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School CP - November 2019

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The Oakridger, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 14 November 2019

Corporal punishment removed from disciplinary policy

By Ben Pounds
Staff Reporter


OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- The Oak Ridge Board of Education unanimously approved a policy regarding discipline for students.

The approval came at the school board's October meeting. School Board member Ben Stephens made the motion and Laura McLean seconded.

A document attached to agenda for the meeting lays out the changes from previous policies.

The new policy eliminates a previous policy's three mentions of corporal punishment.

Bruce Lay, executive director of school leadership, explained in an interview that the Oak Ridge school system has never used corporal punishment in the roughly 20 years he has worked there, even though it had been a part of the previous state policy.

The policy the Board of Education approved adds parent conferences as a response to various offenses, including bullying and harassment. It also adds "tiered behavior plans" and referrals to alternate education programs as possible responses for other offenses such as fighting and minor vandalism.

It also adds "referral to outside community agency" as a possible response for offenses such as death threats or bomb threats, drug possession or use, or injuries to teachers, among other offenses.

The policy retains from the previous policy other methods of discipline such as detention, suspension or expulsion of students -- depending on the severity of the offense.

While the superintendent and Oak Ridge Schools' staff come up with each school's specific code of conduct, this broader system-wide policy provides general guidelines regarding a variety of offenses and the appropriate discipline for each of them.

Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers indicated at an earlier meeting that the policy changes stem from a state law requiring the Tennessee Department of Education to develop new disciplinary guidelines.

"And we have aligned this policy to reflect that," the school chief said.

The policy lays out its vision for discipline in its introduction. It states that disciplinary measures should be implemented in a manner that "balances accountability with an understanding of traumatic behavior, teaches school and classroom rules while reinforcing that violent or abusive behavior is not allowed at school, minimizes disruptions to education with an emphasis on positive behavioral supports and behavioral intervention plans, creates consistent rules and consequences (and) models respectful non-violent relationships."

The policy states Oak Ridge Schools will use the following "trauma-informed disciplinary practices," including "restorative practices, multi-tiered systems of supports, behavior intervention plans, grade level lunch bunch meetings and parent/student conferences regarding expectations for positive behavior."


© Gannett Co., Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 26838 at

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KTUL-8 TV, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 21 November 2019

'Get rid of the lawyers and put the paddle back', Inola police chief says in local paper

By Tyler Butler
KTUL staff

INOLA, Okla. (KTUL) -- In a small town like Inola, everyone knows Chief Brad Craig, especially now that he has his own column in the Inola Independent.

"Somebody thought it would be a good idea, and I thought, 'Well, I'll write one or two, and that would be it,'" said Chief Craig.

He's been writing the column for a couple of months now, and today's article touched a bit of a live wire.

"They've taken the paddle out of the school," he said.

Chief Craig says by shelving the paddle, there's no longer any real discipline.

"There's a lot more tolerated now than what used to be tolerated, whether it's in dress or language or rules," said the chief.

Although the chief's column may seem controversial, in Inola it's really not. I talked with a whole lot of people here who say they support bringing paddling back into our schools, including one father who says his son was spanked and turned out just fine.

"He's class president. He's a junior, quarterback on the team, straight-A student. Anyone in Inola will tell you, he's a good kid," said Matthew Prows.

Prows says he still believes it should be a last resort.

"Paddling out of anger is a different story. If you're spanking your kids because they're making you mad, that's the wrong reason. Spanking them because it's in their best interest, that's a whole other story."

Paddling, or corporal punishment, is legal in Oklahoma schools.

"It's discipline; it's punishment. It's this is what's going to happen. You knew what the price of whatever stunt you pulled was going to be. It cut down on a lot of that," said Chief Craig.

But is it effective? Researchers are still looking into today, although many experts say it should be banned nationwide, citing concerns over reinforcing the idea of violence to manage people. Studies have also shown a decrease in academic performance in schools that allow corporal punishment. There are also concerns about how fairly teachers and administrators would enforce the punishment.

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