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School CP - January 2013

Corpun file 24559 at

Savannah Morning News, Georgia (but N.B. the school is in S. Carolina), 5 January 2013

Thomas Heyward Academy headmaster retires after 37 years

By Anthony Garzilli


John Rogers never wavered in his approach to entice teachers to Thomas Heyward Academy.

The Ridgeland private school doesn't offer high salaries or health insurance or retirement benefits, but Rogers believed he had an unquestioned sales pitch.

"You sell them on order," Rogers said.

John Rogers For Hardeeville Today
John Rogers was an assistant football coach at Ridgeland High in the 1960s.

Rogers, 70, is retiring at the end of the school year after 37 years as Thomas Heyward Academy's headmaster.

He started in education in 1965 at Bluffton High and was named teacher of the year at Ridgeland High in 1967 and coach of the year at Ridgeland in 1968. He was Hardeeville Elementary School's principal for three years beginning in 1973 and in 1976 Rogers was hired as Thomas Heyward's headmaster. In 1988 Rogers was named S.C. Independent School Association headmaster of the year.

Along each stop he preached discipline.

"You tell them that you can teach these children, they will behave," Rogers said. "Until you have order, you have nothing."

It didn't take long for Rogers to showcase his edict.

Within weeks of his Thomas Heyward tenure he told students not to play tackle football on the grounds. The games tore up their clothes, damaged the yard and the kids could get hurt.


One day he looked out his window and saw a football flying through the air.

He grabbed a paddle.

"I lined about 27 of them up and paddled all of them in the front yard," Rogers said. "I don't know if they thought I was either crazy or mean, but I told them what they couldn't do and they did it and there had to be a consequence for it."

Paddling is no longer used for punishment, but Rogers said "the message is the same."

Thomas Heyward senior JD Tuten, a Thomas Heyward student since K4, said students make sure to pull up their pants and tuck in their shirts, but he understands the rules all support learning.

"He wants you to do your best," Tuten said.

One of the 'greatest decisions'

Rogers grew up in Columbia, attended Dreher High, and graduated from The Citadel in 1965. He planned to go to law school, but after graduating college he and some friends traveled Europe. When he returned, Rogers hadn't applied to law schools so he instead sought teaching jobs.

After a year in Bluffton, he went to Ridgeland to teach history and coach basketball.

"Well, I fell in love with teaching and coaching and that was the end of the law," Rogers said.


In 37 years at Thomas Heyward, Rogers said he's proud that 90 percent of students from each graduating class go on to four-year colleges, including Duke, Clemson, South Carolina and the service academies.

"One of board's greatest decisions ever was to bring John in as headmaster," Fickling said.

Discipline remains. Rogers doesn't agree with out-of-school suspension. Instead, disciplined students spend a day cleaning bathrooms or locker rooms or sweeping the halls.


Rogers leaves as a local icon.

"Anytime a legend walks away you have to be sad about that," Rhodes said. "He's been Mr. Thomas Heyward.", Savannah Morning News © 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 24295 at

Raleigh News and Observer, North Carolina, 10 January 2013

NC school districts cut paddling cases in half

By Emery P. Dalesio
The Associated Press


RALEIGH, N.C. -- The number of children being paddled in North Carolina public schools is falling fast as fewer districts use physical pain to enforce discipline, a report released Thursday said.

Some State Board of Education members want the Legislature to stop the dozen or so of the state's 115 districts that still practice corporal punishment. The state board will decide next month whether to ask for a statewide ban on a practice that fell by 55 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.

"It's my personal opinion that corporal punishment, physical punishment, does not belong in our schools," said board member John Tate III of Charlotte.

School workers can use force to restrain students or intervene in a dangerous situation, but allowing adult authorities to hurt a child isn't an effective discipline tool, Tate said.

A handful of states allow corporal punishment, but its use is falling fast in North Carolina. Local school boards can decide whether to permit paddling.

The number of cases of corporal punishment fell to 404 statewide during the school year that ended in May, down from 891 cases in the 2010-2011 academic year. That was the first time all uses of corporal punishment were required to be reported. Before recording all schoolhouse paddling was required, 1,160 cases of corporal punishment were reported statewide during the 2009-10 academic year.

The new figures show that two out of every three times paddling was used in North Carolina schools, it happened in Robeson County. The school district retained its statewide leadership in use of corporal punishment with 267 cases, down from 296 the previous year.

Only a dozen of the state's 115 school districts had employees swatting students, and only nine districts did it more than once.

Columbus County schools, No. 3 on the 2011-12 statewide tally with 36 cases, suspended paddling last spring within days of seeing the district ranked second statewide with 193 cases the previous year. Burke County schools did away with corporal punishment in May after recording one paddling during the completed academic year. Supporters of the practice warned that doing away with corporal punishment will lead students to believe there are no consequences for misdeeds, and that principals and teachers should retain the option of using force.

State law defines corporal punishment as intentionally inflicting physical pain to discipline a student. A law that took effect last year allowed a parent or guardian who objected to paddling to block administrators in districts that employ corporal punishment from administering it on their child. That opt-out option was available in the 2010-11 school year for the parents of disabled students.

© Copyright 2013, The News & Observer Publishing Company

blob Follow-up: 8 February 2013 - North Carolina State Board of Education opposes use of corporal punishment in public schools (with video clip)

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