corpun logoWorld Corporal Punishment Research

rainbow ruler   :  Archive   :  2013   :  US Schools Apr 2013


School CP - April 2013

Corpun file 24434 at

Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, California, 5 April 2013

Letter: Corporal punishment in schools urged


Teenagers today are very disrespectful to their teachers and do deserve punishment.

There is also the fact of how they dress. Guys with their pants sagged to the ground showing off their underwear and girls with their incredibly short shorts and their low-cut shirts that expose a lot of cleavage. Most teachers just pull them outside or suspend them, but that doesn't do anything. Without corporal punishment, teenagers will do whatever they want in school and walk all over the teachers.

When there was corporal punishment in schools, kids who got the paddle usually only got it once because it was either really embarrassing or it hurt so much that they didn't want to do it again. Most schools have banned corporal punishment, but its facts that with paddling, less students get into trouble than without paddling.

I am a student and even I believe we should have corporal punishment back in schools, and many parents do, too, so that their kids can be more respectful and start listening to rules.

For those parents that don't want their kids to have corporal punishment, we can make it so that the parents have to sign a document stating that their kid can receive "The Paddle." I am very respectful to my parents and teachers, some may say otherwise, but I'm doing my best and with corporal punishment, I'll probably have those naysayers say I am.

Journey Granados
Student at River Valley High School

Corpun file 24427 at


The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, 13 April 2013

Paddlings in Miss. schools on decline

By Marquita Brown

What state law says

The following are elements of the state's corporal punishment law, Mississippi Code 37-11-57(2):
"When used as a disciplinary measure by a teacher or administrator acting in an official capacity and within the confines of the law and district policy, corporal punishment does not constitute negligence or child abuse.
"Grants legal immunity to teachers administrators unless the court determines that adult's use of corporal punishment was done "in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting a wanton and willful disregard of human rights or safety."
"Defines corporal punishment as "the reasonable use of physical force" by a teacher or administrator to maintain discipline, enforce rules, for self-protection or to protect students from disruptive peers.


Students were physically punished, typically with a wooden paddle, 39,000 times during the 2011-12 school year.

That punishment was meted in 99 of the state's 151 school districts, according to the districts' counts self-reported to the state Department of Education and obtained by The Clarion-Ledger through an open records request.

The numbers reflect a trend in decline. For example, in 2007-08, 58,343 instances of corporal punishment were reported, and that number has dropped almost every year.

Most states don't allow corporal punishment in public schools at all. Mississippi is among 19 states that do.

In Mississippi, corporal punishment is used in both top-performing and academically struggling school districts. Of Jackson-area districts, Madison County and Canton schools reported declines in the use of corporal punishment. Rankin County and Pearl schools did not.

Corporal punishment is allowed in Hinds County schools with parents' consent, but the district did not report any use of it, according to the information from the state Department of Education. Corporal punishment is not allowed in Jackson and Clinton schools.

The debate over corporal punishment is fueled by cases in which children were injured during paddlings at school.

That happened in 2011, when after being paddled at Independence High School in Tate County, 14-year-old Trey Clayton fainted and fell face-first onto the concrete floor of the hallway, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf after the incident. When Clayton came to, he had five shattered teeth and a lacerated chin. Later, when he was treated at the hospital, he received 10 stitches to his chin and his jaw temporarily was wired shut. Bruises from the paddling lingered for days, according to the complaint.

In the complaint, attorney Joe Murray argues Clayton's constitutional rights were violated by use of cruel and unusual punishment.

"These to me are not paddlings; they're literally beatings," Murray said.

State law protects teachers and administrators from liability if they administer paddlings within the course of duty.

Murray argues that the legal immunity makes it an uphill battle for families, particularly financially strapped ones, to fight if they feel a punishment was excessive.

In March, Murray opened the Center for Liberty in Justice and Education, which is awaiting nonprofit status. In a typical week, he said, he gets about 50 calls related to corporal punishment, not including people stopping by his office in Ripley.

