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School CP - September 2013

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NPR logo (KUOW 94.9), Seattle, Washington State, 13 September 2013

Corporal Punishment

Hanging Up The Paddle

20 Years Since Washington Banned Corporal Punishment In Public Schools

By Sarah Waller

Wood paddle embossed with 'THE EDUCATOR'
Credit Sarah Waller

Did you grow up in a school that allowed paddling? Maybe you knew someone who was hit in school -- or maybe the idea of corporal punishment seems as antiquated as ink wells. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Washington's state-wide ban on corporal punishment in public schools.

Jim Fugate has been on both sides of the wooden paddle. As a student in Bremerton he had a basketball coach who wore a paddle around his belt. And if you weren't fast enough on the court, he'd use it. "It only took one whack on a sweaty rear-end to know there will never be a guy that will beat you to the baseline," Fugate recalls. "That was a motivator, and it worked."

"The Educator"

When Fugate became an elementary school principal in the late 50s, he had a paddle of his own. It hung in his office in Ellensburg. Today, it hangs in his garage. It's surrounded by awards and plaques that commemorate a long career in Washington's public schools. "There's your Educator," Fugate says pointing to the dark wooden paddle. The words "The Educator" are stenciled across it in white paint. "That had a few backsides of a few boys along the way."


Fugate says he only used it as a last resort. "Parents told me at times, 'It should have been the first thing you did, you could have saved us both a lot of trouble.' But of course, who likes to paddle a kid?"

Fugate reserved The Educator for serious misconduct. Like the boy who brought a shotgun to school. Or a sixth grade girl who brought a bottle of gin from home and was caught sharing it with other elementary students on the playground. Fugate called her mom. She said she was at a social function and too busy to come by the school.

So, Fugate told her, "Either you get up here right now, or I'm going to be down there with your daughter in 10 minutes." The mother came quickly. They discussed what should be done to with the daughter, who had been in trouble many times before. "What's it going to take?" Fugate recalls asking. "I'm out of other approaches."

Her mother suggested that Fugate give the girl a "good spanking."

So, Fugate brought out the paddle. He took the girl to the boiler room. "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you," he told her. It was the same phrase he used with most of the kids he paddled. But this was the first time he had ever paddled a girl. She received four whacks. "I never had a boy that didn't cry," Fugate says. "But her? She never shed a tear."

The girl had been hit at home, too. Her mom admitted it wasn't doing any good, which made Fugate wonder whether the paddling at school would make a positive difference in her behavior. But he believes some of the other paddling sessions were effective in correcting discipline problems. "I never did paddle a kid twice," he says.

Fugate hung up his paddle after becoming the superintendent of the Auburn School District. But he says at the time, he was fine with principals in the district paddling students, so long as the families approved. That was the '70s.

Robin Henderson remembers that time. He says corporal punishment was a daily ritual at Lakes Elementary in Thurston County where he went to school.

On The Hacking List

"The school day started with 'the hacking' as we called it," Henderson says. "The swats that they administered really were very loud. The teachers were all instructed to leave their doors open so we would hear. It's a very clear memory of my childhood, that sound. It was like the crack of a bat at a baseball game. And then after the last swat, the teachers would reach and close the door and the school day would begin."

One day, Henderson's name was on the hacking list. He doesn't remember what he did to get in trouble. But he remembers what happened next.

"There were other boys lined up there, and I was the first. And they told me to bend all the way over and touch my toes. The teacher had sort of a little wind up thing he did, and he whacked me. It was amazingly painful. It was one of the most painful things that I had ever felt at that time. In fact, I actually screamed, which was humiliating."

Child psychotherapist Robbyn Peters Bennett says this kind of punishment is not just humiliating, it's completely counter productive. Peters Bennett is the founder of Bellingham-based

Map of USA
Credit Center for Effective Discipline. 31 states (in white) have banned corporal punishment in public schools. 19 states (in red) have laws permitting corporal punishment in public schools.

