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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  1999   :  US Schools Apr 1999

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UNITED STATES

School CP - April 1999



PHS Post News, Magazine of Perryton High School, Texas, April 1999

Number of tardy students down second semester

By Jason Carriker
Journalism Student

Excuses, excuses, excuses! What is found on a tardy slip can come in all shapes and sizes.

Students use excuses every time they step into a class after the bell has rung. And despite the fact that it's almost the end of the year, some still continue to show up for class late.

First hour tardies are the most common. Assistant principal Bub McIver said that around 90 percent of tardies occur during first period. Students late at this time are responsible for going to the office. There they have to fill out a slip and visit with either an office secretary, the principal or assistant principal.

The number of students late to class now is dramatically down from what it was at the beginning of school, when officials said there were sometimes as many as 80 tardies each day. A new tardy policy was put into effect shortly after the first of the school year and is credited for greatly reducing those numbers.

However, McIver said, "There are still too many (tardies), maybe 40 a day."

As for excuses, there are some that will erase a tardy, but the student has to talk to the principal or assistant principal to have this done.

McIver said that inexcusable reasons are a big problem; however, students these days do seem to have an extensive amount of problems to deal with, ranging anywhere from car, family or other personal problems.

And while some students may take advantage and use these excuses, McIver had some words of caution.

"Out in the real world, in every job possibly, they won't keep a person who is consistently late," he said.


blob The new tardy policy mentioned in the above piece (involving paddling or the option of suspension) was reported in the school magazine at the beginning of the school year -- see The Archive, November 1998.



Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota, 14 April 1999

Ventura's remark about school 'paddling' draws rebuke

By Anthony Lonetree / Star Tribune

The chatter of children in the crowd suggested that a common touch was in order when Gov. Jesse Ventura held court on parenting and education issues Tuesday at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul.

But while his recollection of being a latchkey kid was well-received, one woman took exception to his tale about having been swatted with a paddle by a gym teacher at Sanford Junior High School in Minneapolis.

She threatened to leave because of what she deemed to be the governor's apparent advocacy of corporal punishment in the schools. Ventura, after asking her to "sit down and take a deep breath," replied: "I'm not saying it's right or wrong. It worked on me."

The exchange occurred during a discussion, sponsored by Minnesota Parent magazine and the Minnesota Parenting Association, held to address concerns related to school violence, affordable child care and early-childhood education.

Those were among five major issues identified by 1,300 parents responding to a magazine poll in December and January.

The governor was joined by Education Commissioner Christine Jax, who shared her own stories about the rigors of raising three children, including at one tough time when she was between marriages and was financially strapped.

Jax said that she'd get free samples at grocery stores and took solace in the fact that her children were too young to ask about it. As a result, she said, she could relate to concerns raised Tuesday about the impact of steep child-care costs on family budgets.

Hank Keshi, a single parent from Minneapolis who works in St. Paul, said that he would have to quit his job if he didn't receive a child-care subsidy, because the costs would consume about a third of his income.

"Parents are not asking for a handout," Keshi said, adding that $1 invested in a child today would be worth about $1,000 to society later.

Ventura implored the audience to back his proposal for a "family endowment" created with tobacco-lawsuit settlement proceeds; part of the funds would go to child-care programs. He said Republicans are balking and Democrats have yet to place as high a priority on it.

He chided DFLers for wanting to use settlement money for antismoking education, saying the dangers of smoking were well-known. After Ventura asked for a show of hands from people who didn't know that, one child playfully shot up his arm.

"Oh, yes, you do," the governor said. "If you don't, you'll know after tonight."

The 90-minute appearance gave the governor the chance to speak while toddlers squawked and six parents shared their views on issues. Ventura also reaffirmed his advocacy for parental involvement in the schools, a return to neighborhood schools and lowering of public-school student-teacher ratios to 17-1.

On the subject of school violence, the governor suggested that teenage court systems be set up in schools to give students responsibilities that, in turn, would "let them see that violence is not an answer."

Punishment 

Ventura's recollections about having been paddled in junior high came after he warned parents about domestic violence and its lingering effects on children: "Let's all be honest," he said. "Kids imitate."

After an aside about not allowing the television to baby-sit children, Ventura spoke of the Sanford teacher meting out discipline. Kids were instructed to bend over and get whacked, he said.

"I told [my wife, Terry Ventura], 'I got the paddle once. And I didn't get it again,' " Ventura recalled.

Her reaction may have pleased the governor's Fitzgerald detractor.

She was outraged, Ventura said.

© Copyright 1999 Star Tribune.



Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, 24 April 1999

School punishment sparks wrath from parent

Middle schooler's being paddled triggers mother's questioning of school policies

By Robert Pavey
Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- Cara Faulkner thought her son was joking when he came home from school a few weeks ago and announced he'd been paddled.