"I'm not on a crusade against corporal punishment," Murray said, but the way things are set up, there is no protection for students and the use of the discipline approach is "completely arbitrary," he said.

Policies and procedures should be established to protect students and to "do away with the immunity because it protects wrongdoers," he said.

In districts where corporal punishment is allowed, there typically are guidelines such as required parental consent, restrictions on who can administer the punishment -- typically a principal or other high-ranking school administrator -- and a stipulation that an adult witness the discipline.

Policies on when corporal punishment is used vary. In Attala County schools, where the use of corporal punishment is relatively high when compared to the student population, the approach can be used for misbehavior including insubordination, fighting, disobedience, skipping class, using shocking language and disrupting the lunchroom.

The policy in the student handbook of Broad Street High School in Shelby, there is an explanation that the approach could be used essentially as a last resort unless the students' behavior "is of such an extreme nature that corporal punishment is the only reasonable form of discipline under the circumstances." Broad Street High is part of the North Bolivar School District, a district that also has a relatively high use of corporal punishment compared to student enrollment.

Some educators argue that in most cases, corporal punishment is administered without a hitch and with broad community support.

District policies typically require parents to give consent each year to the use of corporal punishment, typically paddling, with their child.

Pearl schools Superintendent Ray Morgigno is one of those parents.

"I've OK'd for corporal punishment to be used on my children if need be," Morgigno said.

Elementary students typically don't have in-school suspension or detention. They use color charts where a child moves from green for good behavior to red for bad behavior.

Pearl district policy requires the punishment to be applied by an administrator and that a witness be present -- and only if parents agree to have their child paddled.

Morgigno said the approach may not have been used at Pearl High School in the current school year and there were not many cases at Pearl Junior High School.

If a parent is called because his or her child is about to be sent to detention, they often opt for two licks with a paddle instead.

Pearl schools, like other districts around the state, also use positive behavioral interventions and supports, an approach where greater emphasis is placed on rewarding students for good behavior and providing guidance for students who misbehave.

That system works, Morgigno said, noting that the approach has been stressed in recent years.

The rewards at the elementary level include big treats like a party with the principal for students who have had good behavior all month, as well as chances to eat pizza or a Popsicle with the principal. There typically are more students who stay on green, the color for good behavior, each day because they want to participate in the fun activities, he said.

For older students, rewards include recognition as "Pirates of the Month," a nod to the district mascot, and special breaks for students who have not had discipline problems or who have earned all A's.

Discipline problems in the district are on the decline, Morgigno said.

Corpun file 24430 at

Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Georgia, 13 April 2013

Mom says daughter was bruised by school paddling

Muscogee County considers banning corporal punishment

By Mark Rice

File picture of a school paddle
Photo illustration by Mike Haskey. Not an actual Muscogee County School District paddle

Tekicia Yancie had a choice: Allow the assistant principal to paddle her 11-year-old daughter who had been accused of bullying, or accept a three-day suspension for the East Columbus Magnet Academy sixth-grader.

"I didn't want her to miss any school," Yancie said.

That choice resulted in three whacks from assistant principal John Spurlock's paddle -- leaving the girl's buttocks so bruised that it was painful to sit and difficult for her to sleep, Yancie said. The mother called police that night and took her daughter to a hospital, where a medical report says she was treated for a contusion of the soft tissue and released.

The girl ended up missing more class time -- four days -- than if she'd taken the suspension.


Paddling won't be permitted again in the Muscogee County School District if the school board approves Interim Superintendent John Phillips' recommendation to ban corporal punishment. The board is scheduled to vote on the policy change during its 6 p.m. April 22 meeting.

It's unclear whether the incident prompted the recommended policy change, but this much is clear: Tekicia Yancie has changed her mind about corporal punishment in school.

Yancie said a school official called her on Feb. 22 and said her daughter had bullied a boy. The offense: The girl drew a picture that depicted the boy with a ponytail.

"I don't think that was grounds for suspension," Yancie said.

