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Orlando Sentinel, Florida, 7 April 1985
Paddling Common In Lake Schools, Called 'Effective'
By Barbara Stewart of The Sentinel Staff
Although there is talk in the Legislature this session of banning corporal punishment in schools, the paddle still is used frequently in Lake County.
The county ranked fourth in the East Central Florida region and 15th in the state in 1982 in its use of corporal punishment on students. In some middle schools and high schools, 1 in 3 children are spanked at least once during the year. At Leesburg High School, for instance, 578 of the 1,474 students were paddled last year. At Groveland Middle School, more than half the 412 students were spanked.
"At the appropriate time with the appropriate youngster, it's very effective," said Assistant Superintendent Pat Galbreath. His views seem to be shared by school administrators across the state.
One of every 8 Florida students is paddled in a typical year, more than in any state but Arkansas, according to a study made last year by the House of Representatives. The number in Lake County is 1 in every 7 students. The national average is 1 of every 28 students.
A state child-care task force has recommended that paddling be banned from the school system.
"Corporal punishment can turn into child abuse too easily," said Susan Yelton of the Child Care Task Force.
Rep. Eleanor Weinstock, D-Palm Beach County, opposes the use of the paddle in schools.
"Eight hundred different children are being beaten every day," she said. "We say paddle because it sounds softer, but what we're talking about is hitting with a board. And it is very easy to hit too hard."
Weinstock is sponsoring a bill to allow school districts the option of banning corporal punishment. Currently, schools don't have that choice.
"We don't allow corporal punishment in prisons or detention centers," Weinstock said. "We only allow it in schools." The laws preventing schools from prohibiting paddling amount to an endorsement of it, she said.
However, Principal Joe Folsom of Mount Dora High School said corporal punishment as used in the county's schools was far from abusive. "You can get it over with," he said. "It's cruel and inhumane to drag it on." Students ask to be paddled rather than suspended, he said.
Nor do parents object, he said. "They trust the teachers to discipline when it is needed, and paddling is part of that," he said.
Alvin Sun, Texas, 7 April 1985
Manvel group opposes paddling
By Micky Ennis
"I didn't realize how serious the thing was," said Willine Young, mother of Mike Young, sixth-grade pupil at Manvel Junior High. "It shocked me so bad I couldn't do anything."
At a meeting in Manvel at the Young home Friday morning, parents met to discuss corporal punishment and their children.
Mike Young was paddled March 8 by Coach Hugh Null and, according to his parents, was badly bruised. Pictures taken the day after show two large bruised areas on the boy's buttocks. Pictures allegedly taken a month later show a fading, but a still an area of large bruises.
Mike had allegedly been paddled a few months before by another coach, leaving bruises. His mother said "I told him that coach had better not ever touch him again."
Mike called his mother March 8 to tell her that the same coach was going to paddle him for scuffling in the classroom. She went to the school to protest, so another coach administered the paddling in her presence.
The boy, according to his mother, had on three layers of clothing when the paddling took place -- a warm-up suit, blue jeans and his shorts.
Asked why he had been punished, Mike said that the teacher had left the room and another boy had come over to "hit at him." Mike raised his arm and the two boys were scuffling when coach Rudy Carlin came into the room and told both the boys they were going to be paddled.
Asked if the paddling had left any lasting effects, Mike said that he has been having muscle spasms in his lower back and "It's made me nervous. I don't know what they are going to do to me next. I have nightmares, too," he added.
Robert Parker, a member of the Manvel Police Department, was coming that afternoon to drive Mike to a Galveston hospital for evaluation of the spasms and bruises.
Jimmy Dunne heads a Houston volunteer group called POPS, Parents Opposed to the Paddling of Students. One of the Manvel parents, Mrs. Genie Torres, called him the night before the meeting and ask him to come.
Dunne had just finished appearing before a grand jury and came to this meeting the next day.
Dunne, a former elementary math teacher who has worked for the Texas Employment Commission since 1982, said that he witnessed a paddling once while teaching and thought it was awful.
"We think it is legalized child abuse," Dunne said. "There are other ways of disciplining children."
Speaking as a former teacher, Dunne says that "good teachers do not need to use paddling. Some of those coaches," he said, "weigh 200 pounds. They look on it as discipline, not abuse." Dunne is trying to get it abolished in the public schools.
Dunne started appearing before the Houston School Board in 1981. He advised the parents in Manvel to take it first to the school board at its Tuesday night meeting. "Go and complain. They have a right to know about this," he told them.
The case will be taken to the Brazoria County grand jury on May 7.
Houston Post, 11 April 1985
Mother witnesses child receive two strokes with paddle at school. A month later claims it caused serious bruising and red welts.
Six bits says there's a shyster in the woodpile.
Howard J. Boland
In reply to the article "A first step" to prevent child abuse, listing 12 steps to take to prevent "whacking your kid," I would like to say that when a child has pushed you to the point of "whacking" him/her, they usually do not stop until you do.
Suggestion: List of alternatives to stop the "kid" from pushing you to that point, and if one or the other works, you might have time to phone a friend, thumb through a magazine or enjoy a hot bath!
After working with abused children at Ben Taub hospital, I can honestly say there is a difference between "whacking your child" and child abuse.
Sandra L. Meekins
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