"It was April 1," the Burke County woman said. "I thought he was playing an April Fools."

But when 12-year-old Brian showed her marks on his buttocks from corporal punishment he'd received that day at Burke County Middle School, she was angry.

"He pulled his pants down and showed me his hiney," she said. "It was bruised. They hit him too hard."

In fact, she claims, they shouldn't have hit him at all.

The Burke County Board of Education's written policy allows corporal punishment, provided a witness is present, in addition to the educator administering the blows, according to a memo faxed to The Augusta Chronicle by Assistant Superintendent Howard DuMars.

Although parents can file a written statement that they do not want their child paddled, school authorities had no such document from Mrs. Faulkner. But Mrs. Faulkner claims otherwise.

"I filed a letter three years ago when Brian was at Blakeney Elementary," she said. "Now they're telling me they can't find it."

School board chairman Johnny Jenkins, however, said there was no form on file at the middle school.

"We couldn't find where any policies were violated," he said.

Mrs. Faulkner reported the paddling to the Burke County Sheriff's Department and wanted to charge Tommy Mitchell -- the assistant principal who paddled Brian -- with battery, said Sheriff Greg Coursey.

"She filed a complaint that a principal had paddled her son, and she thought it was excessive," the sheriff said. "But after our investigator went over everything, we didn't have probable cause to arrest him."

The investigation showed Brian received "five licks" with a wooden paddle, Sheriff Coursey said. The sixth-grader was punished for repeated misbehavior.

Although signs of the paddling were visible on the child's buttocks, the injuries were insufficient to warrant arrest. "But it was definitely red."

The sheriff's department also brought in an investigator from the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services, who took photographs and questioned the child, but declined to become involved.

"We advised her she could go to a magistrate if she wanted to take it further," Sheriff Coursey said.

Burke County Chief Magistrate Alma Tuff said she evaluated Mrs. Faulkner's complaint but refused to issue a warrant charging Mr. Mitchell with battery.

"We didn't feel like it was a criminal case," Judge Tuff said. "The school system has its policies and procedures, and it appeared to us it was something the school system should handle, and not something the courts needed to get involved in as a criminal matter."

Mrs. Faulkner also took her complaints before the Board of Education on Tuesday night, and Superintendent Doug Day said he would "look into" the matter to determine if any policies were violated, Mr. DuMars said.

All Contents ©Copyright The Augusta Chronicle





Columbus Dispatch, Ohio, 30 April 1999

SpankOut Day promotes other forms of discipline for parents

By Tesfaye N. Asfaw
Dispatch Staff Reporter

On the day before SpankOut Day, Alan Simmons, principal of Fayetteville-Perry High School in Brown County, admitted to paddling.

"We use paddling only as an extreme punishment. We (paddle) only with parents' permission," Simmons said yesterday. "Quite often, parents request their child to be paddled."

End Physical Punishment of Children, a statewide organization with an Ohio affiliate based in Columbus, is sponsoring SpankOut Day. Events include workshops for parents on other forms of disciplining children.

The day promotes the idea that spanking is a form of child abuse.

Simmons acknowledged paddling is not always the appropriate punishment. He said he has had mixed success at his school.

"Some of them feel embarrassed, some of them tear up because it hurts, but some are rebellious," he said of students. "The threat of paddling sometimes changes their attitudes."

"Studies show that corporal punishment works. The child stops. But studies also show that saying 'no, no' or making the child stand in the corner also work," said Murray Straus, professor of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. "Corporal punishment does not do a better job than any other form of punishment."

Straus is author of Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families.

In a survey he conducted of 1,000 mothers of children 2-4 years old, 73 percent said they had spanked their children for repeating an offense.

However, that is only half the problem with spanking, Straus said. "In the long run, it boomerangs. It tends to make things worse.

"We found that, when using spanking, two to four years later, the child's behavior was worse in proportion to the amount of spanking they received."

Robert Fathman, co-chairman of the affiliate in Columbus and president of the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, offered a method he believes is the most effective way to discipline a child.

"The word discipline does not mean 'to punish.' It means 'to teach' or 'to educate.' If rules are broken, you should find out why they are broken and solve it by rational discussion," Fathman said.

Sending children to their rooms, giving them chores to do or ordering them to a corner are more effective discipline than paddling, he said.

"Parents spank their children out of anger. The emotion preceding, during and following is anger. We as parents should be controlling our anger," he said. "It is a wonderful thing to teach our children."

For more information about today's SpankOut events or for a free brochure on other forms of disciplining children, call Nadine Block, co-chairwoman of the End Physical Punishment of Children Ohio affiliate, at 614-221-8829.

Copyright © 1999, The Columbus Dispatch



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