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School CP - April 2009
Tyler Morning Telegraph, Texas, 22 April 2009
Chapel Hill ISD Updates Corporal Punishment Policy
By Kelly Gooch
Chapel Hill ISD board members unanimously approved changes to the district's corporal punishment policy Monday at their meeting.
One of the changes addressed gender as it pertains to
administering corporal punishment.
The Daily Herald, Columbia, Tennessee, 23 April 2009
School board spares the rod
By Skyler Swisher
Corporal punishment is now officially off the books in Maury County.
The school board voted unanimously to repeal its corporal punishment policy. With the vote, Maury County Public Schools joined 29 states, 95 of the 100 largest U.S. school districts and 106 countries in prohibiting the practice.
School officials said they wanted the policy repealed to guard against lawsuits. Director of Schools Eddie Hickman said violations of the corporal punishment ban by school staff would result in at least a written reprimand.
"They will have to deal with me," he said.
School officials said they were worried a child could be accidentally struck in a manner outside of the policy.
Hickman said he has strongly discouraged corporal punishment since he took the reins of superintendent in 2004 and did not paddle students when he was principal of Columbia Central High School.
During the 2004-05 academic year, there were 77 incidents of corporal punishment reported to the Central Office. There were only three reported incidents of corporal punishment this past year -- all of which took place at Hampshire School.
The district's policy stated that corporal punishment should only be used as a last resort. Students could only be struck in a "responsible manner" a maximum of three times by a school-approved paddle, according to the policy. Parents were given the option of requesting their children not receive corporal punishment.
Not everyone in the community was in support of ending corporal punishment in public schools. David Baker, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church and the father of 11 children, told The Daily Herald in a March interview that corporal punishment is a biblically sanctioned punishment that is effective when administered correctly.
He said school systems should be protected from lawsuits stemming from the proper use of corporal punishment.
Winston-Salem Journal, North Carolina, 28 April 2009
House agrees to school spanking changes
The Associated Press
RALEIGH-- North Carolina school districts where corporal punishment is allowed would have to give parents the option of exempting their children from such a penalty in legislation that cleared the House on Monday night.
The measure, approved by a vote of 91-24 and sent to the Senate for consideration, also would require school officials to make a "reasonable attempt" to contact a parent before such punishment is used.
The bill doesn't go far enough for some House members who have wanted in recent years to ban spanking in North Carolina's public schools. Fifty-five of the 115 districts allow corporal punishment, and at least eight of them allow parents to exempt their children, said Rep. Martha Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, one of the bill's primary sponsors.
"This is a consensus bill. We all agree that we need to have safe learning environments for our students," Alexander said during debate. "This bill is not whether or not corporal punishment is appropriate or not, but whether parents are allowed to participate in this important decision."
Each local school board adopts their own rules on punishing students for misbehavior, with some minimum guidelines established by the state. Giving parents the chance to "opt out" of physical punishment isn't required.
That would change in the House bill, telling districts that spanking can't be administered to a student if a parent has asked in writing it not be done. Parents must be given a form they can fill out when their child enters school each year to decide. Alerting parents before a spanking occurs ensures that they know their children are acting up in school, too, said Rep. Laura Wiley, R-Guilford, a former teacher.
Several House members, including Alexander, worked to pass a complete school spanking ban in 2007, arguing the punishment was ineffective and could lead to injuries for a child. But the bill was defeated on the floor, as many colleagues said local districts should be able to decide for themselves whether spanking is a useful method of punishment.
Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, who voted against the bill Monday night, said the practical application of the legislation would be to "diminish and ultimately end the use of corporal punishment."
The bill also would require school districts to report annually to the Department of Public Instruction how many students had received corporal punishment.
Gainesville Times, Georgia, 29 April 2009
Ex-Riverside coach no longer employed after paddling
Head of school says academy does not condone corporal punishment
By Jessica Jordan
Riverside Military Academy deputy superintendent and former head football coach Chris Lancaster is no longer employed at the private school after he violated school policy by paddling a cadet on campus last week.
