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Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, 12 July 1998
Ignacio Schools Adopt Spanking In All Grades
Misbehaving students in the Ignacio School District could find themselves at the wrong end of a good spank. The Ignacio School Board on Thursday added corporal punishment to its code of conduct. The move gives principals the right to swat students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of corporal punishment in public schools, but the practice is inhumane and could lead to problems, said James Joy, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. "It's not only demeaning to the student, but dangerous to the principal," Joy said.
The policy was implemented to avoid such problems, said board president Roger Phelps.
The principal will call parents first, giving the parents the right to OK the punishment or impose it themselves. "We have implemented a disciplinary behavior that has been handed down since the Biblical time," Phelps said.
Copyright © 1998, Denver Publishing Co.
Associated Press, 17 July 1998
Birmingham In Apparent Minority In Ruling Out The Paddle
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- City schools in Birmingham banned paddling of students, but it appears most school systems around the state do not want to abandon corporal punishment, which is permitted statewide and backed by Gov. Fob James.
Birmingham school officials threw out the paddle Tuesday at the request of new Superintendent Johnny Brown, who said he doesn't believe paddling is an effective means of discipline.
The state Department of Education had no figures on the total number of schools that use paddles, but a survey by the Alabama Association of School Boards in 1995, the most recent figures available, found that of 121 school systems responding, 112 allowed corporal punishment and nine did not.
Shelby County is among those using paddles.
"The Bible says that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child," Shelby County Superintendent Bill Sparks told the Birmingham Post-Herald in a story Thursday. "We as parents have not done a good job of teaching discipline to these young people. Paddling a student lets them know there are rules to follow."
Sparks said he doubts if 25 children in Shelby have been paddled in the past year. Corporal punishment, or paddling, in Shelby County requires written permission of a parent.
Tarrant Superintendent Fred Perkins plans no change in his system's punishment policy.
"Different things work for different children," Perkins said. He said the possibility of being paddled has more effect than actually doing it.
Some Birmingham-area systems -- Homewood, Hoover, and Fairfield -- all have policies that prohibit the use of corporal punishment.
The Fairfield Board of Education reviewed its policies in 1995 and said employees can physically restrain a child from hurting himself and others, but they cannot administer any form of corporal punishment.
Instead, the district uses detention, probation and work assignments as discipline.
But in Tarrant, Perkins said that if a child's behavior isn't improving, a lot of principals favor the paddling over a three- or four-day suspension because it doesn't affect a student's school work.
Jefferson County Schools also allow paddling, but Superintendent Bruce Wright says it's seldom used.
He said administrators have to be careful because they could physically damage a child. Wright said there is a fine line between going too easy on a child and making the punishment a joke, and inflicting enough pain to teach the child a lesson.
Mountain Brook Superintendent Charles Mason said corporal punishment should only be administered as a last resort.
"It has not been used in the last five years (in Mountain Brook schools)," he said. "I guess we haven't been close enough to the last resort."
Copyright 1998 Associated Press
The Birmingham News, Alabama, 17 July 1998
Corporal punishment on books, rarely used
By Benjamin Niolet, News Staff Writer
Although Birmingham schools banned corporal punishment this week, several neighboring systems still allow spanking, but officials say it is rarely used.
On Tuesday, the Birmingham Board of Education approved Superintendent Johnny Brown's recommendation that corporal punishment no longer be used in Birmingham schools.
However, seven of 10 school systems in Jefferson and Shelby County have policies that allow corporal punishment. Officials from most of the seven schools said spanking is rarely used or is used only as a last resort.
Andy Rowell, superintendent of the Midfield School System, said spanking can be an effective way to control behavior.
"For some children, one form of discipline is more effective than others," Rowell said. "It works for some children, and for others it doesn't."
Parents of Midfield students can request that their child be spared the rod, Rowell said. However, some parents encourage teachers to spank their children.
"We have had some parents over the years that indicated that spanking was the only punishment that worked on their kids," Rowell said.
The following systems have a policy that allows spanking, said officials from the schools: Bessemer, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Tarrant, Vestavia Hills, Jefferson County and Shelby County.
Fairfield, Homewood and Hoover do not allow spanking.
"It's our philosophy in Hoover that it's not an effective deterrent to change behavior," said Carol Barber, principal of Simmons Middle School.
Mrs. Barber said corporal punishment teaches kids violent behavior, despite efforts to sway kids from aggression.
"You can say one thing, but you're doing something else," she said.
Spanking in Jefferson County schools occurs mostly in elementary schools, said Rick Lazenby, director of student services for the Jefferson County School System.
Administrators have to file a written notice with the school board before students are spanked, Lazenby said. Spankings are given with a small paddle in front of a witness.
Lazenby said the use of corporal punishment has been diminishing.
"I have seen a movement away from it over the last few years," Lazenby said.
© 1998 The Birmingham News
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