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myeyewitnessnews.com (WPTY-TV), Memphis, Tennessee, 6 February 2006
[NOTE: Story relates to DeSoto County in Mississippi]
Battle Over Paddling Heats Up
An Eyewitness News report raised questions about whether a middle school football coach went too far in disciplining students. Now, an out-of-state advocate who saw the story on the internet flew in to help parents.
Helen Martin says she believed in corporal punishment at school until her son came home with a softball size bruise on his thigh after one lick with a paddle. She wants to know why the teacher who did it isn't being disciplined himself.
Helen Martin says, "Like my husband said, if I would have did that, if he would have did that, we'd be in jail. DHS would have come and taken our child right out of our home no questions asked. But because this is a teacher it's supposed to be ok. I don't think so."
The Martins got support from a group that opposes paddling in schools. Peggy Dean flew in from North Carolina to urge the board to abolish the practice. She says studies have shown kids who are paddled perform worse in school and become more violent.
Dean says, "It is barbaric. It is archaic. It has its roots in slavery. It has no place in the schools."
One mother has a different take on paddling. Graftie O. Norman has children in the Desoto County Schools and says there is still a place for paddling, but she thinks teachers should get more training on how do it correctly.
Norman says, "I think there should be some type of courses, something structured where some type of test to make sure you're stable enough to administer it."
Eyewitness News tried to interview a school board member, but a spokeswoman did not make one available before executive session. We did receive a fax from the superintendent supporting the practice as a way of controlling student behavior. The superintendent also reminds parents they have the option to not have their child paddled at school.
The corporal punishment rules for Desoto County Schools say that a certified teacher or administrator has to do the paddling. The student can get anywhere from one to three licks on the buttocks, and a second certified teacher or administrator must be present to witness the paddling.
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, 12 February 2006
Paddling has pluses and minuses
By Jerome Wright
Corporal punishment in DeSoto County found itself in the news spotlight last week.
Sam and Helen Martin appeared before the DeSoto County School Board Monday to complain about their son being paddled at school. Trey Martin, 13, is a student at Olive Branch Middle School.
The parents said about 15 students received licks. Sam Martin said students were told not to get up, and when they did they were paddled.
Schools spokesperson Riki Jackson said an internal investigation found no "wrongdoing by a staff member or the district."
Two out-of-state protesters -- Peggy Dean of Charlotte, N.C., and Tom Johnson of Nashville -- attended the meeting. They are board members with a national organization Parents and Teachers against Violence in Education based in Alamo, Calif., in the San Francisco-Oakland area.
The organization's Web site is titled Project No Spank and describes itself as "a resource for parents, students, educators, education policymakers, healthcare providers, children's advocates, and all others who are concerned with the safety and well being of children."
Dean and Johnson learned about the paddlings through the organization's e-mail network. Someone apparently saw a news broadcast about the incident and contacted Project No Spank.
In recent years, corporal punishment has been a hot issue nationwide, whether it is administered at school or at home.
Many believe that when used properly, a few licks are an effective disciplinary tool.
You'll find just as many folks who say that paddling a child has the potential of inflicting serious physical harm, and sends the message to children that it is OK to use violence to make someone bend to your will.
Truth is, both sides make good points for and against corporal punishment.
It is a disciplinary tool that should not be abused.
Two of my fellow editorial board members at the newspaper are still angry, decades later, over being paddled at school for something they didn't do, for example.
But I can understand a case in which a paddling is the only way to get a student's attention.
DeSoto County Schools seem to have a solid policy in place for when corporal punishment may be administered. The policy also states paddling should only be administered after all other forms of disciplinary action have failed.
Among other things, students and parents are advised about what kind of behavior can lead to licks, and parents can request that their child not be paddled. In those cases, other disciplinary measures are employed. A certified staff member must administer the paddling, with a certified witness present, and students can receive no more than three licks on the buttocks.
Students in grades 7-12 have the option of corporal or some other punishment.
The Memphis City Schools board has outlawed corporal punishment in city schools.
