, in their opinion, is abuse.

"I had a principal say that he was trying put some respect back in school, and I said 'How would your wife feel about that, if you gave her a swat? Is she going to respect you?' No, she's going to be angry and humiliated just like kids are," Block said. "Especially hitting them with boards - we're not allowed to do that to anybody, not even animals."

Christian dismisses Block's equivocation of paddling and abuse. He believes that the far worse treatment for children is to let bad behavior to go unpunished.

"To me, it's abusive not to discipline a child, because things can escalate and get worse as they get older," Christian said. "I think there should be more discipline than there is. Kids today are nothing like we were as kids."

A gray area

The law in Ohio does not permit corporal punishment outright. In order for school districts to utilize it, they must develop a task force to review the issue and decide on its viability.

According to Ohio state law, those task forces "must include teachers, administrators, non-licensed school employees, school psychologists, members of the medical profession, pediatricians, when available, and representatives of parents' organizations."

The law also states that parents or guardians may elect for their children not to be subjected to corporal punishment if they so wish. In this case, some alternate form of punishment (such as suspension or detention) must be utilized.

Christian said that he always has written permission from parents, who he estimates choose the option of paddling 90 to 95 percent of the time.

Spare the rod

"It's just an administrative convenience. People seem to think that corporal punishment works, it doesn't," Block said. "It works, but it works to teach kids that might makes right and don't get caught next time."

In her nine years with the Center for Effective Discipline, Block said she had seen nothing before the state legislature that would classify corporal punishment as a research-based method.

"The only testimony that came before the state was 'I got spanked when I was a kid and I turned out OK,' or 'The Bible says,' or 'If we stop hitting kids there will be chaos,' all personal, all anecdotal with nothing to support it," Block said.

To those who would quote the biblically based "spare the rod, spoil the child" philosophy, Block sites Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which calls for misbehaving sons to be taken before the village elders and stoned to death.

"Do we stone children because it says so in the Bible?" Block said. "No."

The battle

Despite the feelings of the Center for Effective Discipline and similar groups, paddling continues to be a way of life in some Lawrence County schools. There's no sign of a truce either, as groups on both sides of the battle of the paddle refuse to budge on corporal punishment.




Corpun file 15725

Opelousas Daily World, Louisiana, 5 May 2005

Palmetto parents attack policy

Alleged racial preferences toward discipline at center of controversy

By Jacqueline Cochran

(extract)

RIDEAU - They sat stonefaced and filled with anger.

"We are here to talk about the school and what can be done," said Shelby Marks to the 30 Palmetto Elementary School parents seated in the recreation building of Pilgrim Baptist Church. "Anyone with a complaint needs to speak up now."

Marks, whose 13-year-old daughter was recently paddled by Palmetto Principal Cheryl Myers called the meeting so her complaint would not be the only one heard by area media.

Parents had plenty to say. The most prevalent charges were that Myers and others on the faculty dole out discipline differently depending on the race of the child - a problem at least two parents said drove them to remove their children from the school.

Superintendent of St. Landry Parish Schools Lanny Moreau, who took all questions on behalf of Myers, said he had only heard of the paddling incident and had little comment on other issues raised by parents. As for parents leaving the school, Moreau credited that to the system's majority-to-minority transfer policy that allows students who are of the majority race in one school to move to a school in which they will be in the minority race.

Parents aren't buying it.

"I don't trust Miss Myers," said Karen Mazone. "She doesn't listen to the children, and if it's between white and black, she always goes in the other direction (favoring the white child). She didn't make me feel comfortable."

Mazone said some teachers at the school are disrespectful to parents, openly criticizing parents to their children.

"This has been going on for years," Mazone said. "It's time they send someone to Palmetto who loves children, regardless of what color they are."

The paddling incident had parents particularly outraged. Paddling is permitted in Louisiana public schools, but parents can write a letter instructing that their child is not to be disciplined in such a way.

Marks, unaware of the state law before her daughter's paddling, has since written a letter instructing no further corporal punishment was to be used on her daughter. Other parents still are shocked that paddling is allowed at all.

Esther Johnson, for one, said she would like to know why it is legal for a school principal to put bruises on a child, but if a parent bruises his/ her own child, he/she could be charged with cruelty to a juvenile. "What makes it all right for them to brutalize our children?" she said.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joseph Cassimere said he personally conducted an investigation into the paddling of Marks' daughter and found all procedures were follow [sic] as required.

[...]




Corpun file 15756

Valdosta Daily Times, Georgia, 12 May 2005

Lanier County BOE adopts corporal punishment policy

By Jessica Pope

LAKELAND By a vote of 3-2, the Lanier County Board of Education adopted a policy designed to maintain proper control and discipline Monday.

Chairman Philip Connell, Heath Wolford, and Bob Rice voted in favor of reinstating the use of corporal punishment in the Lanier County School System. Board members Erlish Locklear and Randy Sirmans voted against it.

"Since no student has the right to interfere in any way with his fellow classmates' right to learn, it is expected that each student will observe a code of personal conduct which will in no way interfere with the educational opportunities of his classmates," the policy, which becomes effective with the 2005-06 school year, states. "The principal and faculty will enforce rules that are necessary for the efficient operation of the school."