Yancie said this was the first time her daughter had been in trouble at school. But the sixth-grader had just received an "F" on her progress report in science, so the mother figured her daughter couldn't afford to be suspended for three days.

Plus, Yancie, 33, was paddled "once or twice" for reasons she couldn't recall when she was a student two decades ago at Marshall Middle School, "and it just stung, but there were no marks."

Complaining mother All of which led her to conclude that paddling was the least of two evils. "I thought it would be a lesson for her so she wouldn't have to go to the office again," she said.

Now, the mother regrets the decision. "It ended up being just totally different," she said.

Spurlock administered the girl's paddling, Yancie said. Principal Kevin Scott and a female guidance counselor also were present, she said.

Yancie said her daughter described what happened.

"She got the three licks," Yancie said. "It wasn't easy. They said she needed to turn around or get two more. She was crying, and they told her to wipe her face and get to class."

Yancie's daughter is 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds. Yancie estimated Spurlock weighs more than 300 pounds.

After she returned home, the girl didn't complain about the paddling until that night. Yancie was in the bathroom when her daughter came in and said, "Mom, my bottom is hurting."

The girl pulled down her pants, and Yancie was outraged at the sight.

"I was like, 'Oh, my God,'" she said. "Her bottom was red and purple and already turning dark on both sides."

Yancie emailed a photo of her daughter's bruised buttocks to her husband and aunt, who encouraged her to call the police.

According to a Columbus Police Department report, Officer Teresa Hudgens was dispatched at 7:25 p.m. to Yancie's home "in reference to a child that was paddled hard at school."

Hudgens reported that Yancie showed her a photo of the girl's buttocks, "and it was severely bruised." Later, Yancie also sent that photo to the Ledger-Enquirer. The newspaper chose not to publish the photo because of its graphic nature but used it to help confirm her story.

Yancie took her daughter to St. Francis Hospital. Medical personnel drew blood to ensure her kidneys were functioning and gave her pain pills, Yancie said. The girl slept at home that night -- but on her stomach and with her parents. She missed four days of school, Yancie said, and her bruises took about three weeks to heal.

On Feb. 27, five days after the paddling, Yancie and her aunt met with principal Scott, assistant principal Spurlock and the school district's security director, Scott Thomann, Yancie said. She showed them photos of her daughter's bruised buttocks.

"The assistant principal apologized and said he didn't know he paddled her too hard," she said. "The principal said his daughter also has light skin and bruises more easily, but this was more than a bruise. I know the difference between a bruise and excessive force. This was excessive force."

Thomann asked Yancie to forward him the photos, she said, but she hasn't heard back from any school system officials.

Five days later, on March 4, Yancie and leaders from the Columbus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, president Nate Sanderson and education chairwoman Latrica Rich, met with Gary Gibson, the superintendent's chief administrative assistant.

Sanderson stressed that the NAACP supports Yancie and her daughter but isn't representing them as the civil rights organization works to abolish corporal punishment in schools.

"We are holding in good faith that the school board will do what's right," he said.

Yancie and Sanderson said Gibson told them that the school district administration had already been working on banning corporal punishment before the girl was paddled.

"I was shocked," Yancie said.

Sanderson said, "Was it coincidental or were we the catalyst to make it happen? They told us they were in the process of changing it. I have to accept them at their word."

No school system officials involved in the case were reached for comment or made available for an interview. The Ledger-Enquirer's request for access to a photo of Spurlock's paddle or any other school district paddle also was denied. "We don't talk about any individual cases," said Valerie Fuller, the school district's communications director. She also wouldn't say whether Spurlock has been disciplined, but she did confirm he still is assistant principal at East Columbus.

Melvin Blackwell, the school district's student services chief, wouldn't discuss the paddling of Yancie's daughter, but he did agree to describe proper procedure. In an interview Friday afternoon, he was asked how to determine whether a paddling violated the law by being "excessive or unduly severe," language used in the school district's current policy on corporal punishment.

