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School CP - September 2012

Corpun file 24145 at


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 12 September 2012, pp.1A and 3A

Paddled student's mom files police report in Cordell

By Megan Rolland
Staff Writer

Press cutting

CORDELL -- When Linda Drew's 12-year-old son came home from Cordell Elementary School with bruises from a paddling, she filed a police report against the principal even though her husband had given permission for the swats.

"I expected his bottom to maybe be red, but he had a bruise that was 8 centimeters by 7 centimeters on each butt cheek and the bruises lasted for three days," Drew said. "I feel that that was excessive force."

The principal hit her son twice with a wooden paddle.

The district attorney in the case didn't bring charges, saying this instance of corporal punishment was clearly not against the law.

Oklahoma is one of about 20 states to allow corporal punishment in schools.

From a ruler across the knuckles to a wood paddle to the behind, every state school district drafts its own policy for corporal punishment.

Some ban it, and some highly regulate it.

Cordell Schools Superintendent Brad Overton said the district's policy gives parents the choice to opt out of corporal punishment in the beginning of the year.

If a student doesn't have an opt-out form on file, Overton said parents are contacted before corporal punishment is administered and given options. Another certified teacher must be present for the punishment, he said.

Press cutting

Overton said those policies were followed.

Drew's husband was given the option of "two-swats and be done with it," Linda Drew said, or several days of detention or in-school suspension.

He chose the swats.

"I feel that my son needed to be punished and shouldn't be fighting in school, but he doesn't need to be beat," Linda Drew said.

Drew said she took her son to Cordell Memorial Hospital, where they filed a police report against Paul Pankhurst, the junior high school principal who administered the corporal punishment.

DA finds no crime

District Attorney Dennis Smith, who oversees five counties including Washita County, where Drew's son attends Cordell Public Schools, said his office reviewed the police report and found that no crime had been committed.

"Everything was done within the law properly," Smith said.

"Anytime a child is involved we're going to look at it, it doesn't matter what, but again the law is pretty specific. That's allowed."

State statute specifically allows parents, teachers and other adults to use "ordinary force as a means of discipline, including but not limited to spanking, switching or paddling."

DHS says it has no jurisdiction in case

The Cordell police report said that in interviews with all faculty members involved, there "was no sign of excessive force during the administration of the punishment."

Determination of injury is the key when the Department of Human Services considers whether corporal punishment has crossed the line in a home, a department spokesman said.

"Punishment crosses the line when an injury is involved," said Mark Beutler, spokesman for DHS, emphasizing the department has no jurisdiction in the educational arena.

"In a home situation, we look at several variables. Those include the age of the child, was an injury sustained, and if so, the location and severity of the injury."

Overton said corporal punishment is one of several options that his staff uses.

"It's just another option as a consequence for students to try to correct behavior," Overton said. "That's what discipline is about, trying to correct behavior or inappropriate behavior."

Another state statute specifically prohibits the state Education Board from interfering with a school's disciplinary policy. So change either would have to occur locally or at the legislative level.

Drew said she is going to take the issue of the district policy to the school board for consideration.

"I realize it's legal in the state, but the school district itself can change their policy," she said.

Corpun file 24131 at

ABC News logo (WFAA-TV), Dallas, Texas, 21 September 2012

School violates policy when girl spanked by male administrator

By Teresa Woodard

SPRINGTOWN -- Taylor Santos is a top student and athlete at Springtown High School, northwest of Fort Worth.

"Her grades are very important to her," said her mother, Anna Jorgensen.

Taylor said she didn't know a fellow student copied some of her classwork, but the school sent both girls to two days of in-school suspension.

After day one, Taylor didn't want to return. She went to the vice principal's office to request a paddling instead. He had Taylor call her mother, who gave her approval.

"I knew school policy was females swatted females, and males swatted males," Jorgensen said. "If Taylor wanted that, I said that would be fine."

But she quickly disapproved when she saw the results and learned who actually did the paddling.

"I came unglued," Jorgensen said.

While a woman was present in the room, a male vice principal swatted Taylor. Springtown ISD policy states "corporal punishment shall be administered only by an employee who is the same sex as the student."

"It looked almost like it had been burned and blistered, it was so bad," Jorgensen said.

"It was bright red," Taylor said. "I still have welts on me today," she added, 48 hours after the paddling.

Jorgensen has photos which prove how red her daughter's bottom was.

The day after the paddling, she called the vice principal.

"He told me this was normal for her bottom to look like this after receiving swats, and that he was not aware of the school policy that females swat females," Jorgensen said. "But he used too much force."

Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley did not agree to an on-camera interview with News 8. Over the phone, he explained schools never administer corporal punishment unless a parent requests it.

While Kelley would not discuss Taylor's case in particular, he did say the district might have made an error. He also stressed two adults are always present when punishment is administered.

But we've learned the superintendent wants to do away with the current policy. At a board meeting Monday, Kelley will ask the board to get rid of the same gender requirement. He said the makeup of administrators makes adhering to that policy very difficult on some campuses.

Jorgensen is upset. She said she will be at the school board meeting to urge them to vote "no."

"I think Taylor is proof that we need to keep that policy," she said. "I don't believe a man intentionally meant to do that to her, but it still happens, because men are too big and strong to be hitting 96-pound girls."

© 2009-2012 WFAA-TV, Inc., a subsidiary of Belo Corp. All Rights Reserved.


Two-and-a-half-minute news segment from local TV station WFAA Dallas (21 Sep 2012) of which the above text report is a condensed version. The spanked girl and her mother both speak on camera.


IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

Corpun file 24129 at

ABC logo (WFAA-TV), Dallas, Texas, 23 September 2012

Another parent concerned about spanking in Springtown ISD

Springtown High School

SPRINGTOWN -- Another parent is raising questions about the spanking of students in the Springtown ISD, a district that permits corporal punishment.

On Friday, we told you about a woman who was upset after her daughter came home with welts, and that a male vice principal paddled her daughter -- not a woman, as district policy requires.

Now another mother is coming forward.

Cathi Watt gave permission for her daughter to be paddled for smarting off, but she now regrets that decision.

"I wasn't expecting it to bruise," she said. "A swat is a swat, yes it is, and they do sting. But to bruise a child? If I'd done it, they would call CPS on me."

Jada Watt was paddled by the same male vice principal as Taylor Santos, again, against district policy requiring that an administrator of the same gender as the student administer the punishment.

Springtown ISD told News 8 it could change its rules, and the school board is expected to discuss that proposed change on Monday.

© 2009-2012 WFAA-TV, Inc., a subsidiary of Belo Corp. All Rights Reserved.


One-minute news segment from local TV station WFAA Dallas (23 Sep 2012) of which the above report is a fairly exact text version. The spanked girl sits next to her mother while the mother speaks on camera.


IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

blob Follow-up: 26 September 2012 - Springtown ISD revises paddling policy

Corpun file 24128 at

Ocala Star-Banner, Florida, 23 September 2012

County's ban on paddling may be short-lived

Two years after the controversial punishment was axed, changes on the School Board could see it return

By Joe Callahan
Staff writer

Carol Ely Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star-Banner
Newly elected school board member Carol Ely is shown at the school board office in Ocala, FL. Ely, the former principal of Shady Hill Elementary, believes in paddling and wants to work to reinstate that punishment.

Newly elected School Board member Carol Ely wants to bring corporal punishment back to Marion County schools, two years after the controversial punishment was banned.

And it appears Ely has support to bring it back -- at least at the elementary school level.

Two sitting board members -- and a third who, like Ely, will join the board later this year -- support reinstating the practice at least for elementary schools. As in the past, parental permission would be required for any paddling.

Ely was elected to her first term in the August primary. She plans to bring the corporal punishment issue back to the forefront when her four-year term begins in November.

Ely retired as principal of Shady Hill Elementary in 2010, just months before paddling was removed from the student code of conduct.

Superintendent of Schools Jim Yancey recommended removing paddling because of the potential of lawsuits. He said last week that he still does not support it.

"I'm worried about our employees," said Yancey, who retires in November. "They are being put at risk, especially those who implement the punishment."

In 2009-10, the last year Marion County paddled students, the district was one of the largest districts in the state to still use the method, which was employed only as a last resort.

Marion would become one of the state's first districts -- and perhaps the first -- to reinstate the practice after banning it.


Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the number of Florida districts using corporal punishment declined by 26.8 percent, while the number of children being paddled dropped by 53.4 percent.

So, fewer districts are paddling, and the ones that still engage in the practice are doing so less often.

In 2004-05, the average number of paddlings per district was 192. That declined to 122 in 2009-10, the latest period for which state statistics are available.

Locally, during that same span, Marion school administrators paddled on average about 300 children annually.

Despite predictions by some that disciplinary problems would increase without the threat of paddling, the number of out-of-school suspensions has actually declined.

In 2005-06, the percentage of students who were suspended from school was 37 percent.

In 2009-10, the last year of paddling, the percentage of students suspended (from one to 10 days) had declined to 23.1 percent, thanks to the addition of more behavioral specialists. In 2011-12, two years after paddling was removed, the rate dropped to 22 percent.