It was Wolford who called for the reinstatement of corporal punishment in the Lanier County School System. Connell said the school system previously operated under a similar policy, which was ended about 19 years ago.

"Why it was taken out, I don't know," he said. "What I do know is that we have parents who want it back."

As required by Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 20-2-731, the Lanier County School System's proposed policy mandates that the corporal punishment shall not be excessive or unduly severe or used as a first line of punishment for misbehavior unless the pupil was informed beforehand. Georgia law also states that corporal punishment must be administered in the presence of a principal, assistant principal or designee and that the individual who administered the corporal punishment must provide the child's parent, upon request, a written explanation of the reasons for the punishment and the name of the official present.

According to the policy, "Corporal punishment shall not be administered to a child whose parents or legal guardian ... submit a statement to the principal of the school requesting that the use of corporal punishment not be used on their child or a statement from a medical doctor licensed in Georgia stating that corporal punishment is detrimental to the child's mental or emotional stability within 10 days of enrollment."

Lanier County School System Superintendent Eloise Sorrell said she does not personally agree with the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline. She said a child's misbehavior should be viewed as an opportunity to teach him or her an acceptable alternative.

"It's better to teach students how to think about the choices they make relating to their behavior," she said. "Teaching students to think through their actions and stressing responsible behavior is very effective."

Connell said corporal punishment is a solution to discipline problems with children throughout the United States. He said it's something many parents use in their own homes and even when called to the school for conference to control their child's behavior.

"About 80 percent of Lanier County's parents have asked that corporal punishment be reinstated," he said. "The board's actions are in direct response to their request."

Connell said the use of corporal punishment will prevent students from missing classroom instruction time. He said it will provide an opportunity for the matter to be addressed quickly, as opposed to sending the student to in-school suspension or time-out.

"We need students in their classrooms as much as possible," he added. "That's the whole issue. We are not doing these children any justice by removing them from the classrooms."

Copyright 2005 South Georgia Media Group




Corpun file 15885

logo
katv.com (ABC KATV Channel 7 Little Rock), Arkansas, 14 May 2005

Paddling Student Leads To Possible Charges Filed

By Stephanie Wilcher

A northeast Arkansas couple wants third degree battery charges filed against an elementary principal after a paddling allegedly left bruises on their child's buttocks.

Windy Karow says her son's principal paddled him for making a racially charged statement in school. She says she's not defending what the child said, however, there was no excuse for paddling without permission.

(B.J. Karow) "I said you know what? I wish all black people were still slaves."

(Windy Karow) "He said, I wish all black people were still slaves, on his behalf, I do think he shouldn't have said that. It's wrong, but he did not understand what he said."

BJ's outburst landed him in the principal's office, taking three licks from a paddle for his behavior. His mom says the school should have called her before they punished him.

The superintendent of Earle School District says he has apologized to the Karow's on behalf of the entire board and says while the paddling at the elementary school may have violated a policy, it did not break any laws. In fact, a letter obtained from the school's attorney tells the superintendent "the principal could have called BJ's parents as a matter of courtesy, but had no legal obligation to do so."

Windy Karow says she realizes her son's statement is going to upset a lot of people, but says the principal broke the paddling rules, no matter what her son said.

(Windy Karow) "I'm not condoning him, he's wrong for that, but he needed to be explained to what he said was wrong."

The Karow's want the principal to apologize and would like a hearing before the school board so the information will be placed in the principal's file.

Copyright 2005 KATV, LLC




Corpun file 15767

The News Courier, Athens, Alabama, 15 May 2005

Principal: allegation unfounded

By Tanjie Nash

Officials at Elkmont School say allegations made to The News-Courier by an anonymous caller that a student was made to drop his pants before a paddling are unfounded.

Principal Mickey Glass said a strict protocol is followed when corporal punishment is administered.

"We have procedures in place we follow and that definitely is not one of them," Glass said Friday. "We never have students drop their pants for a paddling."

According to a spokeswoman for the Limestone County School system, each student's file contains a form through which parents and guardians may choose to allow or disallow corporal punishment for their children.

Glass said he hasn't received any complaints in line with the incident described by the anonymous caller.

"There has not been a student in question here as far as having to drop their pants and take a paddling," he said.

A student was disciplined this week at the school in a situation that did involve consultation with the parents or guardian, however, Glass cited confidentiality policies that prevent him from revealing further details.

"I can't say a whole lot about it," he said. "When it comes to students, we have to be careful what we say. We're not trying to hide something or anything like that. We just can't mention a student's name."

Glass, like the system spokeswomen, said all parents and guardians have the opportunity to "opt out" of use of corporal punishment on their child. He also said school officials are always willing to address any concerns parents or guardians may have.

"Any time any parent has a question about discipline whether its detention or paddling or suspension, I'm glad to talk with them about how punishment is handled. Most of the time it works out where either the parent didn't have the full story or we didn't have the full story -- but we're always able to settle it."