"If the pain lingers for some period of time, 24 to 36 hours in extreme cases, it may be considered excessive force," Blackwell said.

Asked whether bruising also would be a sign of excessive force, Blackwell said, "For a normal child with no pre-existing conditions, it might be excessive if it doesn't go away."

Asked why the administration is proposing to ban corporal punishment now, Blackwell wouldn't say whether this or any other case is a factor. "The district would like to go toward a more positive form of discipline," he said.

Fuller said she doesn't know the number of official complaints the school district has received about paddling, but there are no records of any such lawsuits, she said.

About an hour later, Blackwell and Fuller called the Ledger-Enquirer back to state that Spurlock did follow the corporal punishment policy and didn't use excessive force during the Feb. 22 case.

Yancie hasn't pressed for criminal charges or filed a civil lawsuit, she said, because she wants to first see whether the school board will vote in favor of the ban.

Yancie said she talked to interim superintendent Phillips in the hallway of the school district headquarters when she went to meet with Gibson.

"Dr. Phillips promised us it would be taken care of," she said.

Phillips and Gibson weren't reached for comment.

Yancie said she wants an official apology from the school district and her daughter transferred. She also wants to speak to the school board before members vote on the proposal.

"I will not stop until this issue is resolved," she said.

Current policy

Incidents of corporal punishment in the school district have increased from 738 in the 2009-10 school year to 866 in 2010-11 and 867 in 2011-12. There have been 590 as of March 1 in 2012-13.

No board members have spoken against the proposed policy change at their meetings since it was introduced last month.

"What people thought was the norm 40, 50 years ago, it's different now -- not good or bad, just different," said board chairman Rob Varner of District 5.

Leaving the school district exposed to lawsuits also concerns him.

"We have to defend ourselves, so let's just take that off the table as another target of litigation," Varner said. "Why put yourself through that? There are other ways to get a student's attention for discipline."

National Public Radio reported in September that 19 states, including Alabama, still allow corporal punishment in schools.

Chelsea Burgan, an itinerant art teacher for six Muscogee County elementary schools from 2005 to 2012, said she observed a trend in the students she saw being paddled.

"I noticed that students with behavioral issues that are manifestations of their disabilities, like those with autism and ADHD, were in the office more often in most of the schools I was in," she said, "and I noticed they were paddled more often."

Some principals threatened to paddle more often than others, Burgan noted.

"It's very inconsistent," she said. "I noticed that teachers were sometimes biased against students, especially if they had been in trouble before."

At one school, she saw the principal "walk around the hallways carrying a paddle in his hands often. I felt intimidated, and I'm sure the students must have too."

One day, when she called the school's office for help with a difficult class, that principal came to her room and asked her who was misbehaving. She pointed out the student, and the principal "started swatting at him with the paddle."

She said she never called for help at that school again.

Opposing views

Lance Anthony is a retired social worker with 19 years of professional experience in the Alabama Department of Corrections, where he conducted counseling sessions about domestic violence and managing anger and stress. The Salem, Ala., resident is board chairman at Bethany Baptist Church in Phenix City. He also has been a substitute teacher in Muscogee and Russell counties.

Anthony is convinced Muscogee County would make a mistake if it bans corporal punishment.

"I fully believe in 'spare the rod and spoil the child,'" he said. "The permissive society is a breeding ground for violence and trouble with a capital 'T.'"

A local psychologist, however, contends paddling is trouble. Angela Sims, director of the Sarah T. Butler Children's Center at the Pastoral Institute in Columbus, declined to give her opinion about the proposed ban, but said research shows better ways to discipline children.

"We never use corporal punishment in our work here," said Sims, a developmental psychologist for more than 25 years. "We use timeout, consequences, behavior charts. Children really respond well to reinforcement and praise, where they are working toward the positive."

Instead of paddling in schools, "I find it's more effective for children to write an essay about why they need to behave, or do extra chores or extra school work," she said.