And last fall, Memphis City Schools Supt. Carol Johnson's Blue Ribbon Plan was launched. Blue Ribbon is supposed to encourage teachers and principals to use alternative forms of discipline. So far, the plan has received mixed reviews.
The Catholic schools I attended for 12 years in Memphis used corporal punishment. In grade school, depending on your age and gender, the nuns or a priest did the paddling.
The nuns, however, knew how to pinch or grab you in a way that hurt far more than a swat on the butt. They also whacked the palm of your hand with a yardstick.
They also could be creative in finding all kinds of chores for you to do in school and after school, as an alternative to receiving licks.
One of my favorite grade-school stories was the way they finally got the boys to stop fighting at school. If you got into a fight, they made you fight -- under their supervision -- on the front lawn until you got tired. The fighting stopped.
I never got paddled at school for getting into trouble, but I got plenty of "whuppings" at home when the nuns sent notes home detailing my misdeeds. I got a lot of whuppings for doing other stuff at home.
Other than a rare swat on the rear end, I never spanked my daughters. I realized that various kinds of non-corporal punishment were just as effective.
The realization, after I had kids, that never did I not do something because I feared getting a whupping -- an admission that surprised my mother when I told her that not so long ago -- had a lot to do with that.
What hurt the most was losing a privilege or special treat I had looked forward to.
Copyright 2006, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Dallas Morning News, 14 February 2006
District officially scraps paddling
Frisco ISD: Practice that hasn't been used for a while is removed
By Karen Ayres
FRISCO -- Corporal punishment is now officially off the books in Frisco ISD.
The school board unanimously voted Monday night to remove the discipline technique from school district policy.
The vote was largely symbolic since the district hasn't allowed spanking or paddling in the past five or six years.
Plano ISD also recently removed the practice, which wasn't used in that district either, from its policies, but some other area school districts continue to permit it. Dallas schools nixed it last year.
There was no public discussion Monday night when the board approved the policy change on its consent agenda.
After the vote, Frisco school board President Buddy Minett said the board wanted to protect the district from potential liability.
"It's not anything we've been doing for a long time," Mr. Minett said. "It's really just administrative cleanup."
The Frisco Independent School District removed corporal punishment from the student code of conduct a few years ago, but it remained on the policy books.
Under the eliminated policy, a principal, assistant principal or teacher was allowed to spank or paddle a student. The policy required that the punishment be administered in front of another staff member out of the view of other students.
More than half of states ban the practice, but it is allowed under Texas law.
Staff writer Kim Breen contributed to this report.
Culpeper Star-Exponent, Virginia, 18 February 2006
Shifflett out again
By Alison Brophy Champion
More than 10 churchgoers, including two young mothers with babies and a Town Council candidate, crowded into the Culpeper County Magistrate's Office Friday morning in a show of support for Charles Shifflett, pastor at First Baptist Church of Culpeper.
Shifflett, 54, turned himself in to authorities around 9 a.m. Friday after a warrant was issued Thursday for his arrest. He is charged with felonious assault on a 10-year-old girl in 1990.
Shifflett's latest detainment marked the fourth time in a month that he has been arrested on charges of child injury, endangerment and indecent liberties.
Handcuffed and dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt, Shifflett appeared in General District Court around 11 a.m. Friday, and was released from jail after noon on a $2,500 secured bond.
"I'm out," said Shifflett, departing the magistrate's office with his wife, Janice, and the group of supporters at his side. "No comment," he said of the ongoing investigation against him. "No ma'am."
Mrs. Shifflett also had no comment. "I'm not going to say anything," she said.
Tom Reese, a Culpeper auctioneer running for Town Council in the May election, put up the money for Shifflett's release and said he also posted the $2,000 bond the first time Shifflett was arrested.
Reese, 76, said he is a 19-year member of Shifflett's two congregations and a trustee at First Baptist. Reese, former mayor of Remington, said he is "100 percent sure" of "Preacher's" innocence.
