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School CP - July 2012

Corpun file 24072 at

Houma Courier, Louisiana, 10 July 2012

Local schools end last vestiges of corporal punishment

By Matthew Albright
Staff Writer



The Terrebonne Parish School Board voted last week to eliminate its policies for corporal punishment, removing the last vestiges of the practice from the Houma-Thibodaux area.

Corporal punishment is the disciplinary tactic of using pain -- paddling, spanking, etc. -- to discourage behavior.

School officials say the move is largely procedural -- schools stopped actually using corporal punishment years ago, so the board simply eliminated the policy.

"We decided a long time ago that corporal punishment is something that, if it is used, should be done by a parent," said Superintendent Philip Martin. "It sends a lot of bad signals to kids about school."

Lafourche moved to eliminate its policies last year, said spokesman Floyd Benoit.

"We got rid of our policy on that about a year ago, but we haven't actually done it for years," Benoit said.

The Houma-Thibodaux Diocese's schools also haven't used corporal punishment for "a very long time," Superintendent Marian Fertitta said.

Corporal punishment is on the decline nationally. Whereas it was once nearly universal, only 19 states now allow paddling in schools, according to the Center for Effective Discipline.

Most developed nations also ban the practice.

The punishment's popularity has decreased as experts increasingly disapprove. Many child psychologists and psychiatrists oppose corporal punishment, saying the practice can disrupt children's development and set a bad example.


Those experts also say corporal punishment doesn't necessarily even work. Martin, who once administered corporal punishment himself as a principal, said that's been his experience.

"I came to the conclusion on my own that this simply does not work," Martin said. "In terms of impacting behavior, I found it really didn't."

Martin said the school's disciplinary records don't show an increase in suspensions or expulsions after schools stopped paddling students. If anything, the number has decreased over the years.

Benoit also pointed out that the school board started facing an increasing number of lawsuits from angry parents before corporal punishment was stopped.

"With all the lawsuits we were getting, we decided it would be best if we turned toward alternate ways of doing discipline," Benoit said.

Still, many local residents say corporal punishment is a necessary way of keeping kids in line. They argue schools suffer because of unruly students who disrupt class.

"Paddling worked for years to get children in line who might not have good guidance at home," wrote Judson Smith on Facebook. "Paddling worked when parents didn't."

Some parents think other, less intense disciplinary measures, like suspension or detention, aren't as effective.

"That's a big problem with today's youth. They act up and do whatever in school because all they'll get is suspended or detention," wrote Steve Detiveaux. "While I never received a paddling in school, I remember hearing kids in the hall get one, and that was enough right there to keep me out of trouble."

Other parents said they're not opposed to corporal punishment, but they don't think the schools should be responsible for administering it.

"I don't think it's the school's place to hit a child; it's a parenting issue," wrote Melissa Lirette. "I always told the school the same thing most parents tell schools: if my child is misbehaving at school, contact me and I will discipline him."

Others say they're against corporal punishment altogether.

"I'm sorry, but physical punishment has no place in a school," wrote Justin Ward. "It's barbaric, and it serves no purpose other than to teach children that the most effective way to get what you want is to physically attack someone until you get it."

Copyright © 2012 -- All rights reserved.

Corpun file 24071 at


The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, 27 July 2012

Jefferson Parish public schools formally drop their policy on using the paddle

By Mark Waller, The Times-Picayune

school board meeting
Mark Waller/The Times-Picayune
The Jefferson Parish School Board.

The Jefferson Parish School Board this week scrapped a mostly vestigial policy that spelled out how educators can use the paddle as a discipline strategy. Educators said they no longer endorse corporal punishment in schools and that they found only one example of a Jefferson public school using it in the last few years.

"We do have a policy in our district that allows corporal punishment, and we do allow it within certain parameters in our elementary and middle schools," Richard Carpenter, deputy superintendent for instruction, told School Board members in a meeting Wednesday.

"These types of actions or consequences are better done at home," he said. "It's a parent decision. It's just existing on our books and we thought we should address something that we no longer believe in."

Before Wednesday's board vote repealing it, the policy stated, "that corporal punishment shall be defined as not more than three swats on the buttocks with a paddle. Elementary and middle school principals and assistant principals may administer reasonable corporal punishment with prior written consent of the parent/legal guardian, in the presence of a witness, after other reasonable means of disciplining the student have been attempted."

Carpenter said a survey of elementary and middle schools found only one elementary campus that used the paddle one time over a three-year period.

He said the schools haven't received any complaints or discovered problems with corporal punishment being used. The board's policy repeal, however, said it "sends an inappropriate and inaccurate message that our system condones the use of physical force."

"The message we wish to send to our students is that violence is not an acceptable means of solving problems," the document says.


The issue of corporal punishment flared up in 2010 and 2011 at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans after the Catholic Josephite Order that owns the school called for an end to a longtime tradition of using the paddle there. Archbishop Gregory Aymond joined in insisting that the practice must stop because it defied Catholic values.

That sparked protests and resistance from parents, alumni and St. Augustine officials, who argued that the paddle was a signature feature in a character-building regimen that helped produce years of successful graduates.

An ensuing legal dispute ended late last year with the installation of a new leadership structure and the permanent banning of corporal punishment at St. Augustine.

© 2012 All rights reserved.

Corpun file 24080 at

The Crossville Chronicle, Tennessee, 31 July 2012

Corporal punishment change gets nod

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor


CROSSVILLE -- A proposed policy change on how parents can opt out of corporal punishment in the school system passed on first reading by the Cumberland County Board of Education Thursday.

