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School CP - February 2019

Corpun file 26771 at www.corpun.com

Fredericksburg Standard, Texas, 27 February 2019

Schools weigh in on whippin's

Corporal punishment sees a return, with some guidelines

Br Erika Vela
Standard-Radio Post reporter

school paddle
Corporal punishment is currently practiced in 18 states including Texas. Though state laws allow it, public school districts decide whether they will allow corporal punishment. Photo by NPR

As discipline issues arise in the country, corporal punishment in public school systems is making a comeback.

Corporal punishment is banned in some states, while in Texas and 18 others, the punishments of spanking, paddling or other forms of physical discipline are allowed.

Though state law allows corporal punishment, it also lets school districts decide whether they will allow its form of discipline. Many metro area school districts stopped physical punishment, but in areas that are more rural, its use is prevalent.

Local public school districts of Fredericksburg and Harper allow the practice of corporal punishment but also give parents and guardians the opportunity to opt out, which the law permits.

"If there was a situation that required its use, the parents would need to be contacted prior to using any form of corporal punishment," FISD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Brasher said. "If corporal punishment was to be administrated [sic], there would be other discipline measures that would have been administrated [sic] by the appropriate person first, and as mentioned, then the parents would need to be contacted prior to the administration of any corporal punishment."

The local FISD policy on corporal punishment guideline states:

-- The student shall be told the reason.

-- Punishment is administered only by the principal or designee and only by an employee who is the same sex as the student.

-- The instrument, or paddle, is approved by the principal.

-- One other district professional employee must be present, and in a designated place out of view of other students.


In other public school districts, teachers and coaches are allowed to administer corporal punishment if designated by an administrator.

Teachers, coaches and other personnel are not allowed to administer corporal punishment at FISD.

"I don't think teachers or coaches should be put in the position to use corporal punishment," he said. "This can potentially create liability issues and potential grievances and lawsuits by parents against these individuals."

"Teachers are equipped to use many strategies to discipline children, from quality instruction, redirection, parent involvement and many classroom management strategies," he added. "The administration's responsibility is to support our teachers when they have run out of tools to maintain the discipline of a student. I don't believe that teachers or coaches should use corporal punishment."

Brasher also said corporal punishment has not been administered on any campus this year.


Harper ISD requires a written statement from parents if they do not wish to have corporal punishment used as a form of discipline on their child or children.

A waiver is provided to the parents and guardians for their review with their children that both parent and child must sign.


Though corporal punishment is traditionally thought to have positive effects in terms of children being more disciplined ("Spare the rod, spoil the child" is a popular Biblical reference), there are studies and other groups that oppose those beliefs.

The American Psychological Association opposes the use of corporal punishment in schools, juvenile facilities, day cares and other institutions where children are educated.

A recent APA paper stated: "Research has shown that the effective use of punishment in eliminating undesirable behavior requires precision in timing, duration, intensity and specificity, as well as considerable sophistication in controlling a variety of relevant environmental and cognitive factors, such that punishment administered in institutional setting, without attention to all these factors, is likely to instill hostility, rage and a sense of powerlessness without reducing the undesirable behavior."

House Resolution 727 by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) would end the use of corporal punishment.

"Every 30 seconds during the school year, a public school student is corporally punished," the bill's findings state.

If passed, the act aims to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools, ensure the safety of students and school personnel to promote a positive school culture, and assist state local educational agencies and schools to identify and implement other forms of punishment that does not include physical contact that could compromise health.

Corpun file 26784 at www.corpun.com


The Washington Post, 28 February 2019

Paddling students is still legal in a third of the country. Kentucky legislators want to ban it.

By Deanna Paul

As a 10th-grader in Jefferson County, Ky., Tina was caught cutting the lunch line. She would be disciplined, a school official told her, but he gave her a choice: detention or two "licks," a sugarcoated term for two strikes with a wooden paddle.

Tina picked the latter.

A male faculty member brought the teen, who was dressed in a cheerleading uniform, into an office and spanked her bottom with a paddle.

Tina Bojanowski's memory was made more than 30 years ago, yet in a handful of states -- including Kentucky -- it seems the times have not changed, as the practice is still legal there. Now a member of the state legislature, Rep. Tina Bojanowski (D) is supporting a bill to prohibit corporal punishment.

State Rep. Steve Riley (R) sponsored H.B. 202, which, if passed, would ban school district officials from using corporal punishment as a form of discipline. The legislation defines corporal punishment as "deliberate infliction of physical pain on a student by any means intended to punish or discipline the student, including but not limited to paddling, shaking, or spanking."

"When someone is doing something wrong, the most important thing is to change their behavior. There are more effective measures to change students' behavior than striking them," Riley, a former high school principal, told The Washington Post.

There's been a national downward trend in corporal punishment in schools, according to research by Kids Count Data Center. In 2016, the Obama administration called for an end to the practice in all states and school districts. Thirty-one states have barred the practice, but 19 still permit it, Riley said.

Joe Bargione, a licensed psychologist, said the research is clear: There are better ways to discipline children. "In order to correct misbehavior, you must teach a replacement behavior. Corporal punishment teaches them to use physical force to resolve an issue or problem solve," said Bargione, who served as the lead psychologist in Kentucky's Jefferson County Public Schools for 25 years. (Jefferson banned corporal punishment in 1990.)

Bargione said that "schools must be sanctuaries." When children who live in homes with domestic violence and uncertainty come to school, Bargione said, they should feel structure and consistency and be loved by the adults in the building. But, he said, "when a teacher hits, it breaks the relationship we want adults to have at school with children."

In Kentucky, 17 school districts permit corporal punishment. According to research done by the Kids Count Data Center, during the 2017-2018 academic year, there were 452 reported instances of such punishment in the state.

Of those 17 districts, five accounted for 85 percent of cases. Bell County reported 129 incidents, the highest in Kentucky for the academic year. Clinton County, the second highest, reported 128 incidents, a figure more than seven times the 17 incidents reported during 2016-17. Neither county schools superintendent responded to The Post for comment.

Pulaski and Harlan counties reported increases in instances of corporal punishment, to 67 and 30 cases, respectively.

Riley presented the legislation to the state House Education Committee earlier in February, but the bill was not voted on. Similar bills were also introduced in 2017 and 2018 but not passed.

The Kentucky school districts that permit paddling are predominantly in rural areas, according to Riley. Their legislators who oppose the bill argue they want to protect against government overreach. "They say that discipline should be left to local school board, not state government," Riley said.

With eight days left in the legislative session, Riley said, H.B. 202 is unlikely to be voted on imminently. But, he added, "I'm going to keep proposing until it gets passed."

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