School Board member Ron Crawford said he was on the committee that looked at corporal punishment in 2010. He said elementary school principals lobbied to keep the discipline measure as something they could use as a last resort.

"We should have heeded their call," he noted.

Nancy Stacy, who was elected to the board in August and takes office in November, said she definitely supports corporal punishment.

Board member Angie Boynton said while she does not personally believe in paddling, she would support it as long as "parents give permission."

Ely said when she was principal she gave parents of unruly children an option: paddle them or they would receive an out-of-school suspension.

"Ninety-five percent of the parents chose paddling," Ely said. "I am 100 percent for corporal punishment in the right situation. I rarely saw the students back in my office after they were paddled."

She said one of the biggest positives from paddling was that students remained in school and were not at home playing video games.

But not all school administrators agree.

Principal John McCollum III, who oversees both Osceola Middle and Eighth Street Elementary schools, stopped using corporal punishment 12 years ago.

In his experience, at both the elementary and middle school levels, the most unruly children were repeat offenders, whether they were paddled or not. Those students were often from low-income families.

McCollum said Mark Vianello, executive director of student services, added more behavioral specialists to schools, which helped to identify the root of problems.

McCollum noted that new programs, like Positive Behavioral Support or PBS, have been much more effective than paddling students. He believes paddling should not be reinstated as an option.

Nationally, only 19 states still allow corporal punishment. Mississippi led the way in 2008, the latest year complete statistics were available. That year, Mississippi schools paddled 38,131 students, which was 7.5 percent of all students. Arkansas paddled 4.7 percent of students, while Alabama was at 4.5 percent.

Only eight states paddled 1 percent or more students, according to the statistics. The national average in 2008 was 0.46 percent.

That year, Florida paddled 0.3 percent of all students, while Marion County paddled 0.75 percent of its students. From 2006-07 through 2009-10, Marion's combined average was 0.71.

Throughout the state, paddling seems to be the trend of smaller, rural communities.

Florida's Jackson County School District -- which only has about 7,000 students -- paddled 480 of them in 2009-10. That's 7 percent, one of the state leaders.

Boynton said she believes a district in-school suspension program, which launched in the fall 2010 after corporal punishment was banned, is a better alternative.

The program is called Positive Alternative to School Suspension, or PASS. Parents of students recommended for suspension can opt to send their kids to a school located on the Marion Technical Institute campus.

"I do believe there are better options," Boynton noted. "But if a parent gives permission, then I don't have a problem with leaving it in as an option."

Copyright © 2012 -- All rights reserved.

blob Follow-up: 24 April 2013 - Florida school board allows paddling students after banning practice

Corpun file 25552 at

TMS Online Newspaper (Tatum Middle School), Tatum ISD, Texas, 25 September 2012

Don't meet Ol' Hickory!

By Shelly Erin

The new paddle

Have you seen Ol'Hickory? I sure hope not. Ol'Hickory is Mr. Fite's new paddle. He isn't wanting to use it on somebody, but if you get into enough trouble, he will not hesitate. The paddle is not to motivate Mr. Fite at all, it's to motivate the students! He hopes that there will be little usage of Ol'Hickory this year, but there is no telling. Let's make this a good year and not disappoint Mr. Fite! If you make good choices ... this will be the only time you will see Ol'Hickory.

Copyright © 1996-2010 TMS Online Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 24135 at

The Weatherford Democrat, Texas, 26 September 2012, p.1

Springtown ISD revises paddling policy

By Sally Sexton


SPRINGTOWN -- Community members, staff and parents voiced their opinions and concerns on school paddling to Springtown ISD board members during Monday night's meeting.

With news camera crews flanking both sides of the room, the board voted to revise several policies under its corporal punishment guidelines.

The item was added to the consent agenda last week, following the publicity of Taylor Santos, a sophomore at Springtown High School.

Santos, at the permission of her mother, was administered corporal punishment by a male vice principal, last week.

"Her butt is still bruised and I don't think that should be considered normal," Santos' mother, Anna Jorgenson, said Monday night. "I just feel like he used unintentional excessive force. Many of these people know what a good kid Taylor is and, female or not, I would still be here doing the same thing."

Press cutting

Springtown superintendent Mike Kelley issued a media statement early Monday, citing local policy that if a parent/guardian did not want corporal punishment administered, they had to provide a written and signed statement to the district.

The guidelines also stated that corporal punishment shall be administered only by an employee of the same sex as the student.

"We did deviate from policy," Kelley said. "I'm sad to report that that's the case.