The policy change will require parents who do not want corporal punishment used on their child to get a form from the school and state they do not grant permission for their child to be paddled. Currently, forms are sent home with students at the first of the year and those forms must be returned stating the schools have permission, eliminating thousands of forms and allowing those 300 to 400 parents who object to corporal punishment in schools to still make those wishes known.

Charles Tollett, 1st District representative, asked if the committee had considered eliminating corporal punishment in Cumberland County Schools.

"In 1989, the state legislature appointed a committee to study corporal punishment as a method in schools, and the number one finding of that committee was that corporal punishment is not an effective tool for dealing with behavioral problems in the public schools. I wonder if this committee has any sense at all of eliminating corporal punishment," Tollett said.

That study recommended alternative forms of discipline, including alternative schools, in-school suspension, behavior modification techniques and behavior contracts. The study also found the majority of teachers do not use corporal punishment but do believe it should be removed from the teachers' discipline options and that parental involvement helps to reduce student behavioral problems.

Tollett said the board had talked extensively about bullying and violence in schools and that the use of corporal punishment was contradictory to those discussions.

"It seems to me our ability to reduce those things would be greatly improved if we practiced a little bit of that nonviolence ourselves," Tollett said. "I just wondered if you'd considered taking the step that we will not use corporal punishment in Cumberland County schools."

Victor Randolph, 6th District representative, said there were some circumstances where corporal punishment was necessary.

"Some kids do not respond at all to detention," he said, adding his son was one of those students. "All of them at Homestead know that's one way to line him out. He dreads the paddle, but they've got my full support if they feel he needs it. He'll tell you, 'I like detention. It's quiet in there.' Detention serves no purpose for him."

Tollett said, "I suspect the parent has a better understanding about that than anyone else. It's a parent's right to raise their kids the way they want. It's one of our fundamental rights, and I've got no interest in abridging that at all."

Richard Janeway, 2nd District representative, noted parents can still opt out of corporal punishment.

"Everyone refers to it as the 'no paddle list,'" Janeway said. "Well, technically, it's the paddle list because the parents had to submit a form that said you have permission to paddle my list. Now it's a true no paddle list because now you have to say they don't [have permission].

"If you look the sheer number of paperwork, and this was part of the discussion, you've got [for example] 4,000 students and you get permission for 3,900," Janeway said. "But the parents have the option of opting out. And, with the great educators we have here, it doesn't take but a week or two to figure out what makes this one behave and this one behave and this one behave."

Tollett noted recent surveys by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights ranked Tennessee as fourth in the nation in percentage of students receiving corporal punishment in the U.S., surpassed by Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.

Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Discipline reports 37,419 students were paddled in Tennessee schools in the 2002-2003 school year, representing 4.3 percent of total school enrollment.

According to policy 6.314, corporal punishment may be used "in a reasonable manner against any student for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools."

Corporal punishment is to be used only after less stringent measures have failed or if the conduct of the student is such that corporal punishment is the only reasonable form of punishment in the circumstances; the punishment is to be reasonable and administered in the presence of another professional employee; and the instrument to be used is to be approved by the principal.

Under the policy change, if corporal punishment is refused, the student would face three days of in-school suspension or three days of Saturday school, with the principal deciding which punishment will be used.

Rolf Weeks of Crossville noted the Tennessee Parent Teacher Association was opposed to corporal punishment in schools.

"In a nutshell, both the national and state PTAs are against corporal punishment and believe it has negative effects," Weeks said.

The policy was approved as part of the consent agenda, which does not permit discussion of individual items.

Policy changes require two successful readings by the board. When students return to school next week, a form will be included with registration materials that parents can return if they do not wish corporal punishment to be used on their child.

Other policies approved on first reading include allowing electronic participation in board meetings by members who have to be absent due to work or family obligations or military service; revision of the suspension/expulsion/remand policy; and revision to the teacher evaluation policy. Also approved were two new policies -- one for the safe relocation of students and one governing the establishment of charter schools in the district.

© 2012 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.


Three-minute news segment from local TV station WATE-TV, Knoxville TN (26 July 2012) on the above decision. A member of the school board speaks in support of the change from "opting in" to "opting out", particularly in order to reduce paperwork. He is followed by the one school board member who opposes CP altogether. Parents say they have no problem with it.


This video clip is not currently available.

Corpun file 24074 at

Enterprise-Journal, McComb, Mississippi, 31 July 2012

McComb schools tweak discipline, phone policies

By Karen Freeman



With a new school year's beginning just days away, McComb School District Superintendent Therese Palmertree said she's looking forward to pivotal growth in all schools in the district.

When the school board met on July 17, Palmertree thanked trustees for their vision and support of the administration.


Palmertree called on parents to do their part. "Make sure kids are here and on time. This will be a major focus this year."

Maintaining discipline also is key, and this month, trustees approved a revised corporal punishment policy.

Under the policy, a principal or assistant principal may paddle a student -- as long as there is parental or guardian approval and a certified school employee witnesses the punishment.


Palmertree said she wants to make certain that if parents change their minds concerning corporal punishment, the school has those decisions on record.

Otken Elementary School principal Camita Nobles said some in the community were concerned that the McComb School District "spared the rod, so to speak," and had put together a petition for the district to use corporal punishment if necessary. Nobles said a group of pastors and others behind the petition wanted to know why punishment was not an option. "They wanted their voices to be heard."

Palmertree said corporal punishment was never taken away as a policy in the district, which backs positive behavior support and intervention.

"We'll try this this year," she said. "We want to keep children in school ... We'll monitor behavior and stay on top of it."


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