"Why would somebody wait 26 years, 20 years, 16 years to come forward with this?" Reese said of the pending charges filed against Shifflett by three former students at Calvary Baptist Academy, located next to Calvary Baptist Church, where Shifflett formerly served as pastor.
"I don't think he did anything wrong," Reese added. "I know he is not that type of guy."
Reese tied the recent string of charges to the split of Calvary Baptist Church in November, when Shifflett resigned as preacher there and started First Baptist. His new church meets at Dominion Skating Center on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday night.
"I think some of the people who split from Calvary are the backbone of this thing," Reese said.
He added that getting Shifflett out of jail was more important than his own political aspirations.
"If it meant freeing the preacher, I'd rather do that than be on Town Council," said Reese.
In the new arrest warrant filed Thursday, the alleged victim claimed Shifflett "spanked" her repeatedly during one incident in 1990 when she was 10 and a student at his school.
In her handwritten statement, the now 26-year-old women - whose identity the Star-Exponent has decided to keep anonymous - said Shifflett "called me into his office" to ask about "her sister's birth control pills."
"I told him I didn't know what they were and he told me I was lying. He was also asking me if she was having sex and I told him that I didn't know and he said I was lying about that. So he told me that I was going to get a spanking. He got a ping pong paddle and started to spank me."
The alleged victim said she was instructed to "hold my hands together on the edge of the desk" and "if I started to move, made a noise or anything he would hit me harder."
From his office, the warrant says, they moved into "the main church area where I had to hold the end of a pew. That is when he broke the paddle."
The woman said she was told "to stand still and don't move" and when Shifflett returned, "he had a new paddle." The spanking continued for a "few more minutes," the woman said, "then it moved into the side hallway where the nurseries were."
At this point, the woman stated on the arrest warrant, she told Shifflett she had to go to the bathroom, but he refused her permission.
"After a few more minutes, I told him that if I didn't go I was going to wet myself and he let me go," she said. "I was hurting so bad at that point that I could barely sit when I got out of the bathroom. He continued until someone came to get him."
The woman said Shifflett told her "to wash my face and go back to the class and if anyone asked me I just got in trouble and not to tell."
The alleged victim said she told her father about the reported incident when she got home from school that day: "He looked at my bottom and it was bruised with red marks that looked like blood. He almost took me to the hospital."
After that, she said, she did not return to Calvary Baptist Academy and her father enrolled her in public school.
"And now that this has come back up I have nightmares about it and can't sleep," the woman said, concluding her written statement.
Shifflett is scheduled to appear at a hearing April 4 at 9 a.m. in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. More charges in the ongoing investigation are expected, officials say.
In October, the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office began an investigation of Shifflett, prompted by a church member coming forward with concerns of how the school was run.
- Three of his subsequent four jail bookings resulted from arrest warrants obtained by former students Chad Robison, 29, Liz Bailey, 35 and the woman who filed her citizen complaint through the magistrate's office Thursday.
- Robison claims Shifflett sexually and physically abused him while he was a student at the school. Bailey obtained a warrant about 10 days after Robinson on charges of sexual abuse against Shifflett.
The Robesonian, Lumberton, NC, 23 February 2006
State BOE probes paddling complaint
By Mark Locklear
LUMBERTON - The mother of a Rowland Middle School student who was bruised after a paddling in September has filed a complaint with the state Board of Education.
Tina Morgan said local school officials failed to conduct a "thorough investigation" into the Sept. 12 incident. A teacher hit her son, who was 12 at the time, five times with a wood paddle as punishment for misbehavior. Her son's buttocks appeared bruised and swollen in photographs she said were taken after the incident.
"I want a complete investigation," Morgan said.
Since the incident, Morgan has been assisted by Peggy Dean, a representative with Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education. Dean filed the complaint in December. Copies were mailed to state Superintendent June Atkinson and Harry Wilson, the state board's attorney.
"We are looking into it," Wilson said on Tuesday. "That's pretty much all I can say. I can't give a lot of details other than confirming that I've been made aware of it. We will try to come up with some type of conclusion or what ought to happen. I'm hoping to be in a better position to say more in a couple of weeks."