"In our staffing situation, we have a middle school principal that's female, and a male principal that had shoulder surgery so he can't administer corporal punishment. At the high school, we have three male administrators and three female counselors, but we don't want to ask our counselors to administer corporal punishment."

Press cutting

To compromise on both spectrums, board members unanimously voted to approve three revisions to form a new policy Monday night:

1. The student shall be told the reason corporal punishment is being administered.

2. Corporal punishment shall be administered only by the principal or designee.

3. Corporal punishment shall only be administered when requested in writing by a parent or guardian. The written request must include the student's name, the date the request is made, and the name of the administrator to whom the request is made. Campus administrators may decline such requests and apply other disciplinary measures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

4. The instrument to be used in administering corporal punishment shall be approved by the principal.

5. Corporal punishment shall only be administered in the presence of one other District professional employee of the same sex as the student and in a designated place out of view of other students.

6. Parental requests that corporal punishment be administered to their child shall not be honored more than one time during a semester.

"Springtown has gotten way too much flak out of this," Santos' father Dane Jorgenson said. "All we were mad about is that they didn't follow their policy, and all we wanted was an apology for violating that policy.

"I want to apologize to the news cameras here -- I think it's crap and I wish they would just leave now."

Several community members stepped up to voice their support for the district and the vice principal, including faculty member Jilleen Kesler and Springtown High School student Makenzi Bartee.

"I've had swats from him before, and they hurt, but that's why we have parental consent," Bartee said. "It was the decision of the parent. This whole thing has gotten way out of control."

Cathi Watts, whose 16-year-old daughter had also received paddling from the vice principal, told media outlets that the girl suffered bruises on her backside that remained for more than a week.

Watts told the board Monday that Child Protective Services did get involved, and that the force used in the paddling was uncalled for.

"Men, when they get angry, don't know their own strength, and he did this out of his own anger," she said. "This men, that swat these girls -- they are telling the boys in the schools it's okay to hit a girl, and its okay to bruise a girl, and that's not right."

Kelley said the new revisions will serve as a degree of protection for administrators, as well as helping out the parents by requiring written statements that are documented with specific information prior to the punishment.

"We just wanted to emphasize that this is a policy now, rather than a practice," he said.

Corpun file 24123 at


The Dallas Morning News, Texas, 26 September 2012, p.3A

School district widens policy on who can paddle students

Board OKs swats by opposite sex, with witness of kid's gender

By Angela K. Brown
The Associated Press


Press cutting

SPRINGTOWN, Texas (AP) -- Like many schools in Texas, "spare the rod and spoil the child" might be considered the motto at Springtown High School.

But when two teenage girls there reportedly suffered bruises after being paddled by male assistant principals, some parents complained. They weren't upset about the punishment itself, but instead that the school violated the policy requiring an educator of the same sex as the student to dole out the paddling.

So the school district has changed its policy -- to expand, not abolish, corporal punishment. Board members voted Monday night to let administrators paddle students of the opposite sex, after Superintendent Michael Kelley cited a lack of women administrators to carry out spankings.

The new policy says a same-gender school official must witness the paddling, which is just one "swat," and that parents also can request one spanking per semester. In all cases, a parent must give written permission and request it in lieu of another punishment, such as suspension or detention.

Press cutting

"I personally think Texas is getting a black eye because of this," Kelley told The Associated Press. "People are assuming a school district can do whatever it wants because of this. That's not the case."

Texas law allows schools to use corporal punishment unless a parent or guardian prohibits it in writing. The issue of the student or educator's gender is not addressed, and there are no state standards on the minimum or maximum ages of students who can be spanked, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Cathi Watt, whose daughter was one of the two girls recently paddled, said Tuesday that she's OK with paddlings in schools "because they need it once in a while, and I got them when I was a kid." But she said the male administrator used too much force, so she does not support the new policy.

Watt said her 16-year-old daughter, Jada, deserved to be spanked after she spoke sarcastically to a teacher and an assistant principal, "but she did not deserve to be bruised."


© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


The first clip, "Springtown ISD changes corporal punishment policy", is a two-and-a-half-minute TV news segment from WFAA-TV, Dallas (24 September 2012). It talks of "the swat that went round the world", referring to the national publicity generated by the case, and includes scenes from the emotional school board public meeting at which it was decided to change the rules as set out in the above two reports.

The second clip is a 1 min 20 secs video by The Associated Press, "Texas High School Paddling Draws Controversy" (25 September 2012). This is a brief look back at the whole affair, focusing on the Jada Watt case as an example. Jada speaks to the camera, as does her mother, who supports CP but feels that this paddling was too severe.



