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School CP - July 2009

Corpun file 21558

The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY, 9 July 2009

Paddling an option for some

By Michael Goot
Education reporter for The Daily Gazette

It seemed like the days of using a paddle to spank children in school were over.

However, it is still alive and well in some parts of the country. David Nixon, the principal of John C. Calhoun Elementary in South Carolina, uses a paddle to spank the children if they have done something like talk back to the teacher or fight in the hallways, according to an April 25 Newsweek story. [Note by C.F.: 25 April was that article's web publication date. It appeared in the magazine issue dated 4 May.] He reported that the hallways are much quieter and children are more well-behaved. Even a teacher who had left the district the previous year because she felt the school was out of control returned.

Schools in 31 states use some form of corporal punishment, according to the Web site Southern states seem to favor the practice.

The site listed links to some student conduct policies. In Alabama, the maximum punishment short of suspension is listed as "three licks administered to a student's buttocks." The disciplinary handbook goes on to say that parents may request an alternative punishment but if it is tried and does not work, the principal will paddle the student even without their consent.

The code of conduct even specifies the dimensions of the paddle to be used. Students in grades seven to 12 get a bigger paddle.

The Adams County/Ohio Valley School District also allows students to be struck across the palm or with a paddle by either the principal or the assistant principal, who must not be "angered or impassioned" at the time, according to the site.

No public schools in New York are listed as using paddling.

Some would favor a return to that mode of discipline. Sometimes, it can seem like the children are running the schools.

Maybe, kids have too much control nowadays and too much of a sense of their own self-importance. In the age of Twitter, Facebook and My Space, children can believe that they are the center of the universe.

Their egos are stroked. Their work goes on the bulletin board even if it has many misspellings. Everyone wins a trophy just for showing up to the football game, bowling event, or whatever.

Psychology has also been thrown into the mix. People want to understand students' psychological motivations for why they are acting out.

Locally, parent Lloyd Ray Fisher was dealing with his 13-year-old son who had been bullying other students at school and stealing from teachers.

He told The Daily Gazette in a previous interview that he tried the "Dr. Phil" approach by sitting down and talking to him but that didn't work. So, following an incident where he was suspended from school when he attacked a boy with a ruler, Fisher "whupped his butt." He used a belt and hit his son as many as 18 times, causing a couple welts, according to court papers.

Prosecutors initially charged Fisher with felony assault but have since reduced the charge to misdemeanor assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The case is still pending and scheduled for a jury trial conference Aug. 13 in Schenectady City Court.

Critics say using violence does not solve anything and does not teach children anything. Organizations such as the American Medical Association and National Education Association are opposed to the practice of paddling in schools.

The Center for Effective Discipline, which houses the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, said removing paddling from schools is beneficial. It said the decline in violence against teachers is attributed to the decline of paddling in schools.

In addition, on its Web site, it points out that many of the states with the 10 highest rates of incarceration also have the 10 most incidences of paddling. This includes Mississippi Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Missouri.

The debate over paddling is not likely to be settled anytime soon, but all would agree that children need to give teachers the same respect they give their parents.

Copyright © 2009 The Daily Gazette Co. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 21488

The Grove Sun Daily, Oklahoma, 15 July 2009

Grove School Board bans corporal punishment

By Kirsten Mustain
Grove Sun


Amid objections from several parents and teachers present, the Grove Board of Education voted three to one, with one member absent, to delete the option of corporal punishment from student discipline policies at a regular meeting Tuesday night.


Corpun file 21810


The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, 15 July 2009

Items buried in the budget affect Pledge of Allegiance, angled parking, corporal punishment

By Reginald Fields
Plain Dealer Bureau Chief


Ohio Capitol
A closer look at the state budget bill reveals a list of items that seem unrelated to the state's finances. Associated Press

COLUMBUS -- The state budget is a jumble of big numbers with huge implications.

Look deep enough in the 3,500-page budget bill and you will also find a hodge-podge of items that don't seem to have an obvious connection to the state's bottom line: things that involve studying fish, smoking in prisons and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Slipping these items into the all-important budget bill puts them on a fast track, avoiding the sometimes slow and contentious Statehouse law-making process.

As Gov. Ted Strickland readies his pen to strike out a few items before signing off on the rest of the $51 billion, two-year budget, he will find a few of those well-meaning but seemingly out-of-place issues awaiting his review.



Corporal punishment: Paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools is out. This was a Strickland idea that survived largely unscathed through the budget process.

At least 29 other states already ban corporal punishment in schools but similar bills in recent years in Ohio have died in legislative committee rooms.

The truth is, most Ohio schools no longer use paddling to control students, but a few still do -- at least until the governor swats the punishment away by signing the budget bill.


Corpun file 21832

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, 23 July 2009

cartoon 21831


Putting away the paddle

Press cutting

TUCKED into the biennial budget bill signed recently by Gov. Ted Strickland was a provision that brought Ohio out of the Middle Ages and into the 21st century in regard to the types of punishment public schools, including charters, may inflict on students.

Banned in the law are paddling and all other forms of corporal punishment, vestiges of a time when the prevailing philosophy was "spare the rod and spoil the child."

The new law, proposed by Governor Strickland, does not ban -- nor should it -- the ability of educators and other school employees to use reasonable force and restraint under certain circumstances, such as self defense. Nor does the ban impinge on the parental right to use a swat on the backside to discipline a misbehaving child.

The ban is limited to public schools, although we hope that private and religious schools are paying attention to the growing body of research showing that corporal punishment in schools is not only inappropriate but also less effective than other, nonviolent forms of behavioral modification.

For centuries, physical punishment was seen as an essential educational tool. Students and apprentices were regularly beaten for even minor infractions. But while educational theorists gradually began to question and then oppose that approach more than a century ago, old habits died hard.

As recently as 25 years ago, Ohio law actually prevented schools from banning corporal punishment. Mercifully, that was changed in 1985, when the General Assembly passed a bill allowing local school boards to say no to hitting children. Since 1993, schools wishing to use physical punishment have had to follow stringent procedures and parents have had the option of saying "not my child."

As a result, while about 68,000 Ohio schoolchildren were paddled in 1984, some multiple times, a survey by the Center for Effective Discipline found that in 2008 only six school districts were still using corporal punishment, hitting 110 students a total of 131 times.

Ohio becoming the 30th state to ban paddling is no surprise. What is surprising is that 20 states, including Indiana, either allow or have taken no legislative stance on the educational use of hitting children.

It is long time past the paddle was expelled from every school, everywhere.

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