"When a teacher hits a child in school, several things happen," says Peters Bennett. "That child has a huge neurological stress response in the brain. Their pre-frontal cortex shuts down. They're no longer thinking, problem solving, seeing cause and effect, experiencing empathy. Their lizard brain, or their lower brain, is now activated. The child might get vacant. They might disassociate slightly. So, you have basically made it so the child is less capable of self-regulation, of managing themselves and staying in their seat and following rules."

Henderson agrees that getting hacked had the opposite effect of what was intended. "It certainly didn't make me any better, and I think it probably made me worse," he says. "It's definitely a moment where my respect for authority dropped."

That is just one reason why Henderson never paddled a student when he became a teacher in the '80s. It was a time when many schools in Washington were in the process of doing away with corporal punishment, but certainly not all of them. Not only was paddling still legal -- it was still happening in the early '80s.

A Difficult Fight: State Ban On Corporal Punishment

That's when a state legislator from Shoreline named Grace Cole took up the cause. She started pushing for a bill that would outlaw corporal punishment in public schools in Washington. But year after year, the bill got killed in the Senate.

"The Senate on the whole at that time is an older generation, so they had been spanked. So they didn't see anything wrong with it," says former legislator Ken Jacobsen. He represented North Seattle in the House and spent nearly a decade carpooling with Cole to Olympia. They talked about everything, including her corporal punishment ban that kept failing.

"It always amazed me," Jacobsen says. "She was never in despair about it. She'd just come back the next year, start over again, climb the mountain again." He says Cole was persistent. She said she knew that corporal punishment was wrong, even if Olympia didn't agree with her yet. "As far as she's concerned, all of us were a bunch of boys," says Jacobsen. "Like a lot of moms, she had learned how to handle boys, and she was eventually going to get them all straightened out."

For nearly a decade, Cole re-introduced the bill. And in 1993, she finally got the votes she needed. "That was the day everybody came over and shook her hand," Jacobsen remembers. "I would think that's the one thing she was proudest of. She had worked so hard for that bill. It was a combination of what she stood for and her persistence. Utter persistence."

Grace Cole died in 2001. Her bill made Washington the 23rd state to ban corporal punishment in public schools. Today, 19 states still allow it.

In Washington, corporal punishment is still unregulated in private schools. Fugate says corporal punishment had its time and place, but he doesn't want to see it brought back. He says it's not needed.

And The Educator paddle he once used? It's now just an artifact hanging next to all those other mementos representing nearly 40 years of school history in what he calls his garage museum.

Inside Fugate's garage
Credit Sarah Waller
Jim Fugate used The Educator to discipline students when he was a principal in Ellensburg in the '50s and '60s. Now, it hangs in his garage.

©2013 KUOW News and Information

Corpun file 24750 at

The Athens Daily Review, Texas, 20 September 2013

School news good

AISD head tells of year's start

By Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review



Athens -- The entire Athens Independent School Board meeting appeared positive Thursday. The beginning appeared to set the tone as Trustees found out how things went early in the school year.

"It was a smooth start," AISD Superintendent Blake Stiles said of the beginning of the school year. "For example, the bus routes got kids home sooner than last year. We changed the start times at a couple of campuses.


The Board voted to change policy concerning corporal punishment. Now, with the child receiving the punishment, there must be at least one present who is of the same gender as the student. That can be either the administrator delivering the punishment, or the witness to the punishment, who can be any AISD employee.

Stiles said teachers do not deliver punishment. It must be administrators.

"I don't want to put teachers in that situation," he said.

He added that a paddle is the only tool for corporal punishment.

One action item considered by trustees was training for seven district administrators. [...]


Copyright 2013 Athens Review

Corpun file 24759 at


The Birmingham News, Alabama, 24 September 2013

To paddle or not to paddle?

Birmingham area school systems have different takes on corporal punishment

By Jeremy Gray
The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- It's a rarely used last resort, school system officials in the Birmingham area said, but corporal punishment is still the policy in many systems.

The practice received national attention after a Leeds mother started a petition to support legislation banning the practice nationwide when she received a form asking whether she would grant permission to allow Leeds Elementary officials paddle her child.