Dean said she sent Wilson a copy of the boy's medical records, a photograph of the paddle, a photograph of bruises and other documents. The boy was taken to the emergency room at Southeastern Regional Medical Center after the paddling.
School officials said the teacher, Anthony Britt, followed protocol. District Attorney Johnson Britt looked into the incident last year, but elected not to file criminal charges. Corporal punishment is permitted by the school system, but only with permission of parents or a guardian who sign a consent form before the school year. Johnson Britt concluded corporal punishment was not used to intentionally hurt the student. The Britts are not related.
Morgan said she enrolled her son at Pembroke Middle School on Tuesday because of continued disciplinary problems at Rowland Middle.
Dean, whose group opposes corporal punishment in school, said there is no excuse for excessive paddling.
"There needs to be some accountability," Dean said. "We didn't get it on the part of the school board. The board turned a blind eye to the abuse. The DA was unwilling or unable to prosecute the teacher, so where is the recourse for this family?
"There seems to be no recourse short of a lawsuit. I hope someone at the state level would look into changing the law and ban corporal punishment."
Dean told the board in October that teachers lack training to administer paddling, which she calls outdated, ineffective and dangerous. The Sept. 12 incident prompted Superintendent Colin Armstrong to issue a temporary moratorium on corporal punishment. The moratorium was lifted two weeks later after administrators met with principals to clarify the policy.
"A parent would be under arrest if they afflicted the same abuse. Whether it happens in the living room or a classroom, a bruise is a bruise," Dean said. "You can't turn a blind eye just because a teacher does it."
Sweetwater Report, Texas, 24 February 2006
RISD administrative contracts approved
By Kimberly Gray
Roscoe ISD Board of Trustees approved to continue the contracts of principal, Frank Young; athletic director, coach and teacher, Wes Williams; and counselor, Marsha Alexander during Monday night's monthly board meeting.
Other action items on the agenda included appointing Mr. Alexander as the representative for the National School Lunch program for RISD, adopting the 2006-07 school calendar, adopting the basic plan for the Roscoe ISD Emergency Operation Plan and approving an amendment to the FO (local) Student Discipline Parent Request due to a recent ruling made by the state attorney general on House Bill 383.
This amendment is in regards to corporal punishment and getting a parent's permission for it.
Board member and Roscoe ISD parent Coilla Smith, who stressed that she supported corporal punishment, suggested that there be an effort made to notify parents/legal guardians when a child has been punished with the use of corporal punishment.
She said she felt that the school and the parents would be better off if the parents heard it first as soon as possible from the school and not from someone else. This issue will be looked into further during next month's meeting.
Copyright © 2006 Sweetwater Reporter
Daily Record, Parsippany, New Jersey, 26 February 2006
Spanking horrors detailed
Ex-headmaster's arrest opens old wounds, say former Morris students
By Peggy Wright
Thirty years later, Mike Uhl still can picture how the headmaster of the boarding school he attended in Mendham Township ritualistically lined up the naked boys to inspect them for cleanliness after their showers.
Uhl, like other former Chartwell Manor pupils Glenn Head and Dominic Frasca, still recall the humiliation and pain of beatings that they say former Headmaster Terence Michael Lynch inflicted on their bare buttocks for infractions such as smoking, getting a bad grade, or missing a homework assignment.
Lynch has been out of their lives for at least two decades. He spent seven years in prison -- from 1990 to May 1997 -- for sexually abusing 12 other boys between the ages of 12 and 16 at the now-defunct Chartwell Manor between 1981 and 1984, the year the school closed. Yet, news of Lynch's arrest in Morristown in December on sexual misconduct charges has rekindled feelings of rage and loathing toward Lynch that never died in many men who were troubled boys or teenagers living under his tutelage.
Some learned about Lynch's arrest through news accounts or through calls from friends. Some found out through a Yahoo! support group on the Internet that Uhl started about five years ago for people to trade stories about Lynch, the British Isles-born Morristown resident who insisted that students call him "sir."