Lancaster, who also served as athletic director in his two-year stint at the school, admits to paddling the cadet on the morning of April 23 after giving him the option to take the paddling or do more calisthenics to work off demerits for bad behavior.
"Yes, I paddled him once he accepted that option," Lancaster said. "... Again, it was an option. It was not forced."
Lancaster declined to comment on whether he resigned or was fired since the school became aware of the paddling when the cadet's parent called the school on Friday to complain of the incident.
Riverside officials chose to notify the Department of Family and Children Services and the Gainesville Police Department so that they could independently verify the allegations.
No charges are pending, a police spokesman said.
In March, Lancaster announced to staff members he would be stepping down as football coach but planned to remain at Riverside until the end of this school year. At that time, he said he would be taking over as athletic director and head coach at Bruceville-Eddy, a high school in Texas near Waco. Lancaster said Wednesday he plans to move to Texas soon to be closer to his family.
Riverside Military Academy President Col. Guy Gardner said according to school policy corporal punishment is not tolerated at Riverside.
"That kind of thing we investigate," Gardner said. "Paddling, corporal punishment, although as I understand it there are some school districts in Georgia that do use that, that is not something we use here at Riverside. We have strenuous calisthenics and sometimes work details for our boys to work off their demerits, but we don't use corporal punishment."
Gardner said Riverside's board of trustees is leading the school's investigation of the incident and aims to "determine if there are other concerns that need to be addressed."
While Gardner declined to comment on when or under what circumstances Lancaster separated from the academy, he did say Wednesday that Lancaster is no longer employed at the academy. He said also corporal punishment could be a basis for dismissal as determined on a case by case basis.
"Actually our policy is verbal or physical abuse is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal," he said.
Jim Brim, attorney for Riverside Academy, said the school became aware of the incident in which Lancaster struck a student with a six-inch wide wooden paddle. Brim said the cadet involved in the incident told a parent about it and the parent called the school Friday to inquire if corporal punishment was allowed at Riverside.
"That triggered an investigation and Riverside chose to notify the Department of Family and Children Services and the Gainesville Police Department the same day so they could be aware of the situation and independently verify the facts," Brim said.
Brim said this is a situation of corporal punishment not child abuse.
"Corporal punishment is legal in Georgia schools, but it's simply not Riverside policy," he said.
Brim said he has no information that suggests any other Riverside employees have paddled students. He also said he has no information that the cadet involved in the incident last week was injured.
Gainesville Police Lt. Brian Kelly said the department hopes to obtain a copy of the DFCS report today.
"Our biggest thing is to see what was reported to DFCS and see what those allegations are," Kelly said. "... We'd have to converse with the parents and determine that the parents want to file a report for any type of assault against their child, and if they do, we'd proceed with a formal investigation at that point."
A legal representative from DFCS did not return messages from The Times on Wednesday.
Kelly said there are many legal factors regarding the fine line between parental-type discipline at the boarding school and physical abuse that may affect whether or not Lancaster could be charged with battery if the cadet's parents wanted to press charges.
"Depending on what the parents want to do with this, this may not go anywhere if they don't have an issue with the spanking or depending what was around the spanking," he said. "It may just end up being an administrative issue with the academy, which it sounds like to me that they're pretty much on top of it ..."
Lancaster, who graduated from Riverside in 1985, said in his capacity as deputy superintendent he served as a parent figure for cadets in that he was responsible for their discipline and safety. He calls the job "the toughest I've ever had."
"When you're running a military school in today's society, kids will look you in the face and lie to you and say, 'What are you going to do to me?' ... As deputy superintendent in charge of cadets' day to day operations, I was just trying to do my job."
He said he allowed cadets to choose whether they wanted to do about 45 minutes of calisthenics as their punishment for bad behavior or to "take this easy route" and get paddled -- an option he had as a Riverside cadet.
Lancaster said some students continually behaved poorly and had to do calisthenics day after day to work off demerits, which grew tiresome for many of them.
"I gave kids options," he said. "... This incident has nothing to do with me taking another job. I'm not trying to run from anything."
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