Sims also prefers in-school as opposed to out-of-school suspension, so students aren't "rewarded for their behavior."

Perhaps nobody is more familiar with corporal punishment in Muscogee County than Jim Buntin. He has been on both ends of the paddle. He was whacked as a student at Jordan High School, Class of 1961; he administered the discipline as assistant principal at Columbus and Spencer high schools; and he was responsible for the district's policy as superintendent from 1995 to 1996.

Even when he was receiving blows, "I never looked at it as a bad experience," said Buntin, 69, who retired as an executive with TSYS after leaving the school district. "Every time it happened, it was well-deserved. I always felt people ought to be held responsible for their actions."

Buntin acknowledged paddling "certainly isn't the instrument for every infraction and every child. You've got to understand what motivates people. It's not 'I'm being a big man and trying to hurt you.' It's 'Hopefully, you're here to get an education, so what's the easiest way you can possibly get it?'"

Among the hundreds of students he paddled in 32 years as an educator, Buntin offers his first case as an example of successful corporal punishment.

He was a social studies teacher and coach at Lafayette High School in 1965. It was the first day of class, and a "big ol' boy" was more interested in testing the new teacher than listening to him.

The boy refused to sit down despite several reminders until they agreed to settle their dispute after class. They walked down to the gym to talk, but the boy still was belligerent, so Buntin "administered some directed guidance."

"He played on the football team I coached the following year and was a good kid, but you had to get his attention," Buntin said. "We ended up being really good friends, and he was a good student."

Having corporal punishment as an option also benefits the teachers, Buntin said. He remembers a female teacher who just arrived from New Jersey during his first year as assistant principal at Spencer.

"The first week, she said she can't believe an educator would ever put a paddle on a child," he recalled with a laugh. "After the second week, she was sending students down to me, and paddling wasn't enough. She wanted blood."

Buntin admitted, however, that corporal punishment isn't for every student.

"It works beautifully with an awful lot of people," he said. "But, to be honest with you, if you paddle some of them, they're going to burn the school down."

Indeed, one of Buntin's paddlings nearly sparked a disaster.

He remembers a boy he paddled at Spencer who knocked on his door at home several years later. The former student had become a preacher and now wanted Buntin's forgiveness -- for putting a bomb underneath his house to avenge the paddling.

Buntin didn't know about the bomb because the boy had changed his mind and removed it.

Through it all, Buntin still is a paddling proponent and hopes the school board opposes the proposed ban.

"I think it's got a definite place in the school system, but it's a selective place," he said. "It's not to be used indiscriminately. If it's used correctly, which is the reason why I used it, it can dramatically have a positive effect on discipline in the school. And if you're having a positive effect on disciplining students, you have the best chance of educating them."

A changed view

Terry Baker is another paddling veteran. He used it for the 10 years he was principal of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School before he became the school district's elementary education director in January.

The paddlings always were as a last resort, always with a witness and always with parental permission, he said, but they weren't for every child.

"Several times, I could just talk to children," Baker said. "But other times, parents would request I use corporal punishment."

Baker's discipline options before paddling or suspension included conferences, counseling, timeout and detention. Repeat offenses such as cursing and blatant disrespect would prompt him to give the parent a choice between paddling the child or a suspension.

In-school suspension wasn't possible at the elementary school, he said, because the school didn't have the room or staff to support it.

Positive reinforcement came through words of encouragement and rewards. He gave previously misbehaving students treats if they stayed on the right path.

"Sometimes I didn't even need to use the paddle; I just needed to show it," Baker said. "I would take it and walk the halls with it. I would tell them, 'I expect everyone to be on their best behavior. I love you, the teachers love you, and we'll support you, but you are not going to misbehave.'"

Now, however, he supports the proposed paddling ban.

"We're living in different times now in terms of how we discipline children," he said. "It's time to move to something more positive than punitive."