A spokeswoman for the Alabama State Department of education said that agency does not collect data on which schools or school systems use corporal punishment. Because each system differs in the amount of information they post on their sites, it is difficult to paint a complete picture of which schools paddle how often and for what reasons.

A sampling of school incident reports from June 2011 to June 2012 obtained by show just how widely the approach varies.

In Trussville schools, for example, it was used one time in that period in response to "defiance." It was not used at all in a great many systems. Hoover and Birmingham schools explicitly prohibit the practice. In Leeds, where the practice has been the focus of reports on Fox News and a New York Times parenting blog, it was used twice.


However, during that 2011-2012 time period, the punishment was used 374 times in Chilton County schools. Between 2010-2011, the most recent report immediately available, it was used 420 times in Bibb County schools.

In Chilton County, the school with the most reports of paddlings, with 145 incidents, was Thorsby High School. Of those 145 paddlings, 31 were for disorderly conduct, 11 for use of profanity and 91 for "other incident."

In Bibb County, Centreville Middle School led the county with 179 uses between 2010-2011, the vast majority of which were for defiance, disobedience and disorderly conduct.

In Shelby County, there were 70 reported paddlings that year with Wilsonville Elementary leading the paddling pack with eight uses for defiance, seven for profanity, three for "other incident," two for fighting and one for a student who made a threat.

Jefferson County schools, which used corporal punishment 78 times in grades K-6 and 16 times in grades seven through 12 between 2011-12, allow corporal punishment "with due regard for the age and physical condition of the student, and without excessive force."

The punishment is administered by the principal or a representative in the presence of another school system employee. Parents do not have to give permission but may state in writing that it is not to be used on their child.

The system's Code of Student Conduct defines corporal punishment "as bodily punishment by use of a paddle on the buttocks ... It shall not be administered as punishment for failing grades, nor in the presence or sight of students."

In Shelby County schools, the policy is much the same, expect it states "school administrators shall obtain written consent of the parent, guardian, or other parental representative" prior to its use.

The St. Clair County school system policy states a teacher may paddle a student -- "no more than three licks administered to the buttocks with a smooth surface paddle free of holes and/or cracks -- if the student is told why they are being punished and given an opportunity to explain their actions." Parents must be notified after the punishment is rendered.

The three 'licks' or 'taps' guideline is the general rule in most of the policies.

In Walker County, the punishment is to be performed by a principal or assistant principal.

"In the case of an all male administrative staff, a female teacher may be designated to administer corporal punishment to the female student, likewise in the case of an all female administrative staff," the policy stated.

© 2013 Alabama Media Group All rights reserved


Four-minute debate segment from Fox TV news (22 September 2013) triggered by the Alabama case mentioned in the above report, in which a mother purported to be "outraged" at being asked whether she wished her elementary student to be subject to paddling, as if this were not a perfectly normal practice in places such as Alabama. The discussion is between a representative of the pro-CP Family Research Council and a "Mom blogger" who opposes all CP both at school and at home. Amidst all the usual arguments, the "Mom blogger" claims that kids bring a lot of papers home from school, so it is easy to miss the CP opt-out form. (Of course this is not a point against CP as such, though it might be an argument for an "opting in" rather than "opting out" system.) The Family Research man notes that the "research" that supposedly shows negative effects from CP does not apply to "ordinary disciplinary spanking".


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: 11 October 2013 - Leeds Schools In Alabama Not Budging On Corporal Punishment Policy

Corpun file 24785 at

Dearborn County Register, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, 25 September 2013

Spanking gets time out at SD schools

By Denise Freitag Burdette



Corporal punishment -- you are in a time out. At least it is at South Dearborn Community School Corporation.

School board members voted five to one during their Monday, Sept. 16, monthly meeting to eliminate a policy permitting corporal punishment.

Good people can disagree or agree with the policy. But it could result in potential liability issues for the corporation, said Superintendent Dr. John Mehrle.

There is the potential that different views could result about what takes place, said board attorney Larry Eaton.


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