Several men who say they were tormented by Lynch have contacted the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. They want authorities --and the now 72-year-old Lynch -- to appreciate the damage to their psyches.
"His arrest has opened a lot of old wounds," said Uhl, now a 45-year-old resident of Calais, Maine. "He never really went away for a lot of us."
"You try to get on with your life, but it's hard," said Frasca, now a 47-year-old resident of upstate New York. "He had his own little world he lived in and he forced the students into it. His new arrest has rekindled stuff that was buried deep."
Kinnelon resident Bill Moore, 51, never knew Lynch at the stone mansion he converted in 1970 into a boarding school for hyperactive and dysfunctional children and named after the country estate of Sir Winston Churchill. Moore, instead, met Lynch when he was employed in the 1960s as headmaster at Somerset Hills School in Warren, Somerset County, and Moore was in sixth and seventh grades.
Moore said Lynch had a ritual of checking the boys' genitals to gauge their sexual maturity, and encouraged the older boys -- who lived in separate housing at Somerset Hills School -- to stroll around naked before bedtime.
Buttock beatings were rampant, Moore said. A Jewish man, he said he particularly remembers how Lynch would hold part of a comb to his upper lip and imitate Adolf Hitler. At times he is stunned by the flashback of how Lynch slapped him hard across the face in front of a group of other students, or how Lynch selected certain boys to watch television with him in bed.
"It reminds me sometimes of a battered woman -- being so scared of him but longing for his attention," Moore said.
Uhl said Lynch, as Chartwell's owner and headmaster, had a forceful, hypnotic quality that compelled students to obey him, even when he bent them over his knee to beat them with a slipper, his hand, a brush or paddle.
Denville resident Andrew Fleisig, who was at Chartwell for the fourth and fifth grades, said he was initiated with an immediate, bare-bottomed spanking by Lynch because he cried when he arrived at the boarding school.
"I think he's a very ill man," Fleisig said.
Lynch went to prison for seven years of a 14-year sentence for sexually abusing boys by spanking them, squeezing their genitals, or giving them enemas. None of the men interviewed for this article were among those Lynch was convicted of victimizing.
Lynch was released in 1997 and was classified under Megan's Law as a convicted sex offender at high risk of re-offending. Still, he was able to land a volunteer position at the Morristown-run Beginnings drug and alcohol counseling program when released from prison.
Last year, the prosecutor's office started an investigation when a man receiving counseling at Beginnings as part of his court-ordered probation complained that Lynch spanked his bare behind when he failed a urine test. The probationer alleged that Lynch told him that the spanking was punishment and that he would not tell his probation officer about the urine test.
The investigation uncovered two more adult men, who said Lynch performed hernia exams on them. One man told police that Lynch called himself "doctor," and he assumed he was a medical doctor. For these alleged offenses, he is charged with three counts of criminal sexual contact.
Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood, who is handling the case, said she cannot make any comments on a pending case or on plea negotiations.
Defense lawyer Peter Gilbreth said he would not permit Lynch -- who lives with his ailing wife, Judy, on Miller Road in Morristown -- to be interviewed for a news story. Gilbreth said he is awaiting word from the prosecutor's office on whether a plea offer will be extended to resolve the case of the Beginnings victims.
Gilbreth said he does not believe that it is fair for former students who say they were abused to come forward now hoping to influence the outcome of the current charges.
"To drum up emotion now about what's happened in the past would not be fair. Whatever happened now should be judged on the facts of this case," Gilbreth said.
Frasca knew Lynch at both Somerset Hills and Chartwell Manor. He was out of Chartwell by 1971, and he was interviewed years later by a prosecutor's office detective, but the statute of limitations had expired on any charges to be filed against Lynch in his case. Frasca said he was routinely taken to Lynch's bedroom, disrobed of the flannel uniform slacks that male students had to wear, put over Lynch's knee and paddled.
Frasca said he later turned to drugs for relief when he left Chartwell, and broke into the school to steal petty cash several times as acts of revenge.
"I realized he caused the kind of pain that no painkiller could fix. I had to do that on my own. I think he should not be out in society. He's taken a lot away from a lot of young kids," Frasca said.