Baker's changed opinion of paddling developed despite what he considered corporal punishment's success at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

"When I first got there, I had to do a lot of it to restore some order and get some structure in the school," he said. "But the last three or four years, the amount of paddling I had to do diminished significantly. Those children understood the expectations and the rules, so I didn't have to resort to that as much. I began to wean away from that because there's so much abuse happening now, you put yourself at such a risk.

"You can really move away from (paddling) once you establish a good order for conduct, be proactive and consistent and progressive and positive. When children know you care about them, that becomes the culture of the school."

The culture of the community also is an issue.

"A lot of people would rather their kids receive corporal punishment than to be suspended from school," said Sanderson, the Columbus NAACP president. "It's an ultimatum: three licks or three days. You go and figure (working parents) with a child who can't be left at home by themselves, what does the parent say?

"As a taxpayer, I want kids to go to school to learn and become productive citizens, so I have no concern about your day care arrangements. But as a civil rights organization, it's an issue for us. That's why I'm struggling with this too."

© 2013 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

blob Follow-up: 22 April 2013 -- School board bans corporal punishment

Corpun file 24429 at

Fox News logo

Fox 13/WTVT, Tampa, Florida, 17 April 2013

Coach disciplined for paddling students

By Ken Suarez
FOX 13 Polk Bureau Reporter

Frostproof High School

A Polk County school coach has been reprimanded for paddling two students to celebrate their birthdays. It happened at Frostproof Middle High school back in late December.

After a four-month investigation, the Polk County School District just suspended Coach John Clemons for one week without pay.

"He should have gotten worse, because he ain't got no business touching them anyway," Ray Miles, a parent, told FOX 13 on Wednesday.

According to investigators, Clemons told the teens, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, that they were going to be paddled. When they resisted, investigators say Clemons told them they would be paddled even harder as the year wore on, so both relented.

The girl's ordeal went further. After the birthday paddling, a fellow student hit her backside with a pot. Investigators say she went home with bruises, but they are not sure which incident caused them.

Clemons told investigators the paddlings were all in fun.

In a written report, he defends himself by saying, "I did not use a full swing. I did not use a half swing. It was a tap," Clemons said. "I was sitting in my chair. I used no force at all."

According to school board policy, the amount of force used makes no difference.

"The bottom line for the school board's position is that type behavior is unacceptable. We have told our employees to keep their hands to themselves," said Manny Rodriguez, a Polk School investigator.

Corpun file 24449 at

Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Georgia, 22 April 2013

School board bans corporal punishment, adopts 5-year security plan, outsources some custodial services

By Mark Rice



As expected at Monday night's meeting, the Muscogee County School Board banned corporal punishment, adopted a five-year security plan and outsourced custodial services at its middle schools and high schools.

The Ledger-Enquirer already has reported about these issues, and those recommendations from interim superintendent John Phillips remained the same Monday night.

Corporal punishment

Georgia and Alabama are among 19 states that still allow corporal punishment (paddling) as a discipline tool in schools. Muscogee County is the only local school district to ban it.

Phillips has said research and statistical data now support other ways to punish misbehavior. He listed several points of evidence, including:

-- Poor children, minorities, children with disabilities and boys are hit more frequently in schools, sometimes at two-to-five times the rate of other children.

-- Corporal punishment has been abolished in more than 100 nations.

-- Corporal punishment teaches children that violence is a way to solve problems.

-- Corporal punishment of children is related to decreased internalization of moral rules, increased aggression, more antisocial behavior, increased criminality, decreased mental health outcomes, increased adult abusive behaviors, and increased risk of being victimized by abusive relationships in adulthood.

The board unanimously approved the paddling ban. District 1 representative Pat Hugley Green was the only board member to comment about the new policy during Monday's meeting. She reminded the administration to provide school officials with professional development to find alternative punishments.


© 2013 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 24439 at


New York Daily News online (web only), 24 April 2013

Florida school board allows paddling students after banning practice

Marion County school board says it's OK to paddle elementary students three years after banning corporal punishment, principal must receive permission from parent

The Associated Press


OCALA, Fla. -- Three years after banning paddling, the Marion County school board agreed Tuesday to let elementary school principals resume the practice to punish misbehaving students.

