|www.corpun.com : Archive : 1976 to 1995 : US Schools Apr 1983|
Independent Alligator, University of Florida, Gainesville, 6 April 1983
Parents demand hand in permitting school spanking
By K. Alycia Allen
Pupil paddling should be used as a last resort and only after the parents have been notified, several parents said Tuesday night at an Alachua County School Board hearing.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people listened as concerned parents expressed their distaste for corporal punishment. While most of those speaking at the hearing said they understood the school board could not prohibit spanking under state law, they suggested parents should be allowed to decide whether their child should be paddled. One possibility, some parents suggested, was letting parents write a letter to school officials refusing paddling permission.
"You require my permission to take my child on a field trip or to give him a special test, but you do not require my permission to paddle my child," said Barbara DeVane, chairwoman of the School Advisory Council. DeVane is also a member of the Code of Student Conduct Revision Committee.
The 1982-83 draft of the Code of Student Conduct requires parents to be notified of the impending posterior impact, but states the student may deliver the message -- which often never gets delivered.
Offenses that can result in corporal punishment outlined in the conduct code are fighting, vandalism, stealing, extortion, defiant behavior and using tobacco.
The suggested corrective measures for such offenses include extra class work, restitution and counseling. Corporal punishment is termed, with suspension, as optional discipline.
Another concern voiced at the meeting was the effect of paddling on students who are victims of child abuse.
One of the speakers, a foster parent of a child who had been abused by his natural father, said the school administrators should be careful who they paddle.
"I realize the administrators can't always know if a child has been abused, but they can at least be sensitive to the possibility," he said. "These children should be protected and not abused more."
The conduct code gives corporal punishment guidelines which limit paddle strokes to three for elementary students and five for junior and senior high school students. The code, however, does provide protection for students under medical or psychological treatment.
School board members are set to decide on any revisions to the paddling policy in their regular April 19 meeting.
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