Glenn Head, a former Madison resident who was at Chartwell Manor from 1971 through 1973, said he, too, was frequently paddled, and once slapped and thrown down for throwing a dessert at another student. He said he endured the physical exams by Lynch after showers. He said he believes Lynch was enthralled by beating the boys and then cuddling with them when they cried.
"He was constantly telling us he loved us. It's an absolute disgrace this guy would be out. The ruined lives this guy is responsible for is staggering," Head said.
Kingsport Times-News, Tennessee, 28 February 2006
Do you think your most embarrassing moment can top mine?
By Roger Davies
What's the most embarrassing moment of your life? Did you faint at the altar, trip while carrying a cafeteria tray, wander into the wrong rest room, or rip your pants at school? If you've done any, or even all of those things, I'm not sure you'd be able to top what happened to me many, many years ago.
The trouble started one summer when I learned that my fourth-grade teacher was going to be my mother. Yes, you read that right. If you're surprised, just imagine how I felt when I first heard the news. Being told "You're adopted" probably isn't as shocking as being informed that your mom will be grading your schoolwork.
Believe me, Mom did not want to be my fourth-grade teacher any more than I desired to be her fourth-grade pupil. I'm not sure how the situation came about exactly, but it did despite her protests and general unhappiness with the situation (I tried not to take that part personally). It's hard to believe that any administrator could have thought assigning a teacher to teach her own child was a good idea, but then again someone obviously thought the AMC Pacer was a good idea. When all was said and done, however, both of us had no alternative but to attempt to make the best of a bad spin of Fortune's wheel.
Naturally, I was keenly worried that the weirdness of the situation would affect me as well as the attitude of some of the other kids toward me. And sure enough, it did. If memory serves, it didn't take long for some of my classmates to make pointed comments about the fact that I had it made. From the lofty vantage point of my now highly advanced age and slightly developed wisdom, I suspect they are the ones who wouldn't have liked me no matter who the teacher was. Moreover, I surmise that more than a few remarks originated with my peers' parents, who were probably none too happy either.
But as tough as the circumstances were on me, they must have been a hundred times worse for Mom. Whoever coined the phrase "no-win situation" must have had this particular bit of awkwardness in mind. In the eyes of some, my mother would be wrong no matter what she did. If I got good grades, she would be seen as giving me special treatment, and if I got average grades, she would appear to be too hard on me. No-win situation indeed.
The stressful days plodded by until they reached a veritable crescendo of awfulness. You see, there was this certain math assignment, which I didn't do. It's not that I purposely neglected it. At least I don't believe so, although I'll admit that math has never been my favorite subject. To me, it's like Satanism, but less respectable. The fact is I probably just forgot about the homework. I certainly didn't have the attitude that because my mom was the teacher, I didn't have to do it.
Let me tell you, when everyone realized the teacher's kid didn't complete his homework assignment, you could have heard a pin drop in that classroom. I foolishly thought that was the most embarrassing moment of my entire life. Unfortunately, it wasn't. That particular summit of humiliation came about 10 seconds later when I saw Mom reaching for her paddle.
Yes, I got called up to the front of the class and got a spanking from my own mother. How bogus is that?
You've heard the expression of someone's eyes being as big as saucers. That's a pretty accurate way of describing everyone else's reaction as I got my behind paddled.
I don't remember much more about the school year, which is hardly surprising. I mean, anything else that happened after that fateful day obviously paled in comparison. Both Mom and I survived the fourth grade, and I can state with certainty that I had my homework every day - even math. That spanking was my first and last (at school anyway), so I suppose it did me some good. And it did seem to change the attitude of the kids who thought I would get a free pass. In hindsight, Mom did the right thing, though I was none too happy at the time.
Think your embarrassing moment can top mine? Share it with me, and I'll pass along a collection of less-than-stellar occasions to readers in an upcoming column.
Roger Davis is a Kingsport Times-News columnist.
Copyright 2002 Kingsport Times-News. All rights reserved.
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