Corpun file 15779

logo
khnl.com (NBC KHNL-TV Honolulu), Hawaii, 16 May 2005

Student Allegedly Abused By Afternoon Program Instructor

The mother of a teenage boy on O'ahu says her son's afterschool program instructor took discipline too far.

She says the boy came home with bruises so severe, he could barely sit down.

She says the director of her son's afterschool program beat him with a broomstick.

Police arrested the director, Hae Lee, who also owns the Sisa learning center.

The teenager has been part of that after-school program for five years.

On Monday, the boy's mother, who asked not to be identified, told us she believes Lee took his authority too far.

"He believes if children can't listen, you have to hit them, or children no learn," says the alleged victim's mother.

"I only wanted to help him," said Lee.

"I had to. He wouldn't learn otherwise. I'm sorry."

Lee told our news crew off-camera that he did use an aluminum broomstick on the boy.

But says he did not know corporal punishment is illegal in Hawaii.

Lee was arrested Sunday for second degree assault and is free while police investigate.

All content Copyright 2000 - 2005 WorldNow and KHNL, a Raycom Media station. All Rights Reserved.




Corpun file 15810

masthead
The Decatur Daily, Decatur, Alabama, 20 May 2005

Proposed policies could impact Athens students

By Holly Hollman

(extracts)

Is being on the cheerleading squad worth peeing in a cup? Is bringing a cell phone to school worth expulsion? The following are proposed policies that Superintendent Orman Bridges Jr. gave the Athens City Board of Education on Thursday for future consideration:

[...]

Code of Conduct changes

  • Prohibits you having at school any electronic devices, such as cells phones and pagers, except for health or other needs and with prior permission from the principal. School board attorney Shane Black said this is state law, which requires the board to consider expulsion for violations. Board members thought expulsion excessive. Black said the board could also give you five days out-of-school suspension, corporal punishment or in-school suspension.
  • Adds sexual harassment and promoting sexual acts as Class III offenses. You could get various suspensions, expulsion and legal action.
  • Adds making threats or intimidating students; loitering; gambling; offensive touching; possession of a pocket knife; and inappropriate use of technology resources all Class II offenses. That means you could get various suspensions, corporal punishment and legal action.
  • Adds littering as a Class I offense. You could get after-school detention, in-school suspension or a conference with your parents and school officials.
  • Only seniors can participate in on-the-job cooperative training, and these students must find their own transportation to their jobs.




Corpun file 15829

Daily Times, Maryville, Tennessee, 24 May 2005

Maryville schools approve $39.8M budget

By Bonny C. Millard
of The Daily Times Staff

(extracts)

The Maryville school board approved a $34.9 million general purpose budget Monday night for the 2005-2006 school year.

[...]

In other action, the board approved on second reading changes in the school board policy manual in the instructional program.

On first reading, the board approved changes in the manual regarding students, including removing corporal punishment from the disciplinary action section. Dalton said in the 17 years he has been in his position, corporal punishment has not been used.




Corpun file 15831

masthead
Gainesville Sun, Florida, 25 May 2005

Duval schools ends corporal punishment

JACKSONVILLE - Starting this fall, students in Duval County, following the lead of 24 other Florida counties, will no longer be subjected to spanking when they misbehave.

At its meeting Monday, the School Board ordered all references to corporal punishment removed from the student Code of Conduct. The board will formally approve the change at its next meeting, June 7.

"This is simply not the domain of our public schools," Chairwoman Nancy Broner said.

The school system's Code of Conduct defines corporal punishment as "moderate use of physical contact (swats administered with a paddle) by the principal/designee as may be necessary to maintain discipline or to enforce school rules."

A parent or guardian can make a written request to exempt a student from corporal punishment.

The old policy allowed school principals to decide whether they want to use paddling as a form of discipline. In a survey, 69 principals supported ending the policy and 61 wanted to continue the practice.

The National Parent Teacher Association, National Association of State Boards of Education and the Florida Association of School Psychologists all oppose corporal punishment in schools.

The psychologists group issued a report last year saying that Florida was among 23 states that still paddle students.

According to the Florida Department of Education, 42 of the state's 67 school districts still have corporal punishment, but the trend has been away from spanking students and the use of preventive measures.

Wayne Blanton, a spokesman for the Florida School Boards Association, said most of the state's larger counties have outlawed corporal punishment, but he said even in the smaller counties, it is seldom used because of the fear of lawsuits.

Among the districts still allowing spanking in schools are Clay, Nassau, Hillsborough, Marion and Polk counties.

Counties that did not allow spanking in schools included St. Johns, Miami-Dade, Broward, Pinellas and Orange.

Reta Russell-Houghton, president of the Duval County PTA, said some school leaders have fought to keep the policy.

"There were some principals that still use that as an option and because parents requested it," she said. "There are still parents that feel like it is the right way to discipline their child."

However, Russell-Houghton agrees with the national PTA's position against spanking.

"What does it teach a child that, 'I'm bigger than you and I can spank you? You have to listen to me because I'm bigger than you.' That is actually detrimental," she said.




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