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Corpun file 4455 at www.corpun.com
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 10 March 1983
Piedmont's schools revise spanking policy
By Carole Heckard
A student here can be whipped only after that student has signed written permission for any corporal punishment, the Piedmont Board of Education decided Monday night.
The new policy, adopted after a 1½-hour discussion, defines corporal punishment as "whacks, licks, swats, etc."
The board previously had a one-page discipline policy, and the permission statement was added by a unanimous vote.
The addition requires the teacher or supervisor recommending punishment to outline the offense and the amount of punishment in writing.
Before the punishment can be administered, the statement must be signed by that teacher or supervisor, as well as by the student to be punished and by an adult "witness to the administering of the punishment."
The action came after Phillip and B.J. Lloyd, parents of a junior high student, appeared at the February board meeting to complain about their son's punishment for what they called "an academic offense."
The spanking was administered in the school hall, they said.
At that meeting, board member Jack DeSpain asked that a set of new guidelines on corporal punishment be drawn up.
At Monday's meeting, Superintendent David Owens submitted the existing policy and suggested an addition which would require punishment be: 1. Administered in an administrator's office and in the administrator's presence;
2. That a witness be present;
3. And parents' written request to not use corporal punishment with their children be honored.
DeSpain then submitted his own policy suggestion, which also had been written ahead of the meeting. Board members decided Superintendent Owens' suggested addition was covered in DeSpain's proposal.
The board read the original policy aloud, and at member Don Dudley's recommendation began working on DeSpain's policy, changing or approving it line by line and phrase by phrase.
DeSpain's re-worked addition was approved and added to the existing policy.
Board members then revised the original policy, including addition of the phrase:
"Any student who refuses the punishment shall be meted the appropriate action as hereafter described" (suspended or expelled).
A lengthy discussion involving the grade levels to be included in the policy eventually ended with that being left to the "sole discretion and judgment of the teacher-supervisor."
Serving on the board with DeSpain, Dudley and president Jerry Snyder are Bob Funk, a holdover member, and Don Crosswhite, who won a board seat in this year's elections.
The new discipline policy for Piedmont Public Schools as adopted by the board of education Monday night is as follows.
The degree of a person's education is reflected in his daily conduct. Therefore, students should conduct themselves as ladies and gentlemen at all times.
If a student is a persistent troublemaker, he/she will be counseled and notification of such counseling will be sent to his/her parents in writing. Parents of students sent to the principal for corporal punishment will be notified by telephone or by a letter from the principal. Either of the above cases could result in dismissal from school.
The principal shall have the authority to suspend any student who is guilty of any of the following acts while in attendance at Piedmont Public Schools or at any school function authorized by the school district or when present on any facility under the control of the school district:
1 Immorality or profanity.
2 Violation of written school rules, regulations or policies.
3 Possession, threat or use of a dangerous weapon as defined by state statute.
4 Verbal or physical assault and/or battery.
5 Possession or use of any narcotic drug, stimulant or barbiturate not prescribed for possessor by physician, and/or beer and alcohol.
6 Conduct which jeopardizes the safety of others.
7 Conduct calculated to disrupt the operation of the school.
8 Truancy (includes skipping class or leaving unexcused).
When the principal determines reasonable cause exists to believe that a student is guilty, he may suspend or expel such student from school as described by state law. The principal must make a full investigation before determining that reasonable cause exists to believe the guilt of any student.
Any student who refuses the punishment shall be meted the appropriate action as hereafter described.
The principal will inform the parent of any suspension or expulsion of a student and of their rights for a hearing before the superintendent of schools if they are dissatisfied with his/her decision. This hearing will be made within three days of the request in writing. If the parent requests in writing, he may also have a hearing with the Board of Education whose decision is final.
The recommendation for corporal punishment (whacks, licks, swats, etc.) shall be at the sole discretion and judgment of the teacher-supervisor.
The administration of recommended punishment shall be either by the recommending teacher or an administrator.
Corporal punishment shall be administered in an administrator's office.
The teacher-supervisor recommending punishment shall state in writing the reason for the punishment and the amount to fit the offense. This statement shall be signed by the teacher-supervisor, the student to be punished, and a witness to the administering of the punishment. The witness shall be an adult of teaching and/or supervisory capacity.
Support personnel shall be classified in a supervisory capacity for recommendations and witness status only. No support personnel (bus drivers, for example) shall administer punishment.
Corpun file 4497 at www.corpun.com
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 17 March 1983
Schools need right to punishONE of our WESTnews reporters suggested that "it will make an interesting story if we can interview the first Piedmont student who gives permission to get himself whipped."
But the situation really isn't humorous. When a board of education spends most of an evening discussing the corporal punishment policy, it's a serious situation.
It is interesting to note that the superintendent, David Owens, was asked to look at and submit a revision of the school's punishment policy then his recommendation was discarded and a board member's suggestion taken instead.
One part of the new punishment policy is good: That an adult witness be on hand when a child is given "whacks, licks, swats, etc.," as corporal punishment is defined in the Piedmont Public Schools' policy.
Such a witness can keep the punisher from overpunishing a child or punishing one while he (the teacher or supervisor) is mad. The witness can also later explain the severity of the punishment, should that become necessary.
But a student signing a consent form before being whipped really doesn't seem to be logical.
Even more questionable is the policy allowing a parent to refuse to let a child be punished.
A longtime official in a large metro school district said, "I don't believe in whipping kids, but the school must have that right. If we are expected to educate these children, then we must have the right to discipline them."
Allowing parents to decide if a child can be punished (without even knowing the offense, no less) is detrimental to school discipline and to the child who then thinks that he can become immune to the justice system if Daddy just writes a note.
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