IMPORTANT: Copyright in these video materials rests with the original copyright holders. These brief excerpts are reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

blob Follow-up: 27 September 2012 - Springtown ISD adds insult to injury with gender revision to paddling policy

Corpun file 24130 at

ABC News logo (WFAA-TV), Dallas, Texas, 26 September 2012

Alvarado officials say parents like paddling option

By Cynthia Izaguirre

Alvarado HS principal holding paddle

ALVARADO -- Corporal punishment has long been administered at the Alvarado Independent School District.

Superintendent Dr. Chester Juroska has been with the district for 13 years.

"The critics are the loudest," Juroska said. "You don't hear supporters speak about it."

Colton Cornell
Much spanked in the past year: High-school senior Colton Cornell. He prefers corporal punishment to suspension. [Screencap from the video clip below]

Last year alone, nearly 100 students got paddled.

"There were probably 80 students who received corporal punishment several times," Juroska said.

In Alvarado ISD, corporal punishment is administered at the junior, intermediate, and high school levels, but not at the elementary schools.

"We're not so gung-ho that we have to have corporal punishment, but it's the parents who support it and want it," Juroska explained.

Colton Cornell is a Senior at Alvarado High School. He knows all too well what it's like to be paddled.

"It does hurt pretty bad," he said. "The big, old wooden paddle."

Cornell almost lost track of how many times he got paddled last year. He said being the class clown has consequences.

"Paddling is a good option, because the way it works here you have two options: You can have a suspension, or take three pops and you're done with it like that," Cornell said.

Another pic of Colton Cornell
Senior Colton Cornell acts out his response to getting paddled. [Screencap from the video clip below]

In Alvarado ISD, corporal punishment can only be carried out by a person of the same gender and with both parent and student approval. School leaders say the paddlings are usually for minor infractions, like being tardy.

News 8's Cynthia Izaguirre asked Alvarado High School Principal Chris Magee to show her his paddle.

"Here it is," he said. "Not very thick. No holes [for air to pass through.]"

Magee said they make sure the licks are effective, and then send the student back to the classroom.

Cornell said he hasn't had one paddling this year, because he's learned from past times. Not only is it painful, but it's embarrassing.

"You walk into class and everyone's like, 'You just got popped!'" Cornell said. "But the sting goes away and you're fine."

Juroska said if parents ever want corporal punishment to go away, it will. But that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon.

© 2009-2012 WFAA-TV, Inc., a subsidiary of Belo Corp. All Rights Reserved.


Three-minute news segment from local TV station WFAA Dallas (26 Sep 2012) of which the above text report is an abbreviated version. The reporter visits Alvarado High School and talks to the superintendent (who stresses that it is the parents who want to keep CP), to the principal (who shows his paddle to the camera), and to much-paddled 12th-grade student Colton Cornell, who describes what it is like to get spanked in the office and then return to class with a stinging rear end.


IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

Corpun file 25157 at

CultureMap Dallas, 27 September 2012

No Pain, No Gain?

Springtown ISD adds insult to injury with gender revision to paddling policy

By Claire St. Amant


With all the flack Springtown ISD has gotten for its stance on corporal punishment, many have wondered if the paddling policy was on its way out.

Nope. The district voted Monday night to expand it. I really don't care if you want to spank your kids, or authorize others to do so on your behalf. Although that's certainly one issue at play here, I'd prefer to focus on another: Why are there so few female administrators in Springtown ISD?

The district's previous policy stated that if a parent gave permission for paddling, and the student chose to receive "swats" in lieu of other punishment, then a staff member of the same sex would administer it.

There are a couple of reasons behind this policy, like the idea that a middle-aged man spanking a teenage girl is a little creepy. No amount of parental consent can erase the ick factor in that scenario.

But, there's another reason to have same-sex beatings: the level of force exhibited. Now, Springtown superintendent Mike Kelley says it set the bar a little too high. There simply aren't enough female administrators to handle all the spanking duties in the district. Men will have to do it. Springtown ISD's updated policy calls for "a principal or designee" to administer corporal punishment, with a person of the same sex as the student present.

However antiquated a paddling policy may seem in 2012, if it chooses to have one, Springtown ISD is right to impose gender restrictions. But after national outcry over a female student's spanking by a male vice principal that, according to her mother, resulted in welts and blistering, Springtown decided to make the policy even more liberal.

Men can now spank girls with the district's blessing. And all because, as Kelley has stated, there just aren't enough women working in high levels at Springtown ISD.

Well, here's a crazy idea: Hire some.

Teaching is one of most popular professions for American women. Surely among all the female teachers in Parker County, there are a few worthy of promotions, and the district could place the paddle in their soft, capable hands.

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