Officials approved the measure, which has been banned since 2010.

According to the Ocala Star-Banner, paddling can only be used in elementary schools, and only if a parent gives a standing written approval once a year. In addition, the principal must receive verbal permission before paddling the child. And a student can be paddled just once a semester.

The newspaper reports that before the practice was banned, Marion County was one of the largest districts in the state that still used corporal punishment.

The motion to bring back paddling was made by board member Carol Ely, a retired principal who believes it is a good option for discipline.

But board members Bobby James and Angie Boynton voiced concerns.

"This is going to open up a whole can of worms," said James. He also suggested corporal punishment could end up being used disproportionately on minority students.

Boynton suggested that the district's in-school suspension program is a better alternative to paddling. The program, called Positive Alternative to School Suspension, gives parents of students recommended for suspension a place to send their children. The PASS program started in 2010, after paddling was banned.

Mark Vianello, the executive director of student services in Marion County, said more behavior specialists were added to schools after paddling was banned

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

Corpun file 24450 at


The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, 30 April 2013

Board of Education v. Seat of Learning

By Joe Rogers


Mississippi men of my generation or so fall into one of two defining categories: those who had their butts paddled at school, and those who didn't. I suspect you can guess which one I'm in.

In my defense, I would argue that I only deserved one of my two walings.

What inspired me to reflect on those times was the recent Clarion-Ledger report by Marquita Brown that physical punishment is apparently on the decline in Mississippi public schools. It was dealt out 39,000 times in the 2011-12 academic year, versus more than 58,000 times in 2007-08.

Perhaps this is an indication that students are growing more compliant, but I doubt it. More likely, it's just that paddling is generally falling out of favor, even in Mississippi, one of only 19 states that still allow it.

Of those 19, Mississippi is of course the per capita leader. Yes, when it comes to beating bottoms, we're still tops!

In my day, the leading practitioner was a hulking sadist who "taught" seventh-grade math and science. Some of my less fortunate male classmates reached triple figures in licks, administered three at a time.

Careful not to provoke, I managed to make it almost through the entire year before the teacher apparently decided that good behavior was no reason to spare the rod.

Or, in this case, board.

I do confess to a casual indifference to authority, an attitude that from time to time got me kicked out of class. And once, after an accumulation of offenses in the eighth grade, got me sent to the assistant principal, who administered my well-earned three licks.

I bear you no grudge, Coach Dale.

I'd assumed that little would have changed in the Moss Point school district, but I was wrong. Turns out, corporal punishment has been banned there for years.

The current high school principal, Jeff Mumford, has been on the giving and the receiving end of corporal punishment. He professes no problem with it.

"During my tenure in school, I had it applied to me a few times and I would rather it be done at school than at home," he said. "I feared my parents more than I feared anyone else. If they found out that I received a paddling at school, that meant two whoopings in one day."

"I was not a big fan of that at that time," he says.

On those later occasions when he was called on to apply it, he said, he used certain guidelines.

"If a student committed a discipline infraction, I made them aware of the options of consequences that they could choose from," he said. "If a student wanted to be paddled, I would call the parent every time to get their permission. Another staff member always had to be present when a student was paddled. The staff member had to be the same gender of the student that was being paddled."

That last part surprised me. I'm not aware of any girl having been paddled when I was in school.

But, truth be told, I can't help thinking that any boy whose conduct didn't prompt some kind of punishment just wasn't having enough fun.

Joe Rogers is a native of Moss Point.

Copyright © 2013 All rights reserved.

About this website

Search this site

Archive 2013: USA

Illustrated article: US school CP

Video clips

Picture index

Previous month

Following month

blob THE ARCHIVE index

blob Video clips

blob Picture index

blob About this website

blob Country files  Main menu page

Copyright © C. Farrell 